Saved by the Stage
Ismael Lara Jr. grew up in southeast Texas, in the small town of Palacios, halfway between Galveston and Corpus Christi. He fell in love with theater and the arts in high school, but telling stories was not just a hobby.
Author’s note: We are honored that Ned Smith was willing to share his story with us earlier this year. Unfortunately, Ned's tumor recurred during the summer, and he transitioned to hospice care in September.
Breaking New Waves
In 2012, GiGi Lucas had an epiphany: She took a surf lesson and realized surfing was the joyful, peaceful activity missing in her life. Now, she’s sharing her love of the sport with young women of color through her nonprofit SurfearNEGRA, whose mission is to bring cultural and gender diversity to surfing.
How Do People Make Change?
Beyond the pandemic, social unrest defined 2020. It started on the very first day of the year in Hong Kong, where protesters filled the streets in opposition to China’s proposed extradition law.
According to the American Lung Association, nearly half of all Americans live in counties that have unhealthy levels of air pollution. Northwestern alumni and faculty break down how air pollution travels from smokestacks and tailpipes into the atmosphere, how it negatively impacts our health, and what must change to improve Americans’ access to clean air.
Stretching the Imagination
John Rogers doesn’t just lead the field of stretchable bioelectronics — he founded it. He has invented a mind-boggling number of devices, pushing boundaries to extreme limits and creating electronics that are impossibly thin, flexible, stretchy and smart — blurring the distinction between body and device.
Free to Play
After a number of parts in “big-swing comedies,” Kathryn Hahn ’95 moved to more substantial roles that cemented her place as a sought-after star. It’s clear now that she’s in love with her work: the deep dives into character, the exploration and messiness each role brings, the dedication to her fellow actors — and the creative magic that results.
The Reckoning Is Here
As America grapples with a history of injustice and in light of the recent attention given to the Black Lives Matter movement, a historical and educational reckoning is occurring that has been decades in the making. Northwestern alumni and faculty are part of a growing chorus of teachers, students and lawmakers reminding us that Black history — and the histories of other marginalized communities — are as American as apple pie and should be accurately and contextually taught to all.
Acclaimed poet and Northwestern alumna Angela Jackson is Illinois' fifth poet laureate. Previous poet laureates include Carl Sandburg and Jackson's idol, Gwendolyn Brooks.
Doctor Becomes Patient
Emergency medicine physician and former Wildcats offensive lineman Ryan Padgett ’97 was one of the first healthcare workers in Washington state to test positive for COVID-19. His harrowing story has become both a symbol of hope and a cautionary tale about the dangers of the global pandemic.