Penn State In The News: June 2016

July 08, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa -- Penn State appears in the news hundreds of times every day. Monthly, the University’s Office of Strategic Communications features national and international news coverage of the work and expertise of Penn State’s faculty, students and staff.

June's highlights:

-- People around the world followed a British referendum on whether or not the United Kingdom would stay in the European Union. On top of the fascination with one country deciding whether or not to splinter from their greater organization, many people wondered how it would affect them on the other side of the ocean. Clinical Professor of International Business Terrence Guay helped answer that question. His essay on how this would affect the American people was published in U.S. News and World Report, Public Radio International, Salon and many others. Guay reassured Americans that they would still continue to visit Great Britain and other European countries, but warned, “In the meantime, trade between the two countries would be disrupted, adversely affecting U.S. workers dependent on exports to the U.K.” Guay also cautioned the decision to leave will make America’s closest European ally weaker in international politics. “So losing that voice at the EU table would make the U.K. a less valuable ally and could hurt U.S. policymaking,” Guay said. “It may eventually lead to closer U.S. ties with Berlin or even Paris.”

-- Closer to home, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the University of Texas at Austin could use race in their admissions policy. The court said the school could legally consider a person’s race with the intention of making a more diverse campus. Higher Education Professor Liliana Garces told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "There's a large body of social-science evidence that shows that when you have a diverse student body, you help promote excellence in education for all students." She had filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court supporting the university.  She was also quoted in Education Dive and her essay was published in many places, including the San Francisco Chronicle.

-- Just about four months after Penn State researchers were in the news worldwide for their part in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) discovery, they’ve now announced another discovery. Chad Hanna, physics professor and co-chair of LIGO’s Compact Binary Coalescence Group,  says “Every time we see something different, that’s exciting.” Scientists have detected another round of gravitational waves that Albert Einstein theorized. Hanna told USA Today, “Now that we are able to detect gravitational waves, they are going to be a phenomenal source of new information about our galaxy and an entirely new channel for discoveries about the universe.” Newsweek, The Washington Post and Reuters all looked to Hanna to explain the phenomenon.

-- Penn State researchers are working with the U.S. Navy to speed up their submarines. It’s easier to move through air than water, so the solution was to create an air bubble around the sub. Recent doctoral degree recipient Grant Skidmore calls the “bubble” a supercavitation: “Basically, supercavitation is used to significantly reduce drag and increase the speed of bodies in water.” The research team worked out all the problems on paper, including pulsation that could make the sub unstable. Then they tested it out in the Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel facility on campus. The Daily Mail, Popular Mechanics and Popular Science all covered the experiment, which might help submarines break the sound barrier underwater.

-- The International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy starts July 18 on the University Park campus. Just weeks before the event, National Geographic highlighted the research being done here to protect the pollinators. Director of the Center for Pollinator Research Christina Grozinger says, “Populations of many bee species are in decline across the world, and poor nutrition is thought to be a major factor causing these declines.” Entomology graduate student Anthony Vaudo led a study that proves bees are trying to eat healthy by choosing plants with the most nutritional pollen. “Our findings may guide the selection of plant-species for habitat restoration for bee conservation,” Vaudo says. “We could select the plant species that provide the nutritional resources that bees need and prefer so that we can improve bee survival, health, reproduction and the size of bee populations.”

These are just a few of the highlights. For more of Penn State’s experts’ appearances in the media, visit

Last Updated July 25, 2016