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Newsmakers 2017: People

A compilation of media coverage profiling just a few of the many people of UNLV who made news in 2017.

Campus News  |  Jan 5, 2018  |  By Francis McCabe
Ross Bryant

Ross Bryant, director of UNLV Military & Veteran Services Center, was named the Student Veterans of America's national chapter advisor of the year. (UNLV Creative Services)

Great universities are made because of great people. UNLV's achievements are made possible by the dedication of those people who want to make our university and community better.

Below are news stories that profile a few of the many people at UNLV who impacted the university and Las Vegas in 2017.

This year we welcomed new leaders in research and athletics, celebrated successes in the classroom and in the lab, recognized excellence in the arts and in military and veteran affairs, and much more.

Redefining the Barrick

Over the past year, exhibits, performances, and immersive events at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art have been engaging visitors and inspiring collaborations across campus and throughout the community. Alisha Kerlin, who took over as interim director just over a year ago, was recently awarded one of three UNLV inaugural Top Tier Awards for work that meets the university’s gold standard for research, education, and community impact.

Video Games and the Law

Brett Abarbanel, director of research for UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, is busy digging into the nuts and bolts of competitive video gaming and sports betting.

Big Policy, Local Government

Benoy Jacob, head of UNLV’s Urban Leadership Program, was featured because of his work surrounding how local governments are being forced to deal with challenging societal policy issues such as immigration and school curriculum.

Steering Economic Development and Research

UNLV selected Mary S. Croughan as the new Vice President for Research and Economic Development where she leads the university’s overall research and economic development effort, which includes oversight of research infrastructure, compliance, and initiatives, as well as patent and licensing activities. She will also be responsible for driving economic development through industry and state/federal agency partnerships, working closely with campus leadership to create and strengthen collaborative research programs, and partnering on the continued development of the university’s research park.

Building a Championship Culture

Engaging students is part of UNLV athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois' plan to bring a 'championship culture' to UNLV. Championship culture is Reed-Francois’ guiding light, her ultimate vision for how to position the university for success now and into the future. 

Brains and the Beast Mode

Is Michael Pravica the new Science Guy? He might be to fans of NFLer Marshawn Lynch’s web-based show No Script via Bleacher Report. Pravica’s role was to explain the physics of car racing to the man they call Beast Mode. Their exchange led to two more surprise reunion appearances and landed the professor a nickname he’ll be hearing in class for the near future — Lynch kept calling Pravica “Scientist” like it was his first name.

Veteran Leadership

Retired U.S. Army veteran and longtime director of UNLV’s Military & Veteran Services Center Ross Bryant was named the Student Veterans of America (SVA) national “Chapter Advisor of the Year.” Bryant accepted the honor on Jan. 6 at the 2017 SVA National Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

In Memoriam

UNLV politics professor Ted Jelen passed away in November after a lengthy illness. Jelen joined UNLV as chair of the politics department and full professor in 1997 and remained an important scholar and a central figure in the department until his death. The professor was widely regarded as one of the leading international scholars of religion and politics. Over the course of his career, he authored, co-authored or edited sixteen books and published over 150 journal articles and book chapters.

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