November: A time for holidays, politics via the presidential election, Thanksgiving travels — and this year — looming worries about the continued challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At UNLV, the month was also full of academic cheer as our researchers and experts made groundbreaking discoveries, influenced change, or offered insight to lend context to happenings around the world.
From health care to politics to scientific research, UNLV can always be found at the forefront of change.
UNLV Preps For COVID-19 Vaccine
Finally – effective vaccines for COVID-19 are on the horizon, and UNLV is ready for action. As the FDA finalized test trials, UNLV prepared to assist with distribution via the acquisition of a medical-grade freezer that can store up to 50,000 doses of a Pfizer vaccine at sub-zero temperatures. Meanwhile, experts across various disciplines offered insight on the impact of the inoculations on everything from the society to the economy.
- UNLV School of Medicine Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs Michael Gardner and Dean Marc J. Kahn discuss the university’s distribution plans and acquisition of a sub-zero freezer.
- UNLV School of Medicine’s Director of Bioethics Johan Bester explains to MSN how important it is to introduce new vaccines into the market.
- Stephen Miller, a Lee Business School economist and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, explains to InkedIn how vaccines will help boost the economy.
Holidays vs. COVID-19
Let’s face it: Thanksgiving and a pandemic do not mix well. After months of social distancing and isolation, many Americans debated whether to travel in order to spend the perfect holiday together — defying the advice and pleas of public health and local government officials. Ahead of the holiday, UNLV experts weighed in on the anticipated boom in pandemic holiday travel, the mental health impacts of choosing between public health and a traditional holiday with family, and the best ways to stay safe during the most sociable time of the year.
- Vox interviews communications professor Donovan Conley about what people define as “good” and “bad” food during Thanksgiving.
- Business strategy professor Wonyong Oh identifies the mental isolation struggles with COVID-19 during the holidays in Verywell Health.
- Distinguished Fellow in Responsible Gaming Alan Feldman discusses Las Vegas’s role as a travel destination in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Couple and Family Therapy Program professor Katherine M. Hertlein introduces ways to avoid family fights during Thanksgiving on Bucks Courier County Times.
- Hospitality professor Amanda Belarmino analyzes the travel statistics of Las Vegas tourists during Thanksgiving break on KVVU-TV: FOX 5 and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- School of Public Health professor Brian Labus discusses with Yahoo!, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, El Tiempo, and Las Vegas Review-Journal how health must be prioritized when considering holiday travels; and with The Guardian about the situation in New York.
- Hospitality professor Mehmet Erdem explains to Las Vegas Review-Journal why tourists are drawn to Las Vegas as a travel destination despite the warnings against Thanksgiving travel.
In November, we experienced some of the most revolutionary moments in U.S. history as Americans cast their votes in record numbers for president — both in person and, because of the pandemic, by mail. Before the outcome, however, Nevada became a key battleground state that teased the national audience on the final ballot results. Throughout the election, UNLV experts analyzed mail-ballots, dissected voter fraud allegations, and kept the audience up to date on Nevada’s voting count. By the end of the month, UNLV helped Las Vegas and beyond understand the political intricacies of the election and what is to come.
- History professor Michael Green keeps the audience up to date with commentaries on Nevada's voting count.
- Political scientist Rebecca Gill reflects on voter fraud allegations, as well as clarifies the process of counting votes.
- Political science professor Kenneth Miller analyzes the presidential race, as well as voter registration on Bem Parana, KTNV-TV: ABC 13, and KLAS-TV: 8 News Now.
- Natalie Pennington, assistant professor of communication studies, explains how social media plays a role in the presidential race to KNPR, KTNV-TV: ABC 13 (twice), and PopSugar.
- Child and Adolescent & Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Fellowship director Lisa Durette explains to KSNV-TV: News 3 how the presidential race can be taught to children in the household.
- Political science professor Dan Lee discusses the influence of third-party candidates with Newsweek, and Nevada’s stance on counting ballots with KNPR.
- Political Science chair David Damore explains the influence of external factors on voting behavior on Estadao and Nevada Current.
- Public health professor Brian Labus reminds KSNV-TV: News 3 that the focus on COVID-19 should not wane as the election gains national attention.
- Gaming historian David Schwartz explains to AP and KLAS-TV: 8 News Now how legalized gambling has affected voters during the election.
- Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute executive director Robert E. Lang analyzes how Hispanic voters differ between states, as well as Nevada’s gradual pace in vote counting on KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, KTNV-TV: ABC 13 and KNPR. He also spoke to NPR about how the political shift in the Southwest has been underway for years.
- UNLV Debate Team head coach Jacob Thompson discusses Joe Biden’s lead in Nevada with ABC News Australia.
- John P. Tuman of the Department of Political Science discusses Hispanic minority voting on KNPR.
- College of Education expert Bradley Marianno predicts what teacher unions expect from Biden during the presidential election on The 74.
Pandemic Fatigue: It’s Real
COVID-19 – it’s everywhere, physically and mentally. It’s spurred lockdowns, social distancing, and life-threatening danger to our everyday lives. The word itself can be so irritating to hear. UNLV experts have understood this dilemma, classifying it as “COVID fatigue” – frustration over the pandemic. As the nation grapples with continued social distancing, university experts point out that it’s normal to experience distress over the coronavirus, providing tips on how to better mental health amidst isolation and lockdown.
- Psychology professor Stephen D. Benning explains the reasons why people experience COVID fatigue on KSNV-TV: News 3.
- Architecture professor Dak Kopec explains to the Wall Street Journal how remodeling can become a coping mechanism during isolationism.
- Communication studies professor Emma Frances Bloomfield provides tips on how to fight COVID fatigue in The Guardian and with The 21st.
The “Magnetic Star”
Discovered more than a decade ago, fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are rare and mysterious forms of radio emissions that have recently been detected under human surveillance. The lingering question though is: where do they come from? Recently, a team of astronomers, including College of Sciences associate dean for research Bing Zhang, detected a distinguishable FRB that emerged within the Milky Way, enabling researchers to discern their origin from magnetars, or “magnetic stars” – neutron stars that possess powerful magnetic fields. Zhang explains the workings behind magnetars and FRBs.
- Vice, National Geographic, NewScientist, CNN, Space.com, New York Post, CBC News, Gizmodo, Popular Science
General Expert Roundup
- UNLV Public Health Professor Melva Thompson-Robinson shared with USA Today what happens next after racism was declared a public health issue in 27 states.
- UNLV physicist Ashkan Salamat breaks down his discovery of a room-temperature superconductor for Vice News.
- UNLV climate scientist Matthew Lachniet spoke with Inside Climate News and The Salt Lake Tribune about his recent research of rock pillars in Leviathan Cave in central Nevada and its implications for climate change in the Southwest U.S.
- Gaming historian David Schwartz recounts the 1980 MGM Grand fire tragedy on Las Vegas Review-Journal and KLAS-TV: 8 News Now.
- Fashion historian Deirdre Clemente talks with the New York Times about the ubiquity of leggings during the pandemic, and how they made their way into the election conversation.
- African American and African Diaspora Studies historian and professor Tyler D. Parry discusses racial justice and the history of segregation in the U.S with The African American Folklorist, Teen Vogue, and Vegas PBS.
- Leith Martin, director of the Troesch Center for Entrepreneurship, talks with Travel Weekly (twice) about the innovations behind the $1 million Lee Prize winners.
- Assistant professor of psychology Renato (Rainier) M. Liboro explains on CTV News the importance of understanding the experiences middle-aged queer males faced during the height of HIV/AIDS.
- Honors College professor and aviation historian Dan Bubb recounts the “Golden Age of Travel” for commercial flight, as well as the tragedy of Bonanza Airlines Flight 114 on CNBC and Aviation News.
- Stephen Miller, director of Center for Business and Economic Research, explains how the coronavirus affects the economy, as well as Las Vegas’s uniqueness on Casino.Org and Forbes.
- Life Sciences professor and insect expert Allen Gibbs warns how murder hornets can affect beekeepers’ hives in Newsweek.