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Media Advisory-Faculty Experts

What: Beyond the Blue website offers expert resources for media
Who: Boise State faculty researchers

More than 20 Boise State faculty members have now been featured at, Boise State’s award-winning website of podcast presentations on a wide range of interesting topics. Feel free to rely on them as experts for your stories, as well. A new podcast is added each week.

Here are some examples of timely and relevant topics:

Sarah Toevs, or (208) 426-2452

Look Who’s Turning 65: Aging in America
About 10,000 people will turn 65 years of age in the United States every day for the next 19 years. Toevs discusses the impact of this demographic shift on our American way of life. She examines how changes in the ratio of workers to retirees will impact the sustainability of Social Security and create a drain on resources critical to elder care, as well as the opportunities created by emphasizing prevention, health promotion and personal responsibility.

Amy Moll, or (208) 426-5719
Living in a Materials World: The Science Behind Stuff
Materials matter to all of us. Moll explains how everyday objects are made of materials designed to have specific properties and perform in certain ways. From the mundane (shower curtains, cooking pans, roof shingles) to the extraordinary (aircraft engines, artificial organs), materials impact all aspects of our life. Moll can reveal the secrets of how, for instance, materials science and engineering have made your smart phone possible.

Jeffrey Wilhelm, or (208) 426-7077
Let Them Read Trash: The Power of Marginalized Texts
Are books such as vampire novels, mysteries, and fantasy “real” literature?  Do they have a place in the education of today’s children? Wilhelm reviews some highlights from a current study about how passionate adolescent readers of non-traditional texts (such as graphic novels, manga, series books, video game novels, narrative video games, dystopian, vampire, horror and fantasy narratives) engage with such texts.  He explores the deep psychological needs, satisfactions and uses these readers have for such texts, and the implications for psychological development, reading, and learning inside and outside of school.

Hans-Peter Marshall, or (208) 426-1416
Researching Snow: More Than Just Hitting the Slopes
Everyone has heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Marshall describes snow as one of the most dynamic and variable materials on earth, and this variability leads to complicated and interesting problems for snow avalanche predictions and hydrologic science. His work focuses on improving tools for measuring snowpack and the pattern of snow distribution.

Nancy Napier, or (208) 426-1314
Effective Use of Creativity and Innovation
How can organizations use creativity and innovation to boost performance? Napier shares insight gained from her research into that question. Her book, “The Creative Discipline” (2008) examines diverse organizations – from theater to software to football – to identify common creativity characteristics, while “Insight” (2010) shows how to encourage aha moments, which help speed learning and problem solving.

Heidi Reeder, or (208) 426-2404
The Meaning of Attraction in Male-Female Friendship
According to the storyline of many films and TV shows, men and women can never be friends because they will always end up romantically involved. Reeder set out to research whether this is true, based on the experience of actual friends. She can discuss the four types of attraction that can occur in various friendships — friendship attraction, romantic attraction, subjective physical/sexual attraction and objective physical/sexual attraction — as well as how those forms of attraction can change over time.

Jonathan Brendefur, or (208) 426-2468
Spatial Reasoning and the Mathematical Mind
Most people believe that mathematics is numbers, symbols and notations. Brendefur explains that mathematics also is about spatial reasoning — the ability to visually manipulate stimuli, to break apart and put together 2D and 3D shapes, to take these ideas and twist and turn them or to not be confused when an object’s orientation changes. This ability is one of the best predictors of later success in mathematics.

Gary Moncrief, or (208) 426-3686

Congressional Redistricting: How the Process Works
Reapportionment and redistricting are integral, and often controversial, components of the American political process. Moncrief discusses the important terminology and theories involved, as well as the history of redistricting in the United States, and how redistricting issues are different in various regions of the country.

Will Hughes, or (208) 426-4859
The Future of DNA Nanotechnology
From a biological perspective, DNA is the language for life.  But what may be less widely known is DNA’s potential as a programmable building block at the nanoscale. Hughes discusses DNA’s potential as an engineering material for building structural scaffolds for nanoelectronic devices and biochemical tools for diagnosing disease.

Cindy Clark, or (208) 426-3589
Why Civility Matters
Incivility in American society is on the rise and rude and disruptive behavior is increasing in colleges and universities. Incivility can take on many forms — from subtle behaviors such as eye-rolling and arm-crossing to overt expressions of incivility like bullying, taunting and intimidation. Clark, founder of Civility Matters, provides an overview of incivility in nursing education.

For more information, please contact Sherry Squires, University Communications, at (208) 426-1563 or; or Dave Harbison, University Communications, at (208) 426-1426 or

About Boise State University
As an emerging metropolitan research university of distinction, Boise State University plays a crucial role in the region’s economic development and famed quality of life. Idaho’s largest institution of higher education offers nearly 200 degrees and certificates in seven colleges. While remaining committed to the strong teaching legacy that has resulted in 11 Idaho Professor of the Year awards since 1990, Boise State’s added emphasis on innovation and creativity is fueling the fastest growing research program in Idaho.

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