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SAS Responds to Global Crisis with Expertise, Insight, and Inspiration

Rutgers University COVID-19 Updates

COVID 19 1x2 4 15 2020

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences has demonstrated the many ways in which a liberal arts institution contributes to the well-being of the world.

From scientists working to stop the virus, to literature scholars showing STEM students the societal impact of illness, to a museum reaching out to families with free, public programming, the articles below tell the story of Rutgers University's largest school—its faculty, staff, and students—responding to an unprecedented crisis. 

It is a response that stretches across the school’s academic spectrum and includes the natural and mathematical sciences, humanities and social and behavioral sciences.

The articles directly below are original stories produced by the School of Arts and Sciences Office of Communication and highlight the innovation, insight, and hard work across the Arts and Sciences community at Rutgers University–New Brunswick

The section SAS COVID Experts in the News showcase news stories in local, national, and international media that quote School of Arts and Sciences faculty or cite their research and teaching.


Arts and Sciences Scholars Win Research Grants to Study COVID-19

Biomedical and social science awards across chancellor units   The work of School of Arts and Sciences faculty members to study the coronavirus and understand its impact has garnered internal research awards from Rutgers University. The awards for biomedical and social science research were announced earlier this month by the Rutgers University Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. A total of 35 projects were selected from a pool of over 150 applications across all Chancellor’s...

Students Get a Lesson in “Writing After the End of the World”

Responding to the pandemic with stories, films, poetry, and art  Richard Miller came up with the memorable title for his undergraduate literature course long before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  But the global health crisis lent an eerie resonance this spring when the class—“Writing After the End of World”—made its debut as a Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Signature Course, and the virus hit home in New Jersey. For Miller, a professor of English who explores apocalyptic...

Physics Finds Ways to Fight COVID-19

Staffers switch on 3D printers, and free up CPU capacity With longtime staffers leading the way, the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University-New Brunswick has been contributing to the battle against COVID-19, producing materials for personal protective equipment (PPE) and providing valuable computing capacity to researchers seeking a cure for the virus. “I am proud of the way our staff has developed creative, collaborative ideas to support those on the front lines fighting and...

Grossman Prize will Support Research Aimed at Advancing Drug Development

Darrin York is the 2020 recipient  Darrin York, a Henry Rutgers University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, has received the second annual Grossman Innovation Prize from the School of Arts and Sciences. The prize, made possible through a gift from Rutgers alumnus Alan Grossman, provides financial support over a one-year period to faculty members developing innovative ideas with commercial potential. The support allows recipients to develop their work to the...

The Dark Side of Positive Thinking

Sociologist Karen Cerulo is known for research that examines people’s tendency toward blind optimism, and the consequences that result. Her work is particularly relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining why unwarranted optimism may have hindered the initial response to the virus, and could very well fuel a premature reopening of the economy.

Student Groups at Rutgers Find Ways to Connect During Lockdown

Student academic groups in the School of Arts and Sciences have been staying active and engaged, staging virtual events, and using chat apps, social media, and e-newsletters to keep members connected. Clubs in philosophy and cognitive science among others have helped students stay connected through the events they have managed to produce in these challenging times.

A Rutgers Alumnus Steps up to Support Students as Economy Worsens

With the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the economy, Rutgers University alumnus Larry Agron has stepped up to support School of Arts and Sciences students who face financial challenges. “We must stand firm in the face of adversity,” Agron said about the importance of alumni support at this difficult time, describing how important the liberal arts were to inspiring him on his life’s journey.

With Campus Quiet, Students Go Online to “Swap” Languages

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, students were meeting on campus for one-on-one language exchanges that draw from Rutgers’ linguistic diversity as part of an innovative one-credit initiative offered through the Language Engagement Project. Now these students, no longer able to meet in person, are continuing their exchanges and explorations online, building knowledge, awareness, and appreciation for languages through Rutgers' diverse culture.

Pandemic Provides Chilling Confirmation for Students Studying the Literature of Illness

The students who signed up for “Introduction to Health, Medicine, and Literature” this semester never expected an actual pandemic to disrupt their world and provide an all-too-real example of a “contagion narrative.” “Suddenly this isn’t something we’re reading in a book,” students say about AnnJurecic’sSpring 2020 humanities course which uncannily paralleled events in the real world, and made foran unforgettable learning experience.

A Veteran AIDS Researcher at Rutgers Joins the Battle Against Coronavirus 

Eddy Arnold has been engaged in the battle against HIV for more than three decades. Now this structural biologist is turning his attention to a new threat. Now feeling an eerily familiar sense of urgency as he watches the novel coronavirus spread around the world, infecting hundreds of thousands and sowing panic, fear, and confusion, this professor of chemistry and chemical biology has begun experiments related to the coronavirus.

As NJ Stays In, the Rutgers Geology Museum Reaches Out

In a typical year, the Rutgers Geology Museum opens its doors to school groups from districts throughout New Jersey. When the COVID-19 crisis forced schools to close, the museum’s staff took quick action and came up with an online Ask a Geologist! series that keeps kids engaged, and gives parents a breather. Meet Earth and Planetary graduate student Ria Sarkar, who delivered the first session, and the staff who on short notice produced this compelling program.

The View from the Virologist

Colm Atkins, a research associate and lab manager in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, is an expert on viruses. In an interview, he explains why the COVID-19 virus is not unprecedented, why it has infected more people than SARS and MERS viruses, and the outlook for a vaccine.

Despite Lockdown, Rutgers Students and their Japanese Counterparts Find Ways to Mark Historic Friendship

Rutgers is known as a diverse place. But not everyone knows Rutgers was one of the first American colleges to enroll Japanese nationals and that in Japan Rutgers graduates contributed to the nation's educational system. Big plans to celebrate the connection were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, Rutgers students held a first-ever joint video conference with their students in Japan, discussing their research and keeping the spirit of friendship alive.

In Small Class Setting, a Major Literary Figure Focuses on Students’ Stories

What was it like having Joyce Carol Oates as a creative writing professor? Oates joined the Department of English as a Visiting Distinguished Professor for the Spring 2020 semester. A first-hand account from students who were selected for the advanced fiction workshop with the renowned author shows the development and transformation of the course during a pandemic that moved the workshop on line.

Rutgers Senior with Rural Roots Addresses Problems on a Global Scale

Arden Benner was seeking a calling that would combine a deep reverence for the environment, an emphasis on public health, and a strong commitment to social justice. "Geography covers everything I am passionate about," says Benner, who also earned a minor in public health, and a certificate in geospatial information science, or GIS. 
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