UNL in the national news: August 2014

· 7 min read

UNL in the national news: August 2014

Media outlets across the nation featured and cited UNL sources on a number of occasions in August.

Philip Schwadel, sociology, made headlines throughout August with his new study challenging the conventional wisdom that college turns students away from religion. It was covered by Religion News Service, Aug. 7; Inside Higher Education, Aug. 11; The Atlantic.com, Aug. 14; the Dish, Aug. 17; and Deseret News, Aug. 26.






BTN’s LiveBIG program highlighted Nebraska Mosaic, a journalism project that focuses on Lincoln’s immigrant and refugee communities. “You can be a foreign correspondent without leaving Lincoln,” said Tim Anderson, journalism, in the Aug. 18 article.


TMCnet.com reported Aug. 20 on a Nebraska-Kansas consortium of physicists, computer scientists and engineers who are working on a multimillion-dollar project to understand how light interacts with matter. Fred Choobineh, industrial and management systems engineering, is a lead investigator and Anthony Starace, physics, is a project leader.


Yahoo Finance posted an Aug. 18 article about a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to encourage more Native students to pursue academic careers in science- and technology- related fields. Chris Cornelius, engineering, is one of the co-principal investigators for the project.


Wheeler Winston Dixon, film studies, commented upon the career of Robin Williams in a Aug. 13 article in The Christian Science Monitor, about the comedian’s suicide. The Monitor turned to him again on Aug. 19, when he offered his thoughts about attending performances at the Metropolitan Opera as a boy for a story about the Met’s financial difficulties.



University of Nebraska law student Alissa Doerr was featured in an Aug. 25 Washington Post story about the shortage of lawyers in rural communities. The story mentioned efforts in Nebraska to provide student loan assistance to new lawyers who decide to practice in rural areas. Several other outlets picked up the story, including the ABA Journal, which ran it Aug. 26.


Medical Xpress reported Aug. 14 on research by Kirk Dombrowski, sociology, into the spread of HIV in Puerto Rico. Head of UNL’s Minority Health Disparities Initiative, Dombrowski recently received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute’s of Health for a five-year study of how HIV spreads among Puerto Rican drug users.


The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Aug. 11 People column featured the first-person reflections of Jack Dunn upon his retirement as Mueller Planetarium director.


Research into the biology of politics by John Hibbing and Kevin Smith, political science, continued to gain media attention in early August. Their latest article, written with Rice University colleague John Alford, was featured in Aug. 1 reports by Yahoo News, and KMGH-TV (ABC) in Denver, among others.



The summer 2012 Exploring History special issue of National Geographic mentioned the discovery of a marble head of Venus at Antiocha Ad Cragnum in Turkey. Michael Hoff, art history, led the 2013 excavation that found the statue fragment. Hoff has spent much of the past decade excavating the ancient Roman-era town along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. The statue is believed to date back to the second or third century.


The Daily Beast interviewed Ari Kohen, political science, for an Aug. 28 piece after biologist and writer Richard Dawkins apologized for his comments that it would be immoral to bring a baby into the world with Down syndrome. Kohen maintains a blog devoted, in part, to terrible public apologies.


Research into antibiotic-resistant bacteria by Xu Li, civil engineering, was featured in a video posted Aug. 15 on Science 360, the National Science Foundation’s news service.


The Lied Center for the Performing Arts was touted by Yahoo Finance Aug. 5 for its ranking as one of the best university performing arts centers in the country. Its 25th anniversary season was highlighted by Broadway World.com Aug. 19.



The selection of Wally Mason to be the new director of Sheldon Museum of Art was reported Aug. 14 by Artdaily.com, and Aug. 15 by the Associated Press and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Mason, director and chief curator of the Haggerty Museum at Marquette University, starts at the Sheldon Oct. 15.




The Sheldon also was mentioned by the Times News of Pennsylvania about an Aug. 20 story about a deteriorating Franz Kline mural displayed in a American Legion Hall in Lehighton, Pa. Kline is one of the most famous artists to emerge from Carbon County, Pa., and his works have sold for millions in recent years. His 1960 work, “Study for Shenandoah Wall,” is held by the Sheldon.


Science Magazine highlighted research led by Marilyne Stains, chemistry, about why science educators fail to adopt evidence-based teaching methods in college classrooms. She and fellow colleagues concluded that science educators get limited information from academic journals about the techniques.


Experts at the National Drought Mitigation Center, based at UNL, remain a leading authority for stories about U.S. climate. Climatologist Mark Svoboda was cited in an Aug. 4 USA Today report identifying the 10 U.S. cities hardest hit by drought in 2014. The Lufkin (Texas) Daily News cited the center in an Aug. 3 story about drought beginning to ease in east Texas.



The Huffington Post ran a Aug. 14 piece co-authored by Susan Swearer, educational psychology, and Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s mother, about new UNL research identifying barriers that keep youth from seeking mental health assistance.


The State Entrepreneurship Index — a ranking of states’ ability to foster new businesses, produced by Eric Thompson and William Walstad, economics — was covered in Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear highlighted the index in a news conference because his state jumped 45 places in the rankings — from 49th to fourth — in one year.





Thompson also was quoted in an Aug. 28 article in the Wall Street Journal on whether living near a place of worship improves home values. Thompson conducted a study in 2012 that found a newly built Mormon temple in Omaha did not affect nearby property values.


UNL’s drone journalism laboratory and its founder, Matthew Waite, were frequently cited in stories about how technology is changing news reporting and the uncertain regulatory status for commercial drones. The lab was touted as an example of high-tech journalism in an Aug. 4 story in the Huffington Post. Doug Stohlberg, editor of the Hudson Star-Observer, mentioned the lab in an Aug. 21 article about whether his paper will start using drones to get photos.


Allan Vyhnalek, UNL Extension educator, was cited in an Aug. 6 Agri-View story out of Wisconsin about the impact of $3-per-bushel corn on land prices and cash rents.


Judy Walker, mathematics, was among those quoted in an Aug. 13 National Public Radio report after the International Mathematical Union for the first time awarded its prestigious Fields Medal to a female, Maryam Mirzakhani.


In a story carried by several news outlets, the Associated Press reported Aug. 26 on an $11.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a UNL research center focused on understanding nutrition and obesity at the molecular level. Janos Zempleni, nutrition and health sciences, will serve as director.


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