2020 has been an unprecedented year filled with turmoil and challenges. It’s one that we all hope will go down in history as a “once-in-a-lifetime event.”
I assumed my role as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in July, and ever since have been awed by the strength, resilience and human spirit of the faculty, staff and students in our department. Everyone has strived to excel, forging cross-divisional collaborations to advance science and technology, while also tackling challenges presented by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. For instance, one faculty member developed and launched an app that tracks, monitors, and predicts geographical areas with emerging COVID-19 flares and another recruited students and alumni to operate a specialized machine that produces enough material to make 2,000 filters a day.
In an increasingly polarized society, I am humbled and honored to be part of a diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds and with different perspectives, working together in an exemplary civil manner towards a common goal. On a brisk late afternoon in December, I walked out of Barton Hall, a lone human being in the deserted Lower Quad. My eyes slowly gazed towards the inscription on the fresco of Shriver Hall, where “Veritas vos liberabit,” the university motto, shined as a beacon of light and hope. Truth shall indeed set us free!