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20 Stories from 2020

December 2020
montage of photos from 2020


In many ways, 2020 is a year we’d like to forget. Yet despite this year’s challenges, there have been bright moments in the College of Arts & Sciences. Faculty, staff, and students spent long hours making protective equipment for health care workers. Faculty found creative ways to provide meaningful and engaging online learning opportunities for their students. Faculty also shared their expertise to help combat the coronavirus, reflect on racial justice, and make sense of a contentious election.

Here are 20 stories from 2020 that feature the dedication of Arts & Sciences faculty, staff, students, and alumni:


A Course on Plagues Hits Home

Anthropology professor Steven Goodreau's "Plagues and Peoples" course took on heightened relevance when the coronavirus emerged.


Zooming into Sex Ed

A psychology course on human sexuality is the largest UW class — ever. Revising the content has been a journey.


Politics and Race: Faculty Perspectives on the George Floyd Protests

Political Science faculty reflect on the George Floyd protests in a series of essays.


Explore Printmaking From Your Kitchen

A popular new printmaking course, created during the pandemic, turns students’ kitchens into printmaking studios.


Graduate student making PPE with 3D printers

Graduate student Nick Durand makes several headbands for face shields simultaneously at The 8, a makerspace shared by DXARTS, the College of Engineering, and UW Housing & Food Services. Media credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington

Protecting Lives with 3D Printers

Arts & Sciences departments have used their 3D printers to create protective equipment for health care workers.


Meet the Real-Life Kraken: The Octopus 

Seattle’s new hockey team is named for a legendary creature of the sea, and that’s a perfect fit, according to David Gire, octopus researcher and assistant professor of psychology.


Making Music — at a Distance

They can't perform together on stage right now, but members of the UW Wind Ensemble are still making music. 


Connecting Communities with Health Care 

Concerned about the lack of health coverage for undocumented individuals, UW senior Marium Raza is taking action.


Cathy Allen and Randy Pepple, in partisan face masks, stand back to back.

Republican strategist Randy Pepple and Democratic strategist Cathy Allen co-teach a UW course on modern political campaigns. Media credit: Corinne Thrash

Mixing Politics & Friendship

Strategists on opposite sides of the political aisle co-teach a course on political campaigns. Good thing they're close friends.


The Language of the Land

UW lecturer Tami Hohn is bringing Southern Lushootseed to a new generation across the UW and Puget Sound — where the language has always lived.


A Place for History

As chief historian for the National Park Service, Turkiya Lowe (PhD, History, 2010) helps bring history to life.


Translating a Crisis

As a UW undergrad, Amanda Doxtater fell in love with the Swedish book Kris (Crisis). As a UW professor, she completed its first translation into English. 


Louis Maliyam leaping in front of Suzzallo Library.

UW undergraduate Louis Maliyam, a dance and computer science major.

A Body in Motion

Louis Maliyam, '21, came to the U.S. for computer science — and along the way discovered dance. Maliyam's academic journey was supported by UW donors.


‘2020: The Course’ Ponders the Meaning of This Unusual Year

“2020: The Course” helped contextualize 2020’s extraordinary events and challenges through lectures presented by faculty from across the UW.


Wildness in urban parks important for human well-being

A new study from the University of Washington has found that experiencing wild nature is important for personal well-being, especially for those who live in cities. 


Stuck at Home? What to Read Right Now

Ready to curl up with a good book? Five faculty in the Department of English offer recommendations.


UW student Ayan Hassan on campus

UW alumna Ayan Hassan (2012, 2016) applied to the University thanks to an outreach program at the UW Alene Moris Women's Center, and now volunteers for the program.. Media credit: Chloe Collyer

A Twist of Fate 

Ayan Hassan’s life was changed by the Making Connections program at the Alene Moris Women’s Center — and then saved by one of the program’s founders.


A Gift for Language

A love of languages and a long career with the CIA inspired Helen Louise Noyes (BA, 1969) to support UW students studying challenging languages. 


National Academies publishes guide to help public officials make sense of COVID-19 data

Adrian Raftery, professor of statistics and sociology, explains how different sets of facts and figures about COVID-19 can paint different pictures of the pandemic. 


Video: Students create videos, capping new UW class on music as a form of protest

Students create videos, capping a UW class taught by anthropology lecturer Graham Pruss on music as a form of protest.