Graduate student Halie Olson finds new ways to stay connected with colleagues and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finding connections during social isolation


“It’s been really heartening to see the compassion that’s emerged during this situation. People are looking out for each other, and thinking about each other, and checking in with each other.

Usually our social interactions are just built into the day, and now we need to be more deliberate.

The need for human connection has become so apparent these last few weeks as we’ve all been physically distancing. Usually our social interactions are just built into the day, and now we need to be more deliberate.

I’ve started writing a letter to a different person every day – something that I never took the time to do before! Especially as scientists, communication and collaboration are central to what we do. I’ve been amazed at how quickly we’re adapting to this situation and finding ways to keep connecting with each other – whether it’s virtual conferences or Zoom lab meetings or Slack channels. Plus seeing other people’s pets has been a bonus!

Overall I’ve just been really grateful and awed to see people come together, and support each other, and keep things moving forward during a tough time.”


Halie Olson, a graduate student in the labs of John Gabrieli and Rebecca Saxe, studies how early life experiences and environments impact brain development.

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