Alyssa LaFaro

On any given day, Alyssa can be found photographing the effects of climate change, digging up long-lost information in the University Archives, or writing furiously in her Bynum Hall office. As the editor of Endeavors, she’s mastered the art of “wearing many hats.” When she’s not behind a camera or a computer, she’s meeting regularly with communicators, students, and faculty from across campus to learn about the latest research projects and unlock new opportunities for collaboration.

Posts by Alyssa LaFaro:

Spiritual Evolution

Through study of a “new” Japanese religion called Tenrikyo and centuries of Japanese history, PhD student Timothy Smith strives to understand how cultural shifts morph belief systems across generations.

A Public Health Prognosis

Graduate student Rachel Woodul spent two years researching what might happen to hospital capacity when the next pandemic strikes. When it arrived, she compared what her model — and others’ — got wrong to improve how we react to public health crises in the future.

Unearthing the Planet’s History

About 2 billion years ago, the oceans were green, the land red and rocky, and only 1 percent of Earth’s atmosphere was oxygen. How did the planet become what it is today? UNC geochemist Xiao-Ming Liu collects samples of soil, rocks, and water from places like Hawaii to find the answer.

The Life Botanic

Alan Weakley has spent his career cataloguing the plants of the Southeastern United States. Most recently, he has compiled this work into a digital guide that will aid fellow botanists and citizen scientists alike as they unearth and admire the colorful flora of the South.

Building Resilience for Storm-Battered N.C.

The record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season included 30 storms, and while North Carolina managed to dodge the 12 hurricanes that made landfall, that won’t always be the case in the future. A team of interdisciplinary researchers at UNC is combining their expertise in areas like human health, ecology, and urban planning to create a long-term holistic plan helping vulnerable communities prepare for the next generation of extreme weather events.

The Invisible Chase

Just over 100 years ago, physicists stumbled upon an elementary particle that could answer questions about the origin of the universe. Elusive and nearly massless, neutrinos may be the solution to understanding everything from the Big Bang to the inner workings of the atomic nucleus — and UNC physicist Julieta Gruszko can’t stop chasing them.

Cooperation Over Competition

Flocks of birds. Schools of fish. Colonies of ants. Their strength is in numbers as they can fend off larger predators, move faster, and mate more easily. Daphne Klotsa, an applied physicist, studies how these biological swarms function in hopes to improve how humans and automated technologies navigate the world.

Mad About Media

Alice Marwick learned how to code when she was 11 and began working in the tech industry at 19. After the dot-com bubble burst, she realized she could combine her passion for technology with her love for social science in a graduate program. Now, the UNC communications professor researches disinformation and privacy, two of the most pressing issues in the world of media ethics.

A Seat at the Table

State legislatures drive decisions about public education, social welfare, taxation, and infrastructure, so diverse representation within them matters. About 24 percent of North Carolina state legislators are women, 22 percent are Black, and zero are Latino — numbers that, if increased, could drastically change the way we make decisions that impact such groups, according to UNC political scientist Christopher Clark.