January marks the start of a new year, as well as a new semester. And at UNLV, the spring semester ushered in new beginnings for students, faculty, and staff. From the introduction of UNLV’s new athletic director to nursing students jumping into the health care trenches to university experts weighing in on the future of the pandemic, UNLV consistently made news headlines. Read on for just a few examples.
Rah Rah, Rebels!
UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield selected Erick Harper as the university’s newest athletics director, effective Jan. 1. A longtime university athletics administrator who had served as interim UNLV athletics director since August, Harper was selected to continue in the position permanently after a national search.
Lowering Textbook Price Tags
UNLV’s Open Educational Resources (OER) Task Force tackled affordability of course materials in first-year seminars by incorporating more open access resources. The partnership among the College of Liberal Arts, Office of Information Technology, Office of Online Education, Faculty Center, University Libraries, and the UNLV Bookstore collectively saved hundreds of students about $36,000 in fees last fall. OER faculty spoke to media about the project’s success and plans to expand the program this spring.
Somewhere Out There
While the COVID-19 pandemic and related mitigation measures have placed much of Americans’ focus on happenings inside the home, UNLV experts were hard at work offering insight into the environment around us.
- Research professor Kristen Averyt spoke to the Nevada Independent about the impact of heat mitigation policies on Nevadans at home and work.
- Antony Chen, director of the School of Public Health’s Urban Air Quality Laboratory, weighed in on Las Vegas’s poor air quality ranking during a Fox 5 Vegas interview.
- The Associated Press detailed Life Sciences professor Daniel Thompson’s design plans to prevent harm to current and future populations of the endangered Mount Charleston blue butterfly.
The Las Vegas Valley has suffered hospital staffing shortages as local nurses grappling with the onslaught of COVID-19 cases leave the profession facing burnout. UNLV’s School of Nursing has been there to lend a helping hand. Dean Angela F. Amar spoke to outlets about the surge of interest from new students who aspire to fill the vacant positions, and students highlighted the ways they are answering the call by Gov. Steve Sisolak and health industry insiders to alleviate the overtaxed health care system. The school also partnered with a local nonprofit, Adam’s Place, to offer virtual grief support group sessions.
Detecting COVID-19 Via Wastewater
Experts are now capable of detecting COVID-19 through wastewater up to a month before the first case is reported. Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine professor Edwin Oh explained to media outlets how his lab’s wastewater surveillance program used sewage samples to detect the omicron variant about a week before case numbers surged across the Las Vegas Valley.
Great people are the cornerstone of great universities, and UNLV is in large supply. The media highlighted multiple student-focused stories during the first month of the year – showcasing their talents both inside and outside the classroom. UNLV also debuted several new programs and scholarships to help financially support students.
- Mechanical engineering graduate student Kristen Tagaytayan’s solar research could help NASA land a space probe on Venus: AZoM
- Former UNLV sprinter Kaysha Love is named to the U.S. Olympic bobsled team: NBC News, Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), KSNV-TV: News 3, World Athletics, Mountain West, Reno Gazette-Journal, Deseret News, ABC4 Utah
- Former UNLV running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence makes the Canadian Olympic bobsled team: Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice)
- Journalism program highlights news literacy: KTNV-TV: ABC 13
- UNLV’s first graduate sponsors Lee Business School scholarship: Fox 5 Vegas
- UNLV launches sport management master’s program: Las Vegas Sun
As the holiday season wrapped up, it made way for a new COVID-19 variant to take hold. Local and national media outlets continued to call upon UNLV experts to make sense of the latest variant almost two years into the pandemic.
- UNLV epidemiologist Brian Labus talked about the rise of the Omicron variant, boosters, the updated CDC guidance, the possibility of the pandemic becoming endemic, and other pandemic-related issues: Associated Press, KNX News Radio, CNET, The Nevada Independent, KSNV-TV: News 3, Las Vegas Sun.
- Evelyn Montalvo Stanton, chair of pediatrics at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine, discussed the free government COVID-19 tests with KLAS-TV: 8 News Now.
- Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine dean Marc J. Kahn shared that there are positive signs of the pandemic coming to an end: KLAS-TV: 8 News Now (twice)
General Expert Roundup
- Black Mountain Institute names new director: LA Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Sports psychologist Brad Donohue spoke to Inverse about psychology-backed strategies to hit fitness goals.
- College of Education professor Brad Marianno’s comments on teacher unions were featured in The 74 and Yahoo.
- The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Travel Weekly, KTNV-TV: ABC 13, and Vegas PBS highlighted the late Sen. Harry Reid’s legacy in an interview with political scientist David Damore and history professor Michael Green. Time Magazine and Yahoo also outlined Reid’s contributions to UNLV.
- A GOBankingRates story featuring Lied Center for Real Estate director Vivek Sah’s insights on the relationship between federal interest rate hikes and mortgages was picked up by Yahoo and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Astrophysicist Jason Steffen spoke to Mashable about NASA’s Webb telescope
- Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine professor Ann Childress commented on ADHD in young children in Psychiatric Times.