Professors make splash as media experts

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Houston-
University of Houston faculty members are fast becoming hurricane media pundits.

FOX26 Hurricane Briefings:

UH Expert Appearances

Jay Neal
Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management lecturer
Fox News
Lloyd Pate
Clinical associate professor of optometry
Fox News
Dan Jones
Executive professor in the Bauer College of Business
Fox News
Don Van Niuewenhuise
Director of professional geoscience programs
Fox News
Bob Schneller
Director of environmental health and risk management
Fox News
James Lawrence
Associate professor of geosciences
Fox News
Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Chairman
Scheduled to appear Sept. 19
Bill Dupre
Associate professor of geosciences
Scheduled to appear Oct. 3
May Woo
Clinical assistant professor of pharmacy
Scheduled to appear Oct. 17
Hanadi Rifai
Professor of civil and environmental engineering
Scheduled to appear Oct. 31
Don Van Niuewenhuise
Director of professional geoscience programs
or
John Bowen
Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management dean
Pending: Nov. 14 and Nov. 28


UH’s Office of University Communication has developed and distributed to the press a tip sheet listing various faculty members who are experts on hurricanes or hurricane-related issues.

That tip sheet led to Fox 26, KRIV-TV, scheduling interviews with a total of 12 UH experts. Six have appeared so far, and the remaining faculty members will follow before the end of hurricane season in November.

“The professors from UH have allowed us to cover a broad range of hurricane-related subjects with expert analysis, and our viewers have responded very favorably to the information provided,” said Mike Iscovitz, Fox 26 meteorologist.

“A doctor from the College of Optometry (Dr. Lloyd Pate) raised the issue of hurricane evacuees who had no glasses and couldn’t see,” Iscovitz said. “That prompted us to advise our viewers to take an extra pair of glasses and to carry a copy of their prescription with them if they were to evacuate. We also tackled the issue of food safety after a storm and how food kept off temperature can cause serious illness.”

Iscovitz said the atmospheric science professors here have done impressive work.

“Jim Lawrence (associate professor of geosciences) has been working on some unique and innovative research into hurricanes,” Iscovitz said. “His research on the salinity of hurricane rainwater may soon help us to better predict when a hurricane is going through a strengthening phase.”

Another faculty member who was a Fox 26 hurricane expert was Donald Van Nieuwenhuise, director of professional geoscience programs. His research includes global warming’s links to larger more frequent hurricanes – and their effects on Galveston’s beaches.

Being a hurricane authority is an important responsibility for Van Nieuwenhuise, so when reporters ask for interviews, he responds.

“It is a great opportunity to publicly express what you know as a scientist,” he said. “There are a lot of qualified scientists in universities around the country who are aware of these problems but do not often get the opportunity to tell the public.”

Regarding his recent experience with Fox 26, Van Nieuwenhuise said the interview “went really well. I discussed one of my new research studies, and it was exciting to then see him (Iscovitz) go back and report my research.”

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