Published February 2, 2021
As the university community mourns the loss of one of its most innovative members, it also contemplates the profound political and economic challenges facing our nation. Rutgers experts appear across the media landscape to provide fresh perspective on the issues, while others are featured as newsmakers themselves.
A New York Times obituary of Rutgers scientist Andrew Brooks, who pioneered saliva-based coronavirus testing and who passed away January 23, leaves no question as to the importance of his contribution: “In the 10 months since Dr. Brooks received approval, health care workers have performed more than four million tests using his approach, and it remains one of the most reliable means of determining whether someone has the coronavirus.” The article also quotes Jay Tischfield, one of Brooks’ colleagues at Rutgers, who says Brooks “was a force of nature.”
The New York Times | Andrew Brooks, Who Developed a Coronavirus Spit Test, Dies at 51
As U.S. cities and states race to help citizens avoid being evicted from their homes, they face some great unknowns, writes Peter Hepburn, an assistant professor of sociology in an op-ed he cowrote for The New York Times. “Entire states, as well as vast swaths of others, lack eviction data crucial to answering basic questions: How many households are evicted each year? Why are those people being evicted? How much back rent is due in these cases? Which neighborhoods are hardest hit?”
The New York Times | The Black Hole at the Heart of the Eviction Crisis
Some people who thought they had their careers all mapped out have been thrown for a loop by the pandemic, and many are taking on completely different vocations to stay afloat, reports NBC News. “Making transitions can be difficult in the best of times, and in a pandemic that has caused so much economic uncertainty, all the more so,” says Maria Heidkamp, director of the New Start Career Network at Rutgers’ John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.
In an op-ed in The Hill, Michael Merrill predicts that a second impeachment of Donald Trump will go nowhere and instead proposes a Watergate-style commission to settle the election fraud debate and bring about national unity. “A balanced, bipartisan national commission of respected leaders, who can help the country sort through its passions to find a reasonable path forward, is the appropriate venue for such a process,” says Merrill, a lecturer in the School of Management and Labor Relations. “It could help to deliver the national healing we need and the more perfect union the Framers had in mind.”
Five years ago, Rutgers student Sean Kelly founded Jersey Champs, an online business selling sports- and rapper-themed attire, in his dorm room. Forbes recently interviewed Kelly to learn how he made the company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise, and—when the pandemic struck—how he transitioned to helping healthcare clients navigate difficult PPE supply chains. Kelly explains why he got involved during the early days of the crisis and how he has kept costs down by sourcing products directly from manufacturers and distributors.
The literal definition of “patriot” is simple enough to grasp. But when our political values amount to sedition in the eyes of our fellow citizens, is a coherent conversation about loyalty to country even possible? CNN explores the topic with help from experts like Rutgers linguistics professor Kristen Syrett. “[‘Patriot’] is a word that is really conditioned by…what we think we’re fighting for,” says Syrett. Disputes surrounding the word, she adds, have existed “since the country’s founding—when it wasn’t even agreed upon on what it meant to be American.”