THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES (College), though faced with challenges this year, has made great strides to offer amazing education to students, create new and revise existing programs, offer practical experiences for students (e.g., research and internships) and grow as a community. As I transitioned from Associate Dean to Interim Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, though faced with challenges, I am proud of how our students, faculty, and staff adapted to an extremely difficult time. The College during this time was challenged, along with the university and regents, to provide safe working conditions for faculty and facilities for students. Adjustments this academic year meant lower student capacities for classrooms, new teaching strategies and associated technology, remote work opportunities, and flexibility among Dear Friends of NSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, NORTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY | FALL 2020 INTERIM DEAN Alyssa Kiesow COVID-19 PERSPECTIVES: Internship in the Time of the Pandemic COVID-19 has affected all NSU community: students, faculty and staff. Below is a perspective of one member of the community: Brianna Geigle is a student in the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program. She was completing her internship when the pandemic broke out. Q: In what ways did your internship experience change following the COVID-19 pandemic reaching the US? A: I had just started my last rotation, in microbiology, when COVID really made a presence in the US. I was interning at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. When COVID hit, it was a big talking point in the lab. The lab I was working in actually was the first one in South Carolina to start collecting and processing COVID tests, and being in the microbiology lab, I got to personally handle these samples. Our lab had a preliminary screen for the coronavirus, and if that was positive, the test was sent to the state lab for COVID-specific testing. I was supposed to be in the microbiology rotation for four weeks, but instead I was in it for one week, and in that one week, the lab went from a normal, student-teaching lab, to a lab with extra precautions and a lot of confusion and unknown. Apart from changing how the lab itself operated, COVID forced me to finish my microbiology rotation online, which was a disappointment because reading antibiotic susceptibilities and working with samples possibly positive for diseases like tuberculosis just cannot be put into an online format and still elicit the same level of excitement and curiosity. Q: Is there anything in these changes that you think will prepare you better for your future career? A: I think the biggest aspect of this change that will impact my future career was the realization that you can read all the textbooks and study all you want, but healthcare and medicine are dynamic and ever-changing, and you have to be prepared and willing to adapt. It is so easy in healthcare to get into a routine, so when something big, like this pandemic, comes around, it is difficult to adjust procedures and accept the additional steps in each process. Q: Were there any moments/classes/ experiences at Northern that helped prepare you for the unique challenges that you faced doing an internship during a pandemic? faculty and students with regard to academic delivery. Classrooms in the Mewaldt-Jensen and Technology Center buildings look vastly different than in the past. Spaces include 30 percent of the seating available to students, allowing for social distancing. Further, masks are required in these spaces for instructors and students. COVID-19 presented an opportunity to try to implement new teaching strategies, such as HyFlex, during this academic year. HyFlex combines face-to-face and online methods in the classroom, allowing for students and faculty to meaningfully engage while also maintaining the strong connections established at small institutions. Remote work policies allowed faculty, staff, and students to operate outside the confines of the campus facilities. Faculty and staff performed work duties virtually, and did so effectively. Students were given the option to take face-to-face courses or select online or HyFlex options. Our numbers suggest that these options increased students’ comfort level to attend Northern. The College continues to work collaboratively with the university to maintain safe working conditions for all interested parties. Through all this, our College has remained flexible in adapting to a dynamic environment, only to improve our offerings, build capacities, and continue as the “heart and soul” of the university.