Virtual History behind the Headlines a success

The most recent invitation to History Behind the Headlines – courtesy of the library staff

Before the pandemic, the History Behind the Headlines sessions took place in the back of the library every other Thursday in forty-minute windows, giving Dr. Nagl the opportunity to update and explain national and international events to keep interested faculty members and students informed. 

     Like all classes, History Behind the Headlines has now gone virtual.

     Every Thursday at 1:30 p.m, Dr. Nagl hosts a History Behind the Headlines session ,where he invites faculty members and students interested in hearing the weekly updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

     Since COVID-19 is the current primary subject of analysis, Dr. Nagl branches into the different aspects of life the virus’s effects. Dr. Nagl gives updates and progress about the pandemic and gives his colleagues the opportunity to discuss the effects of COVID-19 in their particular field.

     “I give my broad overview, and I pass it to Dr. Goduti for a scientific perspective, then to Mr. Leech, who’s insights recently became extremely useful because his wife works at a pharmaceutical company that produces vaccines (GSK),” Dr. Nagl said. “Then to Mr. Long for economics and then to Mr. Lengel for politics, and finally to Mr. Jobs who discusses how the COVID crisis is shining a bright light on inequalities of American society.”

Carson De Marco ’20 interviews Science Department Chair Dr. Daniel Goduti – screenshot by Carson De Marco ’20

     Since the sessions are virtual and more accessible, members outside the Haverford community join to provide their insight. 

     “We get a perspective on how the virus affects the military,” Dr. Nagl siad. “We had Captain James Williamson, a member of the U.S. military currently in Germany, give us an update about the virus there.”

     While many faculty members join the weekly sessions to listen to their colleagues’ perspectives, Dr. Nagl hopes the sessions will attract more students to keep them engaged and informed. 

     “I wish to get more students online. You guys, in particular, are the ones being affected, like being able to vote in the presidential election. The issues of the day are literally your issues,” Dr. Nagl said. “The COVID crisis will determine whether [Sixth Formers] will live at home in the fall or spend the freshman year on campus.”

     For the faculty and students who attend the virtual sessions, the array of voices are highly valued.

     Upper School Science Department Chair Dr. Daniel Goduti appreciates the new format of teachers extending their insight and knowledge about COVID-19 in their field to the audience. 

     “[Dr. Nagl] started formalizing it and asking me and then Mr. Long and Mr. Lengel and whoever else is around. I’ve really liked the way it’s become a way for all different parts of the faculty to share their expertise and together help us understand what’s going on in the world,” Dr. Goduti said.

“I definitely feel like it’s a very informative and good way to stay up to date,” Sardesai said. “It’s a very good way to get a deep dive and holistic review over the current events.”

Aditya Sardesai

     Upper School History and Finance teacher Mr. Brian Long values the personal benefits that come with the virtual sessions and the community unity the sessions create.

     “When they were held in the school year, it just happened that they coincided with one of my classes, so I could never go. When I started going to the virtual ones, Dr. Nagl was calling on me, and now it’s just fun,” Mr. Long said. “It’s a great way to get a bunch of different faculty members involved and to engage with Dr. Nagl and hear his knowledge from a different perspective.” Mr. Long added, “It’s fun not just for the faculty but also for the students.”

Mr. Brian Long, left, speaks with Carson De Marco ’20 – screenshot by Carson De Marco ’20

     Sixth Former Aditya Sardesai enjoys the virtual sessions and listening to the diversity of faculty voices. 

     “I definitely feel like it’s a very informative and good way to stay up to date,” Sardesai said. “It’s a very good way to get a deep dive and holistic review over the current events.”

Author: Carson De Marco '20

Carson De Marco '20 is a member of the journalism seminar. Recently, he won a Silver Key from the Philadelphia-area Scholastic Art & Writing Competition for his piece, "Wrongful Convictions; A Country’s Stain." Carson is a member of the soccer and lacrosse teams and a member of the Signet Society.