When COVID-19 shook the world at the start of 2020, eventually killing more than 900,000 people worldwide and shuttering economies, the Virginia Tech College of Science took action.

From providing new testing procedures to discussing economic repercussions to moving classes and labs from in-person to online to helping track data of the virus’ spread, Virginia Tech scientists — faculty, staff, students, and alumni — contributed. They moved quickly and without hesitation to solve problems, help those affected, and correct misinformation with data-based facts. These stories and more are covered in the 2020 Virginia Tech Science Magazine, which debuts this week.

It carries the theme “Science is more essential than ever” as doctors, data scientists, mathematicians, biologists, neuroscientists, and others across the college work to combat the deadly outbreak.

This year’s magazine has a limited print run, with efforts focusing on a digital version to save production costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cover story includes an overview of the College of Science’s reaction to the pandemic, including moving classes, labs, and events — such as the second annual Women in Data Science Blacksburg at Virginia Tech Conference – to online formats; research efforts from across the college by faculty, staff, and students; and the needed expertise of our faculty members by local and state health department officials and media outlets from around the globe.

Additional COVID-19-related stories include profiles of alumni, such as Joseph DeSimone of Carbon Inc. and a 1990 Ph.D. graduate of the Department of Chemistry, and science students Cameron Buck, Carolyn Pollock, and Jake Lavitt as they take action to fight the spread of the pandemic.

Also featured in the magazine are profiles of Class of 2020 graduates Amber Abbott, Lauren Haacke, London Hughes, and Astrid Meenan. The magazine also profiles the latest alumni to be inducted into the college’s Hall of Distinction, Colleen Kraft ’81 and Paul Laughton ’67.

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