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Top 20 in 2020: CAS Stories of Hope, Resilience, and Accomplishment

Top twenty bright College of Arts and Sciences moments this year

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By all accounts, 2020 has been an extraordinarily difficult year. We have faced a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 Americans, an economic crisis and millions of lost jobs, and a long-overdue national reckoning with our nation’s history of systemic violence and racism. For much of the school year, most of us lost the opportunity to come together in person on American University’s campus to learn together.

It has not been easy. But during the year, the AU community has exhibited incredible strength and resilience, stepped up to help people in need, fought for racial and social justice, and completely reinvented school during a global crisis. Our students and faculty have won academic awards, volunteered in their communities, written award-winning books, launched new programs, and used incredible creativity and innovation to stay engaged, connected, and learning—together.

20 Unique CAS Achievements in 2020

A student is excited to learn online

A New World of Learning this Fall

As AU goes online this fall, students will have lots of opportunities to perform virtually, become part of history by immersing themselves in current events, conduct experiments from home, build their technology skills for the future, and much more.

AU's new Hall of Sciences

Hall of Science Complete and Opening Doors

Light-filled building, filled with state-of-the-art laboratories, marks new era for science at AU.

Battelle-Tompkins Memorial Building

Banner Award Season for College of Arts and Sciences Students

Congratulations to the 2020 University Student Award Winners!

Cheldina Jean

Cheldina Jean Named 2020 President’s Award Winner

Cheldina Jean’s academic achievements, leadership, and passion for service led to the 2020 President’s Award, the highest distinction for an AU undergraduate.

Professor Malini Ranganathan of AU ARPC.

AU’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center Announces New Leadership

American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center appoints award-winning scholars Malini Ranganathan and Christine Platt to lead the Center as interim directors.

doctor holding a patient's hand

AU Public Health Students’ Work Continues Unabated

In the midst of the global pandemic crisis, fifty-seven AU public health students continue to support community public health organizations, ranging from the DC Department of Health to the American Heart Association.

Students line up to be served lunch at cafeteria

AU Providing Emergency Resources to DC Teachers and Children

As schools across DC faced long closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families worried about having enough food to eat. AU's Department of Health Studies is working to help.

data science chalkboard

AU Offers New BS in Data Science to Meet Soaring Demand

To prepare American University students to become the next generation of data scientists, the College of Arts and Sciences has launching a new BS degree in Data Science.

Jason Reynolds

Empowering Educators: A Critically Important Racial Equity Convening

Thousands of educators joined award-winning author Jason Reynolds and AU’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center last week to discuss the important issue of teaching children about race and social justice.

Allan Lichtman

How Did the Keys Turn?

AU’s Allan Lichtman defied pollsters and pundits to predict Donald Trump’s 2016 victory based on his “13 Keys.” He’s been right in every presidential election since 1984. He’s back to predict 2020.

Singers use JackTrip with Zoom to sing synchronously

Chamber Singers Performance a Technological and Artistic Triumph

STEM becomes STEAM as technology makes synchronous performance possible in triumphant performance.

A student poses with a laptop that is displaying their research poster

First-Ever Virtual Mathias Conference Winners Announced

The winners were announced for a very special Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ most important forums for students to present their scholarship and creative work.

Day of Service in Rendville, Ohio, with the Rendville Historic Preservation Society and the Southeast Ohio History Center. Mia Owens works with a Rendville resident to digitize documents and photographs. Credit: Ohio History Service Corps.

Fellowship Created for Studying History of Slavery in Washington, DC

Mia Owens is the inaugural fellow for a new, two-year Public History Graduate Fellowship in the History of Slavery and Its Legacies in Washington, DC.

Dan Myers, Sophia Vos, and Mary Clark

American University Named a Top-Producing Institution for Fulbright US Students

American University was named one of the nation’s leading universities and colleges for Fulbright US Students.

author face

No Visible Bruises: Rachel Louise Snyder’s NY Times Top Ten Book

The latest book by Rachel Louise Snyder named NYT Top Ten Book. Snyder is an AU professor and the nation’s leading writer on domestic violence.

A group of AU students at Google

New MA Degree Combines Literature, Culture, and Technology

AU has launched an exciting, forward-looking new graduate degree: an MA in Literature, Culture, and Technology, combining literary and cultural studies, cinema, and writing, along with digital technology and coding.

Cross-section of a brain

AU Launches New Neuroscience Department

This summer, American University launched a new Department of Neuroscience under the leadership of Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience Terry Davidson.

Many different people without faces

AU Launches New Department of Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies

Department poised at the forefront of inclusive excellence at American University

Mother and son with box

Professor Delivers 200,000+ Pieces of PPE to Desperate Hospitals

In just six weeks, Trina Ulrich collected and delivered more than 200,000 pieces of desperately needed (PPE) to doctors and nurses across the nation.


AU Public Health Scholars “Go Inside the Outbreak”

AU Public Health Scholars Director Melissa Hawkins designed last summer’s Emerging Issues in Public Health Seminar class to focus solely on the pandemic—even as events were unfolding in real time.