These UVA Today Stories Best Captured Your Attention in 2021

Collage of vintage photos

A walk down the Lawn on graduation day. Athletes winning at the highest level. Doctors at the cutting edge of innovation.

In many ways, the University of Virginia stories that captured most readers’ attention in 2021 signaled a return to normalcy from the highly read pandemic-focused features from a year ago. UVA Today detailed once-familiar scenes such as spring Final Exercises and Cavaliers competing in the Olympics – and the content was well-received.

Eyeballs, though, were still drawn to COVID-19 articles, perhaps a reminder of the virus’ continued significance.

As we approach 2022, here’s a sampling of our most-read work from the past 12 months.

One Vaccine to Rule Them All

Illustration with a syringe and covid-19 viruses on the right

As the delta and, later, omicron, variants have showed us this year, the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve. But what if there was one vaccine that could work against current and future forms of the virus?

Turns out a team of scientists at UVA and Virginia Tech are working on such a thing.

“We are trying to make a vaccine against a piece of the virus that cannot mutate,” UVA’s Dr. Steven L. Zeichner said.

Wahoos Against the World

collage of UVA national Champion players

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, delayed a year due to the pandemic, featured “Team UVA” in a variety of sports.

Swimmers, rowers, runners and soccer and basketball players all represented Virginia on the grandest stage. In all, nine Cavaliers – including former UVA women’s hoops star-turned-USA women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley – took home two gold, four silver and three bronze medals. This eclipsed UVA’s previous record of five total medals, set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Analyzing Peloton’s Worth

exercise bike  on an illustration of a road

Emerging as, perhaps, the most popular piece of fitness equipment during the pandemic, Peloton, a New Age stationary bicycle equipped with a high-definition touchscreen and convenient workout options, was all the rage in the early part of 2021.

This article – our most-read story of the year, thanks to a lot of social media sharing – explored everything Peloton with UVA engineering professor Gavin Garner, from its functionality to its scrutinized “leaderboard.”

So, is buying a Peloton worth it? Review this analysis and decide for yourself.

Remembering 9/11

Collage of 9/11 Photos

To commemorate the solemn 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, UVA Today published a series of stories that showed how this momentous event intersected with the UVA and the extended University community.

These stories were of grief, resilience, heroism and service.

Historic Final Exercises

UVA Graduates celebrating with a play button to watch the video

After a virtual celebration in 2020, UVA held traditional final exercises in May – with a few twists.

To begin with, Grounds saw five total ceremonies spread over three days, to keep crowd numbers down during the pandemic.

In processions unlike any other in school history, UVA students took the time-honored walk down the Lawn, toward the Homer statue. But then they turned right and carried on to Scott Stadium, where they sat, a bit spread out, for the graduation ceremonies.

Along with the Class of 2021, UVA welcomed around 2,800 members of the Class of 2020 and members of their families back to Charlottesville for the congratulatory celebrations.

UVA Today captured the unique experience with this video.

Examining Adolescent Needs

Child working with tools

A team of researchers and practitioners, brought together by the School of Education and Human Development’s Remaking Middle School initiative, imagined what middle school could look like if it were designed around adolescents’ developmental needs of autonomy, competence, belonging and identity.

When adults understand and support these four needs, UVA Today reported, they create conditions where adolescents have a sense of belonging and feel empowered to find their purpose and place in the world.

Coach’s Daughter Goes Viral

Adelle Chullis family photo

The daughter of UVA men’s soccer associate head coach Matt Chulis became an overnight celebrity when video of her impression of her mother, Colleen, went viral.

Adelle Chulis, an 8-year-old Albemarle County elementary school student, drew attention to Colleen’s LinkedIn account – to the tune of 14 million-plus views – with a spot-on impersonation of her mom’s daily work-from-home routine as the regional vice president of sales for SAP SuccessFactors, a human resources software company.

Urban Design Approach Busts Status Quo for Better Mental Health

Illustration of a cityscape with hot air balloons, clouds, ferris wheel, and a woman waiving out of a building window

Jenny Roe, the Mary Irene Deshong Professor of Design and Health in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, was the co-author of a new book – “Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing” – that imagined an entirely new way to design urban areas for optimal mental health.

This story explored the book’s extensive research – chapter by chapter.

Parkhill, Moore and the ‘Virginia Vintage Collection’

Virginia Vintage logo Collage

Legendary Virginia athletes Barry Parkhill (basketball) and Shawn Moore (football) still very much cherish their Cavalier playing days.

Now, there’s a clothing line to help them – and all Wahoo fans – flash back in time.

UVA’s ‘Super’ Alumnus vs. COVID

John Hollis Headshot

UVA alumnus John Hollis discovered he had “super antibodies” that make it impossible for him to contract COVID-19.

Even more interesting, a George Mason University pathologist and bioengineer went on to say Hollis’ antibodies may hold the secret to identifying potential treatments for COVID.

Media Contact

Andrew Ramspacher

University Communications