How the campus is coping with the coronavirus crisis

Kaela Hamilton ’20 presented her senior thesis research in biology in late April from a room in her boyfriend’s house in Tempe, Ariz. Using her laptop and Google Meet software, she showed a series of slides about her research on the composition and distribution of epiphytes on bigleaf maple trees while her advisor, Assistant Professor Carrie Woods, and about two dozen faculty members and students watched from their respective homes. After the talk, audience members popped up on the screen, one at a time, to ask their questions—including a man named Ken, who asked whether certain environmental conditions could have affected differences in epiphyte community structure between trees. Hamilton paused a moment, then said, “That’s a good question, Dad.”

If this were a normal year, Hamilton would have been giving her senior thesis presentation in person, in Thompson Hall. And if her parents had wanted to see it, they would have had to fly up from their home in Phoenix. But this is not a normal year.