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:

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.

Helping the Hardest Hit

While the novel coronavirus has affected us all, it has drastically changed the lives of specific groups of people, from rural populations to long-term care residents to communities of color. Startling statistics among these groups have pushed UNC researchers from a variety of disciplines into action.

Carolina’s Coronavirus Lab

UNC virologists Timothy Sheahan and Ralph Baric have been working around the clock to develop new treatments and vaccines to fight the novel coronavirus. In this Q&A, Sheahan discusses current projects, new discoveries, and the challenges that come with studying a virus like SARS-CoV-2.

Food Fights

Food is so much more than what we eat, nourishing us beyond our bodies. This sentiment lies at the core of PhD student K.C. Hysmith’s research. She studies the deeply ingrained cultural meaning of food, unpacking how it affects class, gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

Expecting the Unexpected

After Myron Cohen watched the first patient at UNC Hospitals die from AIDS in 1982, he knew it was a disease to be reckoned with. He spent the next 40 years helping to recruit the most promising infectious disease experts from across the nation to build a program that’s become a leader in HIV. Today, UNC excels in understanding all aspects of HIV, from prevention to a potential cure — expertise that is now being used to tackle COVID-19.

Seth Noar

Seth Noar is a professor within the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and a researcher at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He studies how people can effectively use communication to change behavior and improve health.