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Archive for January, 2012

BBC visits Oldfather, Burnett halls for feature story

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Cameras from the BBC were on campus Friday to chronicle the latest findings in a UNL team’s line of research into the biology of politics.

Political scientist John Hibbing and psychologist Mike Dodd, as well as graduate students Carly Jacobs and Mark Mills (pictured) were featured in the resulting story, which ran on a number of BBC channels and which can be seen here.

The biology of politics: Liberals roll with the good, conservatives confront the bad

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

From cable TV news shows to red-meat speeches on the campaign trail, our nation’s deep political stereotypes are on full display: Conservatives paint self-indulgent liberals as insufferably absent on urgent national issues, while liberals say fear-mongering conservatives are fixated on exaggerated dangers to the country.

A new study from UNL suggests there are biological truths to such broad brushstrokes.

In a series of experiments, researchers closely monitored physiological reactions and eye movements of study participants when shown combinations of both pleasant and unpleasant images. Conservatives reacted more strongly to, fixated more quickly on, and looked longer at the unpleasant images; liberals had stronger reactions to and looked longer at the pleasant images compared with conservatives.

“It’s been said that conservatives and liberals don’t see things in the same way,” said Mike Dodd, UNL assistant professor of psychology and the study’s lead author. “These findings make that clear – quite literally.”

To gauge participants’ physiological responses, they were shown a series of images on a screen. Electrodes measured subtle skin conductance changes, which indicated an emotional response. The cognitive data, meanwhile, was gathered by outfitting participants with eyetracking equipment that captured even the most subtle of eye movements while combinations of unpleasant and pleasant photos appeared on the screen.

While liberals’ gazes tended to fall upon the pleasant images, such as a beach ball or a bunny rabbit, conservatives clearly focused on the negative images – of an open wound, a crashed car or a dirty toilet, for example.

Consistent with the idea that conservatives seem to respond more to negative stimuli while liberals respond more to positive stimuli, conservatives also exhibited a stronger physiological response to images of Democratic politicians – presumed to be a negative to them – than they did on pictures of well-known Republicans. Liberals, on the other hand, had a stronger physiological response to the Democrats – presumed to be a positive stimulus to them – than they did to images of the Republicans.

By studying both physiological and cognitive aspects, the researchers established unique new insights into the growing notion that political leanings are at least partial products of our biology, UNL political scientist and study co-author Kevin Smith said.

Recent research on the subject has focused mostly on physiological reactions to negative stimuli. The new study’s use of cognitive data regarding both positive and negative imagery adds to the understanding of how liberals and conservatives see and experience the world, Smith said.

UNL political scientist and co-author John Hibbing said the results might mean that those on the right are more attuned and attentive to aversive elements in life and are more naturally inclined to confront them. From an evolutionary standpoint, that makes sense, he said.

The results also are consistent with conservatives’ support of policies to protect society from perceived external threats (support for increased defense spending or opposition to immigration) and internal ones as well (support for traditional values and being tough on crime), Hibbing said.

The researchers were careful to not make a value judgment on either political orientation. But they did note that their discovery provided an opportunity to recognize the relevance of deeper biological variables in politics and turn down political polarization.

Rather than believing those with opposite political views are uninformed or willfully obtuse, the authors said, political tolerance could be enhanced if it was widely understood that political differences are based in part on our physiological and cognitive differences.

“When conservatives say that liberals are out of it and just don’t get it, from this standpoint, that’s true,” Hibbing said. “And when liberals say ‘What are (conservatives) so frightened of? Is the world really that dangerous?’ Given what each side sees, what they pay attention to, what they physiologically experience – the answer is both sides are right.”

The study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, is in the current issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B and was authored by Dodd, Hibbing and Smith, as well as UNL’s Amanda Balzer, Carly Jacobs and Michael Gruszczynski.

Contacts: Mike Dodd, assistant professor of psychology, (402) 472-0547 or; John Hibbing, professor of political science, (402) 472-3220 or; Kevin Smith, professor of political science, (402) 472-0779 or

Coverage: Discovery News | The Telegraph (UK) | The Intersection blog | Yahoo! News | Miller-McCune | National Science Foundation |NPR| The Daily | WIRED | Huffington Post | BBC

Imagine that: How you picture others says a lot about you

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Quick, come up with an imaginary co-worker.

Did you imagine someone who is positive, confident, and resourceful? Who rises to the occasion in times of trouble? If so, then chances are that you also display those traits in your own life, a new study finds.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found that study participants who conjured positive imaginary co-workers contributed more in the actual workplace, both in job performance and going above and beyond their job descriptions to help others.

The results showed that your perceptions of others – even ones that are made up – says a lot about what kind of person you really are, said Peter Harms, UNL assistant professor of management and the study’s lead author. Imagining coworkers instead of reporting on how you perceive your actual coworkers produces more accurate ratings of having a positive worldview, he said, because it strips away the unique relational baggage that one may have with the people they know.

“When you make up imaginary peers, they are completely a product of how you see the world,” Harms said. “Because of that we can gain better insight into your perceptual biases. That tells us a lot about how you see the world, how you interpret events and what your expectations of others are.”

The study consisted of hundreds of working adults in a range of fields, Harms said. It specifically targeted their “psychological capital,” a cluster of personality characteristics associated with the ability to overcome obstacles and the tendency to actively pursue one’s goals. After asking participants to conjure up imaginary workers in a series of hypothetical situations, they were then asked to make ratings of the individuals they imagined on a wide range of characteristics.

Those who envisioned workers as engaging in proactive behaviors or readily rebounding from failures were actually happier and more productive in their real-life work, the researchers found.

Researchers have long acknowledged the benefits of having a positive mindset, but getting an accurate assessment has always been difficult because people are typically unwilling or unable to make accurate self-appraisals, Harms said.

Through the use of projective storytelling, the UNL researchers were able to predict real-life work outcomes above and beyond other established measures.

“We’ve known that workplace relations are a self-fulfilling prophecy for some time,” Harms said. “If a manager believes that their workers are lazy and incompetent, they will elicit those patterns in their employees.

“It’s hard to be motivated and enthusiastic for someone you know doesn’t think of you very highly. But most people don’t want to disappoint someone who sincerely believes in them.”

The study, which will appear in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Organizational Behavior, was co-authored by Fred Luthans, the George Holmes Distinguished Professor of Management at UNL’s College of Business Administration.

Contact: Peter Harms, assistant professor of management, (402) 472-9171 or

UNL in the national news: 2011

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

We surpassed the 200-hit mark for national news placements and appearances for UNL faculty, staff, students and administrators in 2011, the third year of a reconstituted effort to raise UNL’s national profile in the news media. Last year, by our calculations, we tallied about 155 placements and appearances, so that’s a pretty healthy upward trendline, we think.

Overall, more than 90 people and events received national coverage over the year, resulting in thousands of individual headlines in media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, TIME magazine, National Geographic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, the Wall Street Journal and many others.

What follows is the national headline list maintained by University Communications throughout the year. We do our best to make sure it’s as complete as possible, but it’s entirely possible that we’ve missed a headline or two (or three or four) that should be included here. Often, we’re asked if we keep a similar compilation of local or regional media hits — unfortunately, we don’t, as we know that Lincoln, Omaha and other Nebraska media outlets cover the events, research and programming at the university on a daily basis, and that that coverage serves a very important role within the state of Nebraska.

But without further ado, here’s the 2011 national list. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know via email.

David Admiraal, civil engineering, was featured March 11 in a story by Universe Today about the science behind how tsunamis form, in relation to an 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck earlier in the day off the coast of Japan. The syndicated article also appeared in a number of online news outlets, including and

Sam Allgood and William Walstad, economics, had their research into how Americans’ credit-card behavior is affected by their perceived and actual financial knowledge featured by a number of media outlets in November and December, including Consumer Affairs, the Las Vegas Business Press and

Marvin Ammori, telecommunications law, was quoted Jan. 22 by, the Hollywood Reporter, The Hill, and the New York Times regarding the NBC-Comcast merger and Keith Olbermann’s subsequent firing from MSNBC. On Jan. 27, he was quoted about Twitter and unrest in Egypt by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. |

Keenan Amundsen, agronomy and horticulture, was quoted in a national Associated Press story about a UNL project that uses flying robots to photograph crops for research. The story appeared in dozens of media outlets around the country.

Kristin Anderson, general studies, was quoted in early May in a Yahoo! Education story about choosing the right degree program.

Scott Anderson, music, was quoted on NPR’s All Things Considered on Jan. 31 in a story about Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and his activism surrounding the city of Fremont’s immigration law.

Carlos Asarta, economics, was featured by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, and Yahoo! News and France 24 on March 11 along with a video he shot from the top of the Tokyo Tower during an 8.9-magniture earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan.

Stephen Baenziger, agronomy and horticulture; Scott Fuess, economics; Josephine Potuto, law; and Carl Nelson, engineering, were quoted in a June 25 article by the Lafayette Journal and Courier about UNL joining the Big Ten. The article appeared in a number of Gannett newspapers in the following week, including the Indianapolis Star.

Charlyne Berens, journalism, appeared in a May 13 report by KING-5 Seattle on Unicameral legislatures.

UNL’s July 1 entrance into the Big Ten Conference was covered extensively by media outlets across the nation, including the The Associated Press, USA TODAY, the Chicago Tribune, ESPN and many others.

Barbara Mayes Boustead, climatology, had her research into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s accounts of the winter of 1880-81 featured by USA TODAY on Aug. 21.

Charles Braithwaite, communication studies, 2011 graduate Kyle Basarich and communications major Elizabeth Kinnel were quoted in an Oct. 26 USA TODAY College story about how intercultural video chatting can help bridge global cultures.

Beth Burkstrand-Reid, law, was quoted in a May 13 Christian Science Monitor report about Indiana’s first-in-the-nation law to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

Kenneth Cassman, agronomy and agriculture, appeared on EarthSky about the challenge of doubling the world’s food production by 2050 to cope with a global population of nine billion On July 26, he appeared on Radio Australia to discuss the same topic.

Alan Cerveny, dean of admissions, and Amber Hunter, associate dean of admissions, appeared in a March 21 story on the recruitment benefits of UNL joining the Big Ten. The story was circulated by The Associated Press and appeared in dozens of media outlets nationwide.

The Chiara String Quartet, artists in residence at UNL since 2005, were featured in a Jan. 20 music review in the New York Times following their performance at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City.

Sidnie White Crawford, classics and religion, was quoted in a June 5 article about popular sayings that are often mistaken as scripture. The story was among the site’s top viewed for more than a day and received more than 6,800 comments.

Kwame Dawes, English and editor of Prairie Schooner, was featured in Guernica, an art and politics magazine, in mid-December.

Wheeler Winston Dixon, film studies, was quoted regularly by national media in 2011. Highlights include: Jan. 14 by The Christian Science Monitor about market saturation for second-string superhero movies; Jan. 18 by the Sacramento Bee regarding the often-odd logic of the MPAA’s rating system; Jan. 26 by the Christian Science Monitor about his summation of the 2011 Oscar field and again on Jan. 27 about plans to make The King’s Speech more amenable to wider audiences by modifying a scene featuring profanity; Feb. 25, by the Christian Science Monitor in a pre-Oscars piece about the changes in and role of mass media and communication technology in films; Feb. 27 by the Houston Chronicle about the best-film finalists’ historical accuracy; March 26 by Gannett News Services on the nature and origins of film noir, an article that was appeared in dozens of Gannett newspapers and websites around the country; May 23 by the Christian Science Monitor about how Hollywood is changing to appeal to international filmgoers; June 22 by the Christian Science Monitor about Hollywood remaking old 1980s classics; Aug. 11 by the Associated Press about the age of paranoia that is reflected in post-9/11 moviemaking; Aug. 17 by the San Jose Mercury News about why “Star Wars” still pervades popular culture; Sept. 7 by Reuters about the tone and direction of motion pictures following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; Sept. 25 by the Los Angeles Times about 3-D makeovers coming to classic Hollywood movies; and Nov. 11 by The Independent (U.K.) in a story analyzing James Cameron’s move to bring back “Titanic” in 3-D.| | |

Donna Dudney, finance, was quoted Nov. 30 by the New York Times about Warren Buffett’s plan to buy the Omaha World-Herald. Her comments also appeared at Poynter Online and the Christian Science Monitor.

Marion Ellis, entomology, was quoted in a May 13 Associated Press report on UNL’s role in determining if pesticides are behind the mysterious disease that has been decimating U.S. bee colonies. The story moved on national wires and appeared in hundreds of media outlets.

Song Feng, School of Natural Resources, had his and other UNL climatologists’ research on climate change’s effects in the arctic featured in a number of media outlets in early March, including the Alaska Dispatch, the Times of India and a number of Canadian newspapers, including the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen and the Calgary Herald. It also appeared in a number of online news outlets, including and On March 17, it was featured by the National Science Foundation’s Science 360 News.

Rebecca Fisher, music, was quoted Sept. 29 by the Wall Street Journal about the importance of performance psychology.

Gwendolyn Foster, film studies, was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor story on May 13 about whether Ashton Kutcher could fill Charlie Sheen’s role in “Two and a Half Men.” On July 2, the Monitor quoted her in a story about how the “star system” in Hollywood is slipping away.

Geoffrey Friesen, finance, was quoted in a Dec. 16 article from Reuters News about why active fund managers were having such a bad year.

Sherilyn Fritz, Earth and atmospheric sciences, had research she co-authored about climate change in Greenland 5,000 years ago featured in a number of media outlets in late May, including CBS News, Discover magazine, Reuters, the Daily Mail UK, Science Daily, Discovery News, and several other media outlets around the globe.

Brian Fuchs, climatology, was quoted extensively throughout 2011 in response to extreme drought in the American south. Highlights included: June 9 by the Associated Press about the resiliency of a Florida drought that has wilted crops and sparked wildflowers, which appeared in dozens of media outlets nationwide; June 10 by USA TODAY about droughts throughout the southern United States; July 13 by The Atlantic about the possibility of another Dust Bowl in the continent; Aug. 25 by Reuters about high heat and persistent drought in the South; Nov. 3 by Reuters about the persistence of Texas drought; and Nov. 30 by the Associated Press about the National Drought Mitigation Center’s new partnership with NASA satellites to determine groundwater levels around the globe. The story appeared in hundreds of news outlets around the world. |

Rhonda Garelick, English, wrote an op-ed column for the March 7 edition of the New York Times about John Galliano and the history of French fashion’s links to fascism. On March 8, she appeared on Q, a top-rated Canadian Broadcasting Corp. talk show, about the same topic. On Dec. 2, she was quoted in a New York Times story about the many faces of Coco Chanel.

John Gates, Earth and atmospheric sciences; and Wayne Woldt, biological systems engineering, had their letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging more research into the risks of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline reported upon by Reuters News. The story appeared in hundreds of media outlets around the world. On Oct. 7, Gates spoke with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about what the pipeline through the state would mean for the state’s groundwater.

Sarah Gervais, psychology, had her work about the effects of the objectifying gaze on women’s cognitive functions featured Jan. 26 in Glamour. On Jan. 27, she conducted a live interview with KCBS radio in Los Angeles, and her research was featured by, The Christian Science Monitor,,, The Daily Mail of London, and dozens of news weblogs, including On Feb. 4, the research appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education. On Feb. 28, her research was featured on, as well as a number of radio stations around the country, including WLS 890 AM in Chicago, KSFO-AM in San Francisco and WBSM-AM in Boston. On Feb. 28, her work was featured by On April 12, her research that measured people’s perceptions and memories of sexually attractive bodies was featured by the Boston Globe.  In December, her research was featured in Marie Claire. |

Seth Giertz, economics, had his study examining the screening process for federal disability benefits featured by a number of outlets in late May, including Science Daily,, Medical News Today and

Jim Goeke, professor emeritus in the School of Natural Resources, was quoted Sept. 25 by The Associated Press about the potential environmental impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline on the Ogallala Aquifer. The story appeared in dozens of media outlets nationwide. On Oct. 3, Goeke penned an op-ed for the New York Times about the minimal risk a pipeline would pose to the aquifer.

Ron Hanson, agricultural economics, was featured in a Dec. 28 story in American Banker magazine about a new curriculum that helps students find banking jobs in a post-crisis operating environment.

Peter Harms, management, had his research into the nature of mentorship featured by Business News Daily of New York on Oct. 19.

Michael Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, was quoted in a June 15 New Scientist story about climate change’s role for droughts in some parts of the United States.

Eileen Hebets, entomology, was quoted Aug. 8 by Fox News for a story about black widow spiders’ mate selection.

John Hibbing, political science, was featured by a number of media outlets the week of May 11 in coverage about his research into the politics of mate choice, including TIME,, Yahoo! News, the Salt Lake Tribune, More magazine, and His work on physiological reactions to disgusting images also received national play, including Wired magazine. |

The Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts was the subject of several articles when it announced Nov. 5 that the John W. Carson Foundation would establish a new $1 million scholarship fund for Nebraska students. Coverage included articles in Variety and StageDirections and an Associated Press article that appeared nationwide.

Amanda Holman, communication studies, had her research into how college students’ social networks define and affect campus ‘hookups’ featured in a number of media outlets in September, including LiveScience,, ABC News, United Press International, GOOD Magazine, and Men’s Health.

A June 8 announcement regarding the future of UNL’s Innovation Campus, in which Chancellor Harvey Perlman, NU President J.B. Milliken and Gov. Dave Heineman discussed plans for the first developments on the site, was covered extensively by local media, which graduated up to national coverage via the Associated Press.

An event at the International Quilt Study Center involving a pair of authors of a book about the quilt-making women of the Great Plains appeared in a May 29 Associated Press story and appeared in dozens of online media outlets nationally, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS News and USA TODAY.

Andrew Jewell, English and University Libraries, and Guy Reynolds, English, were quoted in a May 12 story in The Chronicle of Higher Education about a gift of Willa Cather material to the university from a decently deceased Cather heir. A story from The Associated Press reached national audiences, appearing in hundreds of media outlets around the nation and world, including CBS News, ABC News, Newsday, the Dallas Morning News, the Denver Post, the Sacramento Bee, the Seattle Times, Yahoo! News,, the Huffington Post and many others.

Matt Joeckel, geology, was quoted in a June 13 Kansas City Star article about efforts to extract rare earth materials in Nebraska for use in high-tech devices.

Bruce Johnson, agricultural economics, was quoted Dec. 9 in a U.S. News & World Report story about job concerns in the agricultural sector. On Dec. 12, he was quoted in a national Associated Press story about record farm incomes in 2011.

Jim Kalish, entomology, was quoted in a May 12 Huffington Post article about how Mississippi River floodwaters were flushing out colonies of fire ants.

Gary Kebbel, dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, was quoted in several media outlets Nov. 30 regarding Warren Buffett’s plan to buy the Omaha World-Herald, including Poynter Online.

Lisa Kort-Butler, sociology, had her research about relationships between certain kinds of crime TV programming and viewers’ fears and attitudes about crime and the justice system featured in a number of news outlets in early and mid-February, including LA Weekly, Glamour,, Yahoo! News, and dozens of online news outlets. She also participated in several live radio interviews around the country, including Feb. 9 on WBAL radio in Baltimore and and Feb. 16 on Progressive AM 760 in Denver. On Feb. 25, the story moved across The Associated Press wire and appeared in dozens of media outlets around the country and North America. |

Ari Kohen, political science, was quoted May 5 by in a story about what the “situation room” photo of President Obama and his war cabinet says about American culture. He was featured in a Sept. 8 story by Campus Progress about how Twitter can be used to open up his class on contemporary political theory. He also was quoted in an Oct. 17 story about universities using Twitter for customer service. In late October, he was quoted and cited in a number of stories about the inaugural Chicago Conference on Jersey Shore Studies, at which he was a presenter. On Nov. 6, we discussed the use of online resources in his classes, particularly an iPad application called “Imaging the Iliad,” in a special report from the Chronicle of Higher Education. In mid-December, Kohen was cited twice by Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast about the death penalty. | |

Wanda Koszewski, nutrition and health sciences, was quoted in an April 26 Associated Press article on a statehouse bill intended to increase access to healthy, affordable food. The article appeared in dozens of media outlets nationwide. In late June, her study on low-income families’ nutrition and diet appeared in Yahoo! News as well as dozens of news outlets nationwide. |

Siu Kit “Eddie” Lau, architectural engineering, was quoted in a May 23 Discovery News article about how weather bends highway noise.

James Le Sueur, history, wrote a Feb. 14 essay in Foreign Affairs after the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt about a generation of leaders in the postcolonial world running strong, repressive states to secure national liberty, and the ramifications for other autocrats now that that era has passed.

The National Drought Mitigation Center at UNL was regularly cited throughout the summer on persistent drought in 14 southern states. In August, the NDMC announcement on the record-breaking levels of exceptional drought in the United States was covered by CNN, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Weather Channel, and hundreds of other media outlets around the world, including AFP, the Atlantic, Discovery News, and Yahoo! News. |

The annual Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Developments Survey’s findings that agricultural land values rose to record heights in the previous year were featured by The Associated Press on March 17. AP’s story on the survey circulated to dozens of media outlets nationwide, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Linda Major, student affairs, participated in a live Jan. 25 interview on Iowa Public Radio about UNL’s efforts to create a culture that discourages binge drinking, and its work with the University of Iowa to do the same in Iowa City.

Darrell Mark, agricultural economics, appeared in an April 12 radio story about the drop in cattle operations in key Corn Belt states to give way for acres being planted to row crops. The story appeared nationally on All Things Considered.

Patrice McMahon, political science, was quoted in a Sept. 25 Associated Press article about the benefits of college students studying abroad.  The story appeared in dozens of media outlets nationwide.

Julia McQuillan, sociology, was quoted in a June 18 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about the importance of fatherhood to men. She was quoted Sept. 9 in Glamour magazine about U.S. women’s attitudes about becoming pregnant. In mid-October, her work examining the importance of fatherhood to U.S. men was covered by a number of national outlets, including UPI, CBS News, Forbes, Men’s Health and dozens of other news sites and outlets.

Calvin Pappas, a sophomore computer engineering major, was featured Feb. 27 in the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog about his new startup, SelectOut. The company educates consumers about Internet privacy issues and gives them an easy way to opt out of online tracking.

Chancellor Harvey Perlman was cited in a Jan. 3 Bloomberg News report about states luring veteran professors to retire in response to budget cuts. In early May, he was quoted extensively in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed and the New York Times in the wake of the American Association of Universities’ decision to end UNL’s 102-year membership with the organization. |

Susan Poser, dean of the Nebraska College of Law, was quoted in a Dec. 11 national Associated Press story about rural communities’ struggle with a lack of lawyers.

Kenneth Price, American Literature, was the subject of wide national coverage April 12, when he announced his find of nearly 3,000 previously unknown documents in the National Archives by Walt Whitman. His discovery was covered extensively by the Washington Post, The Associated Press, Reuters, McClatchy Newspapers, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer and a number of TV and radio outlets in the Washington, D.C., area. Published articles and broadcast segments highlighting the discovery appeared in hundreds of media outlets worldwide. | || |

Stephen Ramsay, English, was quoted Jan. 9 in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the nature and future of the field of digital humanities. On June 12, Ramsay was quoted in the Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog about how far digital-humanities work has evolved in the last decade. On Nov. 30, he was cited in a Chronicle article discussing how much coding knowledge is necessary for students to be successful in the digital humanities.

Timothy Schaffert, English, had his latest novel, “The Coffins of Little Hope,” reviewed by the New York Times on April 13.

Dennis Schulte, biological systems engineering, and Evan Curtis, a senior biological systems engineering major, were quoted in a Dec. 5 Associated Press story about a class project in which student built, raced and ate miniature cars made out of food. Photos of the event also appeared on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website.

Philip Schwadel, sociology, had his research on education’s effects on U.S. religiosity cited and featured by a number of national media outlets in early August, including USA TODAY, CNN, United Press International, The Daily Mail (UK), Inside Higher Ed, Discovery News and dozens of other broadcast, print and online media outlets around the nation.

Dean Sicking, director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, was quoted in an Oct. 18 ESPN story about the death of IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon following a crash during a race in Las Vegas.

Rob Simon, marketing, was quoted in a national Associated Press story about a local hardware chain’s unique marketing push to sell merchandise at Halloween. The story appeared in hundreds of media outlets nationwide.

Weldon Sleight, dean of the College of Technical Agriculture, was quoted Feb. 5 by the New York Times about UNL’s Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots program.

Kevin Smith and John Hibbing, political science, had their research that examined the propensity for disgust and political orientation featured by Wired magazine on Oct. 21. The research also was featured by the London Daily Mail, LiveScience, and Yahoo! News on Oct. 27. |

Steve Spomer, entomology, was quoted in National Geographic on July 26 about efforts to save the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle.

John Stansbury, environmental engineering, was quoted extensively around the globe in July and August following the completion of his report estimating worst-case scenarios for a spill on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Appearances included the Guardian (UK), The Nation, USA TODAY and the Associated Press.

Scott Stoltenberg, psychology, had his research finding on genetic links to male impulsivity and alcohol problems featured by LiveScience, MSNBC, Fox News, CNBC, Gizmodo and Scientific American in mid-November. | |

Jay Storz, School of Biological Sciences, had his research on vertebrate-specific globins and genome duplications in lancelets featured by Scientific American on Nov. 14.

Ray Supalla, agricultural economics, was quoted in an April 8 national story by The Associated Press about the legal fight between Kansas and Nebraska over water use in the Republican River basin. The story appeared in hundreds of media outlets, including ABC News, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post,, the Las Vegas Sun, the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Denver Post and the Dallas Morning News.

Mark Svoboda, climatology, was quoted regularly by national media in 2011 in response to U.S. drought. Highlights included Sept. 1 by Reuters News about the intensity of drought conditions in the southern United States throughout the next several months and Sept. 8 by MSNBC on the same topic.

Susan Swearer, school psychology, was quoted regularly in 2011 on bullying issues. Highlights included a Jan. 2 op-ed in the Washington Post that outlined five myths about bullying; on Jan. 9, she appeared on CBS Sunday Morning in a segment about a research project on bullying that involves UNL and Lincoln’s Irving Middle School; On March 10, she took part in a White House conference on bullying prevention, which received coverage from The Associated Press, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC. That morning, she also was interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America; on April 22, she was quoted in a LiveScience story about bullying’s effects on parents, a piece that appeared on a number of national news outlets, including And on July 11, she was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune about stopping cyber-bullying in schools. | |

Stephen Taylor, food science and technology, was quoted April 2 by the Detroit Free Press about gluten-free foods for those with celiac disease. He was quoted Aug. 3 by Food Business News about understanding the gluten-free consumer.

Will Thomas, history, was quoted Jan. 9 in The Chronicle of Higher Education about technology’s effect on the rapidly changing face of academia. He appeared Sept. 24 on the C-SPAN series “The Contenders” for an episode about William Jennings Bryan. On Oct. 26, he was quoted about the Transcontinental Railroad in the Wall Street Journal’s preview of the new AMC series “Hell On Wheels.”

Eric Thompson and William Walstad, economics, appeared regularly in media outlets around the country in August to discuss the Bureau of Business Research’s and the Department of Economics’ second State Entrepreneurship Index, which ranked entrepreneurial activity in all 50 states. National coverage included articles from Inc., Bloomberg BusinessWeek, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo! News, The Orange County Register, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer and hundreds of other media outlets across the nation throughout the month of August. The rankings also were the subject of a nationally syndicated First Business segment, which appeared on more than a hundred newscasts in local markets around the country.

Thompson appeared regularly in media outlets throughout 2011, including an Associated Press story on Sept. 28 about the UNL Bureau of Business Research report projecting the Nebraska economy to remain strong through 2013. The article appeared in dozens of media outlets nationwide. On Nov. 21, he was quoted in a Bloomberg News article about Gov. Dave Heineman’s “red-state environmentalism.”

Frans von der Dunk, space law, was quoted by Slate on Sept. 1 about the necessary legal framework among nations regarding space debris. On July 14, his comments about the end of the space shuttle program were covered by dozens of media outlets and space websites. On Sept. 23, he spoke with Agence Presse France about NASA’s falling satellite, which was cited in numerous Associated Press articles in the following days.

Anne Vidaver, plant pathology emeritus, appeared Jan. 20 on NPR’s “Morning Edition” to discuss the dilemma researchers face regarding the pathogens in their labs that could run afoul of legal restrictions on who can possess them.

Mike Wagner, political science, was quoted extensively throughout 2011. Highlights include: Jan. 12 by CNN about expectations surrounding President Obama’s speech in the wake of a mass killing in Tucson, Ariz.; Jan. 16 by the Las Vegas Sun on his research on how congressional redistricting can isolate certain voters, which led to an hour-long interview on the syndicated Steve Wark In The Morning show on KMZQ AM in Las Vegas; March 19 by the Des Moines Register on his research into photo ID requirements’ effects on voter turnout; May 11 by the Associated Press about the Tea Party Express’ endorsement of senate candidate Jon Bruning; Aug. 11 by the Associated Press about Bruning’s comments comparing welfare recipients to raccoons; Aug. 18 by USA TODAY about the enduring media allure of town-hall meetings; Aug. 29 by the Associated Press about the caustic nature of Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race; Sept. 27 by Real Clear Politics about the Tea Party’s influence on the Nebraska GOP Senate primary; Nov. 3 by PostMedia News about the Keystone XL’s role in President Obama’s election prospects; Nov. 21 by Bloomberg News about Gov. Dave Heineman’s “red-state environmentalism”; Dec. 8 by WNYC New York about Rick Perry’s “Strong” ad; Dec. 10 by the Boston Globe about how Barney Frank changed gay politics; and Dec. 27 by the Associated Press about U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson’s decision to retire. | | |

Matthew Waite, journalism, had his new Drone Journalism Lab featured in a number of outlets in December, including the Washington Post and Mashable.

Vicky Weisz, Center on Children, Families and the Law, had research she conducted with Angela Korpas and Twila Wingrove regarding college undergraduates’ views on downloading music piracy featured by a number of media outlets in mid-April, including Yahoo! News, ARSTechnica, and Science Daily.

LaDonna Werth, extension, was quoted July 4 in a national Associated Press article about the stress caused by persistent flooding along the Missouri River.

Donald Wilhite, director of the School of Natural Resources, was quoted July 12 about the historical nature of drought in the South. On July 20, he appeared on The Takeaway with John Kockenberry and Celeste Headlee on WYNC-AM New York about the southern drought.

David Wilson, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, was quoted in a Dec. 8 article from U.S. News & World Report about how U.S. universities and colleges are making life easier for international students and their transitions to campus.

Yiqi Yang, textiles, clothing and design, had his research into creating plastics by using chicken feathers featured March 31 by the BBC. The story circulated to several ancillary websites, including the Australian Broadcasting Company.

Sandra Zellmer, law, was quoted Nov. 7 in Bloomberg News coverage regarding the legal requirements for moving the Keystone XL’s proposed route through Nebraska.