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:

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.

An Active Storm Season

June 1 marked the start of the 2020 hurricane season — and it’s slated to be an active one. In this Q&A, UNC researcher Rick Luettich talks about this year’s above-average hurricane forecast, the impact these storms have on inland populations, and how COVID-19 may affect vulnerable communities.

For the Love of Language

Since 1984, over 100,000 Karen refugees have fled their homeland of Myanmar to escape civil war. Since then, more than 40,000 have resettled in the U.S., and more than 5,000 live in North Carolina. Such displacement greatly affects lives, and even language — within just three generations their native tongue is barely spoken. Linguistics PhD students Amy Reynolds and Jen Boehm strive to understand this shift and hope to preserve the Karen people’s histories in the process.

Crescendos of Creativity

Give Marc Callahan an opera and, in return, you’ll get an explosion of color, empathy, and sound — and a bit of mid-century flare snuck in for good measure. As the director of UNC Opera, Callahan teaches his students and audiences that this age-old art form offers so much more than singing on a stage: It’s a craft that requires creative research and a team of people to bring it to life.

Machine Morality

As machines become more autonomous, humans must define the limits of their decision-making. UNC postdoctoral researcher Yochanan Bigman addresses this topic, suggesting where to draw the line when self-governing technology is required to make life-or-death decisions.

Navigating Ethics in Animal Research

How do people distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong in the world of animal research? It’s not simple, says UNC bioethicist Rebecca Walker. Like most complex issues, this topic has a lot of gray areas — which Walker explores using the ancient philosophical approach called virtue ethics.

Boosting Teen Spirit

More than 13 percent of U.S. teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 experience a major depressive episode, which can follow them into adulthood. How can families protect their teens’ mental health as they grow? More fun and family time are just a few ways, according to researchers from the UNC Carolina Population Center.

Self-Care Success at Work

American work culture can be demanding and intense — so much so that people often put their jobs before their physical and emotional needs. But taking care of ourselves makes us better workers and improves how companies function, according to organizational behavior professor Mike Christian.

Mastering Mandarin for Business

With nearly 1 billion speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. That’s almost 15 percent of the global population — and why UNC Asian studies professor Yi Zhou has spent the past decade teaching advanced Mandarin courses to undergraduate and MBA students.