Top 10 stories of 2014

2014: Earthquake Engineering's cool building, a student's triumph and renowned Shakespeare expertise

Earthquake Engineering Lab

Senior Ivon Padilla-Rodriguez's story of personal resilience and academic triumph drew the attention of the entire country.

Top 10 stories of 2014

2014: Earthquake Engineering's cool building, a student's triumph and renowned Shakespeare expertise

Senior Ivon Padilla-Rodriguez's story of personal resilience and academic triumph drew the attention of the entire country.

Earthquake Engineering Lab

Senior Ivon Padilla-Rodriguez's story of personal resilience and academic triumph drew the attention of the entire country.

World-improving research.

Student success.

World-renowned faculty.

Or, put another way, an $18 million earthquake engineering expansion was completed and was noted the world over.

A young woman from Las Vegas became the toast of the University and to college students everywhere as her many academic and community accomplishments garnered national attention.

A longtime University English Professor further established his already exceptional bona fides as one of the world's foremost experts on Shakespeare.

And these three stories were only the tip of the University's news cycle for 2014. At no time in recent memory were the achievements of University faculty, staff and students more front and center on national and worldwide stages than during the past 12 months.

Here is a look at the Top 10 Stories of 2014, as selected by members of the University's Marketing & Communications department:

No. 1: University's new Earthquake Engineering Lab celebrates grand opening.

In late June, the College of Engineering hosted the grand opening of its new Earthquake Engineering Laboratory. The new lab, combined with the adjacent Large-Scale Structures Laboratory, comprises the biggest, most versatile, large-scale structures earthquake/seismic engineering facility in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

No. 2: Student's perseverance, academic success and civic-engagement spark national recognition; Ivon Padilla-Rodriguez named Truman Scholar and Glamour magazine's list of 10 Top College Women of 2014.

From homelessness in high school to a stellar and historic career as an undergraduate student at the University, senior Ivon Padilla-Rodriguez's story has been one of constant achievement. 2014 included the news that she had been awarded a Truman Scholarship, and had been named one of the Top 10 College Women in the nation by Glamour magazine. If that wasn't enough, Padilla-Rodriguez capped her year with the news that she had been named a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.

No. 3: University professor verifies first folio of Shakespeare; set to curate 2016 British exhibit.

It is a testimony to the reputation of English Professor Eric Rasmussen, who has been recognized for several years as one of the world's foremost experts on Shakespeare, that as the world approaches the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in April 2016, it is Rasmussen who has been asked to curate the British Library's Shakespeare's exhibition, which will run from April through Sept. 2016. Rasmussen was also asked to verify a first folio Shakespeare work in France - at the same Saint-Omer Library where there is a Gutenberg Bible.

No. 4: University welcomes largest student population ever.

The University continued its impressive gains in student enrollment, topping out at a record fall enrollment in September of 19,934 students.

No. 5: NAASIC to spur autonomous systems development, receives $3 million state funding.

In many ways, the University's engagement with the community and the state has never been more interwoven. One of the most tangible examples of the increased connectivity between the campus and the state occurred in early October, when it was announced that $3 million from the Governor's Office of Economic Development Knowledge Fund would help in the formation of NAASIC, the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center. The goal behind NAASIC: the creation of unique industry-university partnerships to commercialize technologies in the increasing important and emerging autonomous systems industry.

No. 6: University leaders applaud Tesla Gigafactory decision.

The historic news in early September that Tesla Motors would construct its "gigafactory" for the production of lithium-ion batteries in northern Nevada was one that was widely applauded. University leaders were mobilized quickly and early in the process to explain the significant implications for the campus, its faculty and students, as well as for the region and future economic development.

No. 7: The DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library named one of the most interesting makerspaces in America.

One of the University's greatest selling points in recent years has been the unique and interesting use of space in order to create more of a "high-tech, high-touch" feel for the campus' learning experience. The DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library, long one of the institution's most compelling spots, was honored over the summer for its ability to lead the way in creating makerspace with 3D scanning and printing resources. No surprise, then, that "Make Magazine" named the DeLaMare one of its most interesting makerspaces in America.

No. 8: Concrete Canoe Team wins Nationals; team of 16 engineering students dominates championship canoe competition.

In a year of student national championships, the Concrete Canoe Team's national championship win in Johnstown, Pa., was one that was recognized by all on campus as a singular accomplishment. The team of 16 civil engineering students carried on a tradition of excellent finishes. It was the University's second national win, and the ninth year in a row the College of Engineering's students have qualified for the national championship (with a top-five finish every year since 2007).

No. 9: Elusive dark matter may be detected with GPS satellites; University physicist proposes new method in Nature Physics article.

University physicist Andrei Derevianko and a colleague have proposed a method for a dark-matter search with GPS satellites and other atomic clock networks that compares times from the clocks and looks for discrepancies.

No. 10: University psychology researchers awarded illusion of the year, tops the international competition with the Dynamic Ebbinghaus illusion.

The University has been building strength in the Integrative Neurosciences field in recent years, and its growing depth in the emerging field was evident with an important international award in July. Graduate psychology student Christopher Blair presented the Dynamic Ebbinghaus Illusion at the 10th annual Best Illusion of the Year contest, hosted by the Neural Correlate Society. The illusion was named the 2014 Best Illusion of the Year. Visual illusions contribute to the understanding of the basic mechanisms of sensory perception. It was the third time in the past four years that the University had placed in the Top 10 in the competition.

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