UNLV Newsmakers 2022: February | University of Nevada, Las Vegas

UNLV felt the love this February as university experts weighed in with fascinating facts about Valentine’s Day, several university leaders and faculty members were honored for their contributions to Black history, and researchers in two units — the Department of Brain Health and College of Education — embraced the community by launching new programs.  Read on for a more in depth look at these topics and more.

State of the University Address

UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield kicked the month off on a positive note with his annual State of the University speech on Feb. 1. He outlined highlights of his second year on the job, unveiled a new digital AI version of himself that allows students to “interact” with him online 24/7, and detailed plans to expand the university — starting with a new building for the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering.

Be My Valentine?

Valentine’s day is known colloquially as the day of giving and receiving gifts and sweets to and from your loved ones. But did you know the history behind how it all began? There’s a UNLV class for that! UNLV experts explained the commercialization of Valentine’s Day over the centuries and the health implications of ingesting all those sweet treats you might receive. 

Shoring Up the Teacher Shortage 

While the demand for teachers across Nevada continues, UNLV’s College of Education has created a solution that allows open teaching positions in CCSD to be filled by individuals who are already working in local schools. The Paraprofessional Pathways Project is empowering CCSD support staff and instructional aides to make the transition to a full-time teaching career in as little as one year. Program participants either have an associate’s degree or 60 credits of college-level general education courses, and PPP puts them on the fast track to licensure. The combination of in-person, hybrid, and online will help CCSD diversify their workforce and chip away at the more than 800 teaching vacancies. 

Las Vegas Review-Journal, KVVU-TV: Fox 5, Telemundo Las Vegas, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, KTNV-TV: ABC 13  

Preserving History 

UNLV’s student body has consistently been recognized as one of the most diverse in the nation. During Black History Month, we celebrated diversity as several staff members were lauded for their impact on the community. In other history news, the Golden Age of Hollywood was brought back to life by UNLV history students. 

  • UNLV Libraries’ Oral History Research Center director Claytee D. White was recognized by KTNV-TV: ABC 13 and a Boulder City Review opinion letter writer for her role in the Black community in Las Vegas.
  • KTNV-TV: ABC 13 and KSNV-TV: News 3 highlighted President Whitfield’s legacy as UNLV’s first Black president.
  • The Las Vegas Review-Journal featured law professor Rachel Anderson, the first Black attorney to serve as general counsel for the Nevada attorney general’s office.
  • History professor Deirdre Clemente and her students recounted their efforts to preserve and revive Walking Box Ranch, the desert oasis home of 1920s silent film stars Clara Bow and Rex Bell for public tours for KSNV-TV: News 3 viewers.

Great Minds

UNLV and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health were awarded $11.3 million in continuing grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance neuroscience research in Southern Nevada. Since 2015, researchers from the two organizations have partnered to investigate diagnostic methods, health disparities, and therapeutic interventions related to neurodegenerative disorders, including work to better understand commonalities among disorders. The new award, co-led by UNLV Department of Brain Health founding chair Jefferson Kinney and Dr. Aaron Ritter of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, will help launch a second phase focused on further development of existing projects related to biomarker, imaging, and clinical research.

Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada Business Magazine, KSNV-TV: News 3, MSN, Las Vegas Weekly

General Expert Roundup

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