While Oklahoma and most of America has been in some form of lockdown over the past two months, Italy implemented one of the strictest versions in the world and did it earlier than most nations. That country has now begun easing restrictions, but we spoke with OSU art history alumna Lora Webb when they were still in place. She is in Italy working toward a Ph.D. from Stanford. Lora published a letter in the Oklahoman urging her home state to shut down to save lives, just as Italy did. We spoke about that, how her experience compares to what we are seeing in Oklahoma, and why her research area makes some people uncomfortable.

Many graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19. One example is Dr. Corby Smithton, a biology and zoology graduate who went on to earn his medical degree from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. His wife, Colbi, is another CAS and OSU med graduate. They are both providers at Stillwater Family Care, where they are seeing patients who have, or think they have, COVID-19. Corby Smithton joined us to talk about what that experience is like, what he expects to see as we continue to face this pandemic, and why CAS graduates are key to pulling us out of this situation.

Countless college seniors suddenly and unexpectedly saw their undergraduate experiences end due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One such graduating senior is Chapman Howard, a mathematics and mechanical engineering major from Tulsa. He was named an Outstanding Senior by the OSU Alumni Association and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics next fall. But first, he joins us to talk about how he is doing, what he is doing, and how he has done so much over the past four years.


The COVID-19 pandemic feels unique, but human history is littered with epidemics and pandemics. Among them is the Black Death, which killed tens of millions in the mid-14th century. History professor Emily Graham joins us to compare and contrast the modern and medieval pandemics and also reminds us how these dark times reveal so much inherent goodness in people.

Sociology professors Duane Gill and Liesel Ritchie are partners in research and marriage. Their research focuses on the sociological impact of disasters and extreme events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and oil spills. They join us to discuss how the current COVID-19 pandemic compares to other extreme events, whether people from a particular area are more helpful than others in times of crisis, and how we develop resilience for the next time something bad happens.



As OSU continues to adjust to online classes in response to COVID-19, we talk remotely with Dr. Caitlin Barnes, the CAS Assistant Director of Outreach, about the unique challenges and opportunities of this historic transition. We also discuss web-based resources available to students and faculty, the new CAS coronavirus website and how distance learning could alter the future of higher education for the better.

Other resources:

Jaclyn Cosgrove is a 2009 journalism alumna and a reporter for the L.A. Times. She joins us to talk about how covering the COVID-19 epidemic is similar to her past experiences covering tornadoes in Oklahoma, except that she is working from home rather than on the scene. We also cover why she thinks it is so important to continue finding joy even in the midst of a dark and difficult time for America.

We are all dealing with a sense of uncertainty and fear as we try to flatten the curve of COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, we are joined by Thad Leffingwell, a clinical health psychologist and head of the Department of Psychology. We discuss his tips for coping with coronavirus challenges, what the human mind is good at and how that leads to some of our biggest problems, and how teaching online is going for him.

While we are working remotely to try to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases, we wanted to share this episode recorded in the studio on March 6. Matt Cabeen from the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics joins us to talk about the novel coronavirus and viruses more broadly as well as bacteria. His passion for the subject is obvious, and there are even a few explanations of the immune system you have probably never heard before.

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