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Letter from the Editor

Farah Hussaini introduces the 2021 edition of Catalyst

Dear Readers,

It is an honour to introduce the 2021 edition of Catalyst, American University’s annual science magazine, written and edited by students. An essential component of almost all chemical reactions, a catalyst increases the rate of a reaction without itself undergoing any permanent changes. I’ve found that the AU community functions in a similar way - we chase innovation without losing sight of who we are. Our core values remain constant while we engage in a rapidly changing world with tenacity, perseverance, and courage.

Changemakers at heart, the AU science community has thrived this year with groundbreaking projects in cancer biology, microplastic research, astrophysics, tree phenology, and more. The transition to in-person learning was a highlight as well. My favourite part? Our new Hall of Science which was once empty classrooms is now a lively hub of students and faculty, with organic chemistry reactions and amino acid structures drawn all over the whiteboard walls.

Naturally, the transition to in-person learning invoked many questions. How do we teach labs online in an effective manner? How has COVID impacted carbon emissions on campus? What have our successes and setbacks been during the pandemic? This issue of Catalyst answers all of these questions, giving you a glimpse into the sciences at AU.

STEM students at AU are truly a catalyst for meaningful change. Through the lens of science, we hope Catalyst inspires you to seek innovation, connection, and hope in these unprecedented times.


Farah Hussaini
BS Biology ‘23
Student Editor of Catalyst