Don’t let the crisp air fool you: While the temperatures are cooling down, activity on campus this October was only heating up.
Students and faculty celebrated the grand opening of new buildings, launched several new community outreach initiatives, published new research across multiple disciplines, and helped both longtime and new voters prepare for the historic midterm election.
UNLV scientists and psychologists investigated everything from ways to up solar energy production and the ranks of STEM professionals to military gambling addiction and the prospect of humans on Mars. Various units rolled out new educational spaces to help shore up Southern Nevada’s mental and physical health care offerings. Both on campus and out in the community, students and faculty hosted panels on federal student loan debt forgiveness, racial discrimination, and the region’s link to Hollywood history.
For these stories and more, check out the latest installment of UNLV Newsmakers.
Women in Science
Women much more enthusiastically embraced the live chat function during pandemic Zoom classes than men, according to research led by UNLV psychology professor and gender development expert Rachael Robnett. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that women were significantly more likely than men to say the live chat feature made class fun, helped them feel more comfortable participating in discussions, facilitated learning, and would be a welcome addition if incorporated post-pandemic. Researchers hope the data could be a key to broadening underrepresented groups’ access to STEM disciplines as colleges incorporate technology into hybrid and in-person courses.
Wealth from Waste
College of Sciences professor Simon Jowitt is among a team of economic geologists who are leading the charge in finding critical metals for renewable energy products in existing mines. As global demand for solar panels continues to increase, so too does the need for critical metals like tellurium — a by-product from copper mining that’s gaining popularity for its use in the cost-saving materials. The amount of tellurium in a mine is rarely reported so, to fill in the gaps and create estimates of critical minerals, Jowitt and colleagues have developed proxies to estimate tellurium content globally.
UNLV experts showed no fear of spooky season! From fashion to psychology to culture, faculty members weighed in on multiple aspects of the history behind Halloween.
- Katherine Walker, an English professor with expertise on the history of magic and the occult, chatted with Today about Halloween’s origins and with the History Channel about the storied past of exorcisms.
- Kenneth J. Varner, a College of Education literacy professor who researches race, spoke to Today about costumes and cultural appropriation.
- Yahoo! interviewed fashion historian Deirdre Clemente about scrutiny surrounding the iconic Playboy bunny costume.
- Psychologist Stephen D. Benning talked to Newsweek about finding costumes that match your personality.
The role of Latino voters and immigrants emerged as a major hot-button issue for the 2022 midterm election cycle. Media outlets around the world called on political scientist John P. Tuman for insight, including:
VRT News Belgium, Deutsche Welle, Finnish Broadcasting Company, The Telegraph UK, Radio Canada, Fox News, Washington Post, The Economist, Swiss Info, Telemundo Dallas, EFE, Latin Times, Le Point International
And he wasn’t alone. A slew of UNLV political and mental health experts spoke to dozens of publications on topics as diverse as abortion, climate change, partisanship, the economy, and the impact of political ads on children. Here are just a few examples:
Inside Climate News, New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Politifact, CNN (twice), The Guardian UK, USA Today, Bloomberg, Newsweek, Yahoo!, Five Thirty Eight, Univision, PBS NewsHour, Vox, Governing, Las Vegas Sun, Glam, Gray DC
- Jim Bolla, the winningest coach in Lady Rebels history, passed away: Las Vegas Review-Journal
- KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, KSNV-TV: News 3, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on a partnership between UNLV and Clark County to offer free informational sessions for community members who have questions about the White House’s student loan debt forgiveness program.
- Students and professors with UNLV's Public History Program hosted the first public tours at Walking Box Ranch in a decade, per reports via KSNV-TV: News 3, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- The Las Vegas Sun highlighted a Lincy Institute report which says UNLV is central to the evolution of Las Vegas’ medical community.
- KVVU-TV: Fox 5, Nevada Independent, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Sun, and KSNV-TV: News 3 reported on the opening of UNLV’s new medical education building. And KTNV-TV: ABC 13 spoke to several Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine students and faculty members about ways they’re working to expand medical access for Latinos.
- UNLV PRACTICE, a mental health training clinic for students from the College of Education and College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Psychology, opened a new satellite office dedicated to the treatment of children and teens: City Cast Las Vegas, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Las Vegas Sun
- The Las Vegas Sun highlighted new William S. Boyd School of Law dean Leah Chan Grinvald’s plan to expand access to legal education.
- A UNLV panel discussion on critical race theory and racism in education was covered by the Las Vegas Sun.
- Is the sports wagering world ready for esports? International Gaming Institute research director Brett Abarbanel chatted about it with U.S. Bets, Gambling.com, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Psychologist Shane W. Kraus wrote an essay for The Conversation about sports gambling addiction. European Gaming, SBC Americas, and Gambling News covered his latest research into the links between military service and gambling disorders.
- Astrophysicist Jason Steffen helped Reuters debunk a social media myth that the earth is flat.
- Frank Rudy Cooper, director of the law school’s Program on Race, Gender, and Policing, talked to the Associated Press about law enforcement reform.
- Law professor Michael Kagan shared his expertise on immigration reform with USA Today.
- Social media expert and communication studies professor Natalie Pennington spoke to Shondaland about the ways TikTok is bringing financial education to a new generation, and to Mashable about parasocial — or one-sided — relationships.
- Manoj Sharma, professor and chair of the School of Public Health’s Department of Social and Behavioral Health, helped explain the impact of smoking and drug abuse on global youth to Sunday Guardian Live readers.
- Canaltech and Olhar Digital covered ongoing research by geoscientists Leena Cycil and Libby Hausrath into the growth of algae that can withstand harsh outer space conditions and support food and oxygen needs for future human exploration of Mars.
- Seventeen Magazine tapped history professor Raquel Casas for an explainer on the difference between the terms Latino versus Hispanic.
- Financial aid director Zack Goodwin discussed ways to get a tuition discount with U.S. News & World Report.
- Education Week quoted child psychologist Christopher Kearney on the link between anxiety, depression, and school attendance.
- School of Public Health epidemiologist Brian Labus shed light via Insider and the Associated Press on the case of a young swimmer who contracted a brain-eating amoeba in Lake Mead. He also spoke to Gizmodo about the types of bacteria found in floodwaters following natural disaster; Men’s Health about the differences between symptoms for COVID and flu; Verywell Health about the impact of Americans lying about following coronavirus prevention measures; and to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, KNPR, and The Street about the possibility of a tripledemic on the Las Vegas Strip.