From aliens (in concert) at Area 51 to the real-life search for life on Mars, and what music can teach us about distant planets, UNLV's experts have been called on by media to provide context to issues affecting life at home and throughout the galaxy this fall.
Closer to home, the impact of climate change in Las Vegas and throughout the Southwest continues to make headlines; the University Libraries opened a new makerspace and announced a major gift to bolster a growing rare books collection; and near-constant construction activity in and around UNLV led to the fall openings of the new Fertitta Football Complex, on-campus residence halls, and a University Gateway Building that's the new home of UNLV's Graduate College.
These stories and more make up the latest edition of UNLV Newsmakers.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!
As paranormal enthusiasts descended on Nevada’s Area 51 military base in search of aliens and an out-of-this-world music festival, more than 1,000 media outlets from around the globe quoted UNLV sociologist and pop culture expert Michael Ian Borer about the trends that fueled revelers’ interest in this social media phenomenon.
- Associated Press
- Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Psychology Today
- O. Estadao de S. Paulo
- Daily Mail
- KTNV TV-13
With global warming already harming the earth, scientists are searching for ways to curb the threat to humankind. Researcher Kristen Averyt discussed UNLV’s new Climate Resiliency and Urban Sustainability initiative. School of Architecture director Steffen Lehmann talked about the urban heat island effect. And communication studies professor Emma Frances Bloomfield shared conversational tactics to gain buy-in from climate change skeptics.
- KNPR: Kristen Averyt on climate change in Nevada
- Variety: Emma Frances Bloomfield on engaging with skeptics
- Nevada Current, Las Vegas Sun, KNPR, and KDWN: Steffen Lehmann on the urban heat island effect
To Infinity and Beyond
UNLV faculty and students were recognized for their otherworldly research and accomplishments. Geoscience professor Libby Hausrath is among 10 scientists who will help NASA choose which rock and soil samples the historic Mars 2020 rover mission will bring back to Earth. Astrophysicist Jason Steffen is exploring the music of the exoplanets, while professors Bing Zhang and Francis Cucinotta are examining radiation in space. Engineering students are helping to prepare the Orion capsule for trips to the moon and Mars. And UNLV announced a nearly $700,000 National Science Foundation grant for a new tool — the first of its kind for the state — to help researchers gain more precise information about the concentration of isotopes in geologic samples, leading to a better understanding of Mars and other aspects of outer space.
- Fox 5 Vegas, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Reno Gazette-Journal: Libby Hausrath and the Mars rover mission
- KSNV TV-3: UNLV College of Engineering students and the Orion capsule
- New Scientist: College of Sciences professor Bing Zhang on fast radio bursts
- Nevada Independent and Las Vegas Review-Journal: New UNLV multicollector tool
- EOS, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Fox 5 Vegas: Jason Steffen on musical exoplanets
- Safety + Health Magazine: Health physics professor Francis Cucinotta on astronauts and deep space radiation
Taking a Gamble
Scholars from UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, Harrah College of Hospitality, and International Center for Gaming Regulation regularly made headlines this fall with their research discoveries and community outreach.
- A responsible gaming roundtable featuring IGI’s Alan Feldman as a panelist was covered by KSNV TV-3, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the Nevada Independent
- Ars Technica covered research by hospitality professor Tony Lucas into gamblers’ ability to detect subtle differences in the house edge between slot machines
- ICGR associate director Jennifer Roberts was quoted by KNPR about sports betting changes to various states ahead of football season, the Associated Press on Georgia’s potential use of gaming revenue for scholarships, Games Magazine for her work consulting Brazil tourism officials, and PlayUSA about Illinois embracing gambling
From Hate Speech to Hate Crimes
A study by UNLV sociology professor Simon Gottschalk and a team of graduate students analyzed more than 4,400 discussion threads from three prominent white supremacist websites to help better understand what moves users from expressing their private thoughts to like-minded individuals online to committing violent actions offline.
This year's historic U.S. Women's National Soccer Team win gaslit a national debate on gender equality in workplaces across the spectrum. UNLV professors who weighed in include College of Education Title IX researcher Nancy Lough and Rachael Robnett, a developmental psychologist whose research examines gender bias and gender-role adherence.
- Vegas PBS: Nancy Lough on gender equity in the workforce
- Fast Company: Rachael Robnett on ways male allies can support female colleagues
UNLV opened the Fertitta Football Complex, a new state-of-the-art football training facility. And UNLV received a facelift as part of an ongoing Maryland Parkway corridor revitalization that added campus housing and new space for university offices.
- Las Vegas Sun, Fox 5 Vegas, and Las Vegas Review-Journal: Fertitta Football Complex
- KNPR and Las Vegas Review-Journal: Apartments
- Vegas Inc.: University Gateway
Innovation in both community research and outreach were high this fall at University Libraries. This semester marked the grand opening of Lied Library’s new Makerspace and Multimedia Production Studios, providing UNLV students and faculty in any discipline unprecedented access to 3D-printers, laser cutters, and podcasting and video recording studios. Those learning opportunities were supplemented weeks later when UNLV alumna Beverly Rogers announced that she would establish a $5 million endowment to support a rare books curator and bolster the rare books collection. Meanwhile, Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center, is leading a project to document the stories of Southern Nevada's Latino and Hispanic population — the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, but whose stories are often left out of the historical record.
- Associated Press, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Las Vegas Sun: Beverly Rogers donation
- Las Vegas Review-Journal: Makerspace
- Mountain West News Bureau: Latinx Voices project
Psychology professor and The Optimum Performance Program in Sports (TOPPS) founder Brad Donohue continued to spread his message about the importance of encouraging mental wellness in athletes. And Michelle Paul, director of The PRACTICE mental health clinic, offered insight into the psychological effects of mass shootings.
- Brad Donohue talked to the Las Vegas Review-Journal about TOPPS, and The Ultimate Sports Parent Podcast about incorporating mental wellness into youth sports
- Michelle Paul spoke to PopSugar about victims of gun violence
Islam in America
Former U.S. Senator and UNLV Distinguished Fellow in Law and Policy Harry Reid, in partnership with the Boyd School of Law, hosted a panel of nationwide scholars for a conversation about Islam in America. The panelists — whose fields of expertise included civil rights, political science, and social justice — examined the historical and modern-day experiences of Muslims in the United States, as well as rising anti-Muslim bigotry.
- History professor and culture/fashion expert Deirdre Clemente spoke to Vox and The Loop about the diminished power of the power suit, Time Magazine about the evolution of tights, The Hollywood Reporter about male Hollywood executives' embrace of athleisure as workwear, and Fashionista about performance fabrics
- Yahoo: Couple and Family Therapy professor Kat Hertlein shared dating do’s and don’ts
- Nutritionist Samantha Coogan spoke to Openfit about weight loss diets and veganism, and to Prevention Magazine about cutting out dairy
- Romper: Baby and Child Rebel Lab director Jennifer Rennels on babies’ ability to bond with their dads
- Healthline: Nevada Institute for Children's Research and Policy director Tara Phebus on the benefits of preschool
- Fox News: Social work professor Nicholas Barr on new homelessness legislation
- Marya Shegog, director of health programs at The Lincy Institute, spoke to KSNV TV-3 and Rolling Out about male breast cancer during awareness month, and with The Body about ways to conquer one's fear of talking about safe sex
- Fox 5 Vegas: Founding chair Jefferson Kinney on UNLV’s new brain health department
- Los Angeles Magazine: Asian and Asian American Studies director Mark Padoongpatt on L.A.’s Thai Town
- Practical Pain Management: Nursing professor and chronic pain expert Jennifer Kawi on hiking with arthritis
- Inside Higher Ed: College of Education professor Federick Ngo on redundant math
- BBC: Sociology professor Barb Brents on Las Vegas peep shows
- Architecture professor Dak Kopec spoke to Thrive Global about the benefits of plants at work, Boston Magazine about living in microunits, and Realtor Magazine about senior citizens and aging in place
- College of Education professor Brad Marianno spoke to Time Magazine, Education Dive, The Chicago Defender, and The Conversation about the Chicago teacher's strike
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