This community Zoom-based event featured prominent OSU faculty expertise who took the audience on an intersectional journey to better understand the current COVID-19 global pandemic. The audience included: current students, alumni, students who have committed to attend OSU in the fall of 2020, and the general public. The diversity of faculty expertise will help everyone to better understand the etiology of the disease, the history of pandemics, the cultural, political, social and economic impacts of the disease arriving in February of 2020. The audience had an opportunity to ask questions about COVID-19 and its impacts on Corvallis, Oregon, and the United States.  

A recording of the event can be found here.


Dr. Bill Ripple will examine the link between pandemic risk and our relationship with nature and animals. He will be setting the ecological/human/animal context for pandemic risk going back 12,000 years.

Dr. Bill Ripple is a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. He is best known for his research on the conservation and ecological effects of large predators, particularly the gray wolf. He was the lead author on the 2017 "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A second Notice", and the 2019 “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency”. He is the director of the Alliance of World Scientists which has 23,000 subscribing scientist members from 180 countries.


Dr. Chunhuei Chi will provide an overview of the origin of the COVID-19 and how it might continue to evolve.

Chunhuei Chi is a Professor in the Global Health Program and Health Management and Policy Program. He completed his Doctor of Science degree from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His research focuses on international collaboration for equitable and sustainable health development; health systems finance and strengthening; universal health care; comparative health care systems; global health governance; and community ownership and methods of community decision making. Since December of 2019 he has been closely following and studying the development of COVID-19, its global impacts and national responses.


Dr. Christopher Nichols will provide a history of the 1918 pandemic and seek to highlight the lessons learned and the parallels to COVID-19.

Christopher McKnight Nichols is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Humanities. He is author or editor of five books. Dr. Chris Nichols specializes in the history of the United States and its relationship to the rest of the world, particularly in the areas of isolationism, internationalism, and globalization, along with modern U.S. intellectual, cultural, and political history. In 2014, he was the OSU Honors College Professor of the Year. In 2016, he was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. In 2017, he became an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer. 


Dr. Jennifer Alix-Garcia will summarize some thoughts on the effects of the epidemic on the economy.

Dr. Jennifer Alix-Garcia is Professor and Head of the Department of Applied Economics at OSU. Her research focuses on environment and development, economic geography, and the impacts of forced migration. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley's Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.


Dr. Daniel López-Cevallos will discuss the disproportionate transmission effects of COVID-19 on low income groups which includes Native Americans, Latinos and African Americans.

Daniel López-Cevallos, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, Latinx Studies and Health Equity, and Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education. His research & evaluation work focuses on the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, class, and other socioeconomic and sociocultural constructs, and their relationship to health and health care issues. Furthermore, he is interested in the development and implementation of community, institutional, and policy-level strategies to better serve Latinx and other marginalized communities.


Dr. Dina Ribbink will examine the impact of Covid-19 on the global food supply chains. 

Dina Ribbink is an Assistant Professor of Operations Management at the College of Business at Oregon State University - Cascades. She received her Ph.D. from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland in 2010. She earned her MS in Business Administration from Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Her primary focus in research is on contractual buyer-supplier relationships, especially in international relationships. She researches in the fields of food supply chains as well as supply chains of emergency relief aid organizations. Dr. Dina Ribbink's research has been published in top tier journals in the field like the Journal of Operations Management and Transportation Journal, among others. 


Dr. James Sterns will discuss how COVID-19 has affected workers in the food supply chains in the United States.

Dr. James Sterns joined the Faculty of the Department of Applied Economics in 2013, in order to contribute to the Department’s teaching and research efforts in the general areas of agribusiness management and performance of agri-food systems. His prior work experiences include 12 years as a faculty member of the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida, where he was a core member of the agribusiness teaching and research programs. He also has worked internationally, including extended work assignments in Cameroon, France, Ecuador and Haiti.


Dr. John Selker will discuss the College of Engineering ventilator production project.

John Selker is an OSU Distinguished Professor of Biological and Ecological Engineering (College of Agricultural Sciences, 29 years) and co-Director of both The Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs ( and the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (, and PI of the Openly Published Environmental Sensing Laboratory (currently employing 40 undergraduates -  Selker has worked in more than 20 countries across 5 continents. His focus areas include environmental instrumentation, groundwater processes, and ecohydrology. Dr. John Selker has published over 210 peer-reviewed articles.


Dr. Jeffrey Bethel will describe the TRACE COVID-19 community project in Corvallis and the impact of the results on the national conversation about the virus transmission rates.

Dr. Jeff Bethel is Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health of Human Sciences and the Co-Principal Investigator of the TRACE-COVID -19 study. His research focuses on building adaptive capacity to address the health impacts of infectious disease outbreaks and natural hazards, particularly among vulnerable populations. He also studies best practices for implementing epidemiologic methods to examine the health impacts of natural disasters including infectious disease outbreaks.


Dr. Elena Passarello

Elena Passarello teaches courses in writing and reading literary nonfiction. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award, Passarello's essays on performance, pop culture, visual art, and the natural world have been translated into German, Italian, French, Hebrew, and Chinese. Recent work appears in The New York Times, National Geographic, Paris Review, and Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018. In 2019, Outside named her one of the “25 Essential Women Authors Writing about the Wild."