While the summer months are a time for many to slow down, the opposite was true for UNLV’s media experts in June.
From a state midterm primary which drew national attention to new developments in the pandemic, the ongoing climate crisis, and a Supreme Court decision that reverberated from coast to coast, UNLV’s faculty were in high-demand to help members of the media provide context to issues affecting our community and beyond.
These items and more are included below in the June 2022 edition of UNLV Newsmakers.
Nevada’s midterm election season kicked off in June, and media outlets around the globe called on UNLV experts for perspective on the primaries.
- It was a busy month for political science professor Dan Lee. He explained to The Nevada Independent that the midterm election year is generally when the current president’s party loses favor, weighed in on the Nevada race for governor as part of a Vegas PBS panel alongside colleague David Damore, and was featured in a popular Associated Press piece about candidates’ fight to sway nonpartisan voters. He also chatted with KNPR about Republican gubernatorial candidates, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now about the impact of Trump endorsements for candidates, and Courthouse News about election integrity.
- Stephen M. Miller, the director of research for the Center for Business and Economic Research, spoke to The New York Times about the ways inflation may impact Nevada’s political standing.
- History professor Michael Green spoke to KSNV-TV: News 3 about locals’ reactions to the U.S. Capitol insurrection hearing, and to KTNV-TV: ABC 13 about the impact of President Joe Biden’s low approval rating on local politics. Additionally, dozens of media outlets around the world picked up an AFP story featuring his comments about the 50-year anniversary of Watergate and its place in history in comparison to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol incident: Channel News Asia, France 24, Daily Mail, Raw Story, Al Jazeera
- Rebecca Gill, professor of political science, talked to KLAS-TV: 8 News Now about how claims of fraud will affect the November general election.
- The Las Vegas Sun interviewed political scientist Kenneth Miller about the impact of the Jan. 6 hearings on various Nevada GOP races. He also spoke to Public News Service and the Las Vegas Sun about campaign finance, Deseret News about the Silver State’s role in the future of the Senate, and the Pahrump Valley Times regarding political mudslinging in rural Nevada. An Associated Press piece about candidate Adam Laxalt winning the Republican nomination for Nevada Senate appeared in dozens of outlets across the nation.
- David Damore, chair and professor of political science, also gave his input on Laxalt’s Republican Senate nomination win via PolitiFact and Las Vegas Sun (twice).
Title IX Turns 50
Title IX, a federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in education and sports, turned 50 in June.
- Nancy Lough, a UNLV College of Education professor and co-director of the Sports Research and Innovation Initiative, discussed ways Title IX has contributed to progress for women in sports and in college, as well as the barriers they still face with Healthline and KNX Radio.
- In her second year as UNLV women’s basketball coach, Lindy LaRocque was highlighted by Las Vegas Weekly for her outstanding work, which includes leading the team to victory in the Mountain West Conference and to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years. The Las Vegas Sun also shared Coach LaRocque’s views on the significance of Title IX for generations of women.
From Italy to China to France, dozens of outlets around the globe picked up news of a UNLV study which revealed that male smokers — who, demographically, are more likely than women to light up — are also placing themselves at a significantly increased risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, and early death. The research team — led by Qing Wu, a researcher with UNLV’s School of Public Health and the university’s Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine — analyzed nearly 30,000 broken bone cases reported over the past three decades and found that smoking increases the risk of breaking a bone by as much as 37%.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion across the nation — sparking protests, concerns about privacy and prosecution in pro-life states, and fears from pro-choice proponents about the court’s potential for next targeting laws protecting other populations, such as the LGBTQ community. Health law program director David Orentlicher and political scientist Rebecca Gill were called on by media outlets to offer context.
- David Orentlicher: MSN, KNPR, Casino.org, Las Vegas Review-Journal, KSNV-TV: News 3
- Rebecca Gill: Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), Yahoo!, KTNV-TV: ABC 13, Pahrump Valley Times
COVID wasn't the only malady in the media: Flu, monkeypox, and mental health were also headline stories this June — and several UNLV experts weighed in.
- School of Public Health epidemiologist Brian Labus talked about the rise in monkeypox cases to The Guardian and Newsweek. Vox also quoted him regarding the role of Verizon cooling towers in spreading Legionnaires’ disease.
- There has been a rise in influenza cases, and experts are blaming it on COVID-19. Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine professor David Di John shared insight with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal Español .
- William S. Boyd School of Law professor Jeffrey Stempel spoke to Bloomberg about court cases surrounding COVID-19 insurance.
- A report from UNLV about Nevada’s low mental health ranking was mentioned in a Nevada Independent article.
Climate change has affected the Western U.S. and the field of forensic anthropology: As water levels at Lake Mead recede and cause record-breaking drought, evidence of mob-related deaths are being revealed.
- Kristen Averyt, a climate scientist and UNLV research professor, spoke with The Telegraph about Nevada conservation efforts, and MSN and Yahoo! picked up the story.
- Forensic anthropology professor Jennifer Byrnes’ comments about the ways extreme drought is changing the field of forensic science were featured in dozens of outlets across the nation. She spoke to CBS News about the Lake Mead situation. She also offered insight to Insider for a story about drought revealing an old city in Iraq, and the article was picked up by Yahoo!.
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen, more and more tourists and locals are filling the streets of Las Vegas and the Strip.
- Andrew Woods, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, explained to Vegas PBS why Nevada’s gas prices are so high.
- Amanda Belarmino, professor of hospitality, offered KVVU-TV: Fox 5 insight that international travel investment is a means of boosting the local economy. She also spoke to KSNV-TV: News 3 about the impact of high gas prices on summer travel and tourism.
- History professor Michael Green and gaming historian David G. Schwartz, both spoke to media about plans to remove the Mirage volcano: Poker News Daily, Las Vegas Review-Journal
- UNLV has been awarded a $3 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to evaluate gaps in the nuclear energy industry and create educational programming to diversify the workforce. Radiochemistry professor Kenneth Czerwinski is leading the project, in collaboration with mechanical engineering professor Alexander Barzilov, public policy professor Jaewon Lim, and partners from other universities and private industries:Las Vegas Review-Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal En Español.
- UNLV joined the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, a group of 20 institutions seeking to double the number of Hispanic students enrolled in doctoral programs and increase the number of Hispanic faculty by 20% — all by 2030: KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, Las Vegas Sun, Higher Ed Dive, University Business.
- UNLV Athletics launched a new scholarship named in honor of Hall of Fame coach and longtime men’s golf program leader Dwaine Knight. The scholarship will be awarded to one men’s golfer every year: KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, KTNV-TV: ABC 13, Yahoo!
- KNPR reported on the Native American Youth Camp, which brought Indigenous students to campus to learn about higher education offerings.
- Can humans think without using language? Insights from psychology professor Russell T. Hurlburt were featured in Live Science, CNN, Mega Curioso, and New Scientist.
- Architecture professor Steffen Lehmann reviewed a study on the power of greenery and bright colors to boost morale among city dwellers for The Guardian. The story was picked up by Yahoo!.
- Giddy and City Cast Las Vegas spoke to Gabriela Buccini, School of Public Health professor, about the baby formula shortage.
- Daniel Benyshek, professor and chair of anthropology, spoke to KCRW about a new trend of mothers eating their own placentas to prevent mood swings and depression.
- Kinesiology professor and acting department chair John Mercer believes that underwater running could be key in healing injuries. He spoke to KNPR about his research.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer talked to criminal justice professor and crowd management expert Tamara Herold about a recent city shooting and what can be done to prevent future incidents.
- Law professor and trademark expert Mary LaFrance spoke to the Washington Post about intellectual property laws in light of recent controversy surrounding Elvis-themed wedding chapels.
- Newsy interviewed sports marketing expert Nancy Lough about the ways a new NCAA rule allowing college athletes to earn money off of their names, images and likenesses has reshaped the game landscape, especially for women.
- Sociologist and political extremism expert Robert Futrell talked to Bloomberg about the rising tide of threats against poll workers, public health officers, school board members, and other local officials across the nation.
- As electric vehicles gain popularity, CBC interviewed economic geologist Simon Jowitt about the environmental costs of mining for nickel — a key car component.
- School of Public Health professor Jennifer Pharr shared her research on the impact that racial disparities play in drowning deaths, especially during ongoing swim program cutbacks and a lifeguard shortage: MSN, New York Daily News
- Yahoo! picked up a story featuring aviation history expert and Honors College professor Dan Bubb’s comments to Popular Mechanics about the ways sanctions against Russia are affecting its commercial airline industry.