Nels Elde discusses his MacArther Fellowship on the University of Utah's Facebook Page via Zoom

The Year in “zUUm” Talks

At the start of 2020, many out there thought of Robert Redford’s old restaurant in Park City when the term “Zoom” was used as a noun. Of course today, there is only one Zoom we think of, whether it’s used as a noun, verb (let’s Zoom tonight) or adjective (we’re throwing a Zoom party). It’s ubiquity in the age of Covid-19 is deserved, as it has proven to be an effective tool in bringing people together when they physically can’t be together. And for the University of Utah, it’s been a great platform to discuss ideas and innovations and to communicate pertinent information. Not to mention the irresistible U of U pun opportunity—zUUm Talks.

Check on your U Crew

The COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest in light of the George Floyd murder presented a vast range of challenges to our nation, the world and the U community. Under the leadership of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, #CheckOnYourCrew, an outreach campaign promoting the university resources available during these trying times. Each month, various themes were highlighted, like in August when VP for Student Affairs Lori McDonald, Student Health Services Director Mark Pfitzner and others provided tips on preparing for a semester like no other.

COVID-19 testing device the size of a quarter

In May, Professor Massood Tabib-Azar began developing a standalone device that can be connected to a cellphone to test for #COVID19. We sat down with him to discuss how the technology works and the current state of the project.

Juneteenth Discussion

Jason Ramirez, the dean of students, and Bryan Hubain, the vice president for student development & inclusion, discussed the history and present-day impact of Juneteenth.

A discussion on race and racism in the United States

Hosted by the University of Utah Alumni Association, College of Law Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner and College of Social Work Dean Martell Teasley discuss race and racism in the United States with a special eye toward recent events.

Hosting the Vice Presidential Debate

President Ruth Watkins, Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairman Frank Fahrenkopf and the U’s VP for Government Relations and Hinckley Institute of Politics director Jason Perry talked about the importance and impact of hosting the Vice Presidential Debate.

Previewing the 2020 election

University Communications director Chris Nelson previewed the 2020 election and recapped the Vice Presidential debate with KUER political reporter Sonja Hutson and ABC 4 Utah‘s Glen Mills.

MacArthur Genius Grant winner Nels Elde

Nels Elde, an evolutionary geneticist at the U, discusses receiving the internationally renowned MacArthur Foundation Fellowship—known as the “genius grant,” a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals—and the research that earned him such an honor.

Research on the inequities COVID-19 poses

Daniel Mendoza, a professor in Atmospheric Sciences and a visiting professor in City & Metropolitan Planning talks about his research this summer that demonstrated how minority and less affluent communities were more impacted by the pandemic based on the minimal impact on traffic and significantly higher COVID-19 rates.

University of Utah’s Covid-19 testing and contact tracing plan

Dr. Richard Orlandi, chief medical officer for University of Utah Health Ambulatory Services, and Dr. Sharon Talboys, a public health professor with the School of Medicine discuss the testing and contact tracing plan for the University community.

Coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic

Student peer health educators with the Center for Student Wellness discuss ways to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. They also talked through everyday scenarios and strategies in coping with the pandemic.

Expanding access to education

Deborah Keyek-Franssen, vice president and dean of Continuing and Online Education talked about expanding access to education throughout the State of Utah and how the U is helping put Utahns back to work.

New exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Jason Cryan, the new director of the Natural History Museum of Utah, talked about the new Antarctic Dinosaurs exhibit, the virtual Behind-the-Scenes event with actor Ty Burrell and the COVID-19 safety measures in place at the museum.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts reopens

Gretchen Dietrich, director of the UMFA, sat down to about the changes to the museum when it reopened in August.