Top 5 Episodes of 2020: Learning, Growing Through Adversity

best of 2020

As we welcome 2021, CU on the Air looks back on 2020 to highlight our Top 5 shows. Not surprisingly, three of the five most popular podcasts were COVID-19 related. The other two were about CU in space, and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.

  1. As we navigate the coronavirus, there’s a great need for frank discussions about psychiatric disorders as the weeks and months roll on. In August, we spoke with Dr. Neill Epperson from the CU School of Medicine about her podcast, Mind the Brain, which explores the many aspects of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing topics ranging from the ongoing uncertainty, parental and teen stress, cancer care during a pandemic and the tendency to drink too much alcohol, Mind the Brain comes in at No. 5.
  2. Exploring the moon, and even possibly colonizing it, sounds pretty good these days to us earthlings. Our No. 4 podcast features CU Boulder Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Professor Jack Burns, who has longstanding ties with NASA. In fact, since the late 1940s, CU Boulder has sent experiments and instruments to every planet in our solar system. In 50+ space missions, NASA spacecraft have launched hundreds of instruments from CU as well as 20 CU scientists, faculty and alumni.
  3. CU Colorado Springs Professor Chip Benight shows true GRIT on a global scale and in popularity as our No. 3 podcast of the year. Benight researches human adaptation from trauma including recovery from natural disasters such as the coronavirus pandemic as well as manmade disasters, accident trauma, violence, bereavement and more. In COVID’s wake, he started the Greater Resilience Information Toolkit that is accessible to people overwhelmed by the pandemic, from frontline workers, to caregivers, to your next-door neighbor.
  4. About 300,000 people in the United States and some 3,500 Coloradans have died of COVID-19 as of this date, but good news is on the horizon. Recently Moderna Therapeutics announced that its analysis found its coronavirus vaccine to be 94.5% effective. In November 2020, CU on the Air spoke with Dr. Thomas Campbell, professor of medicine and infectious disease and leader of the Moderna vaccine trials at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. This episode, Moderna Coronavirus Vaccine Trial at CU Anschutz Shows 94.5% Efficacy, is our No. 2 most popular podcast of 2020.
  5. Civil unrest has been a monumental theme of 2020, drawing attention to the critical need for diversity, equity and inclusion at CU and across the country. The CU on the Air team is proud that this podcast recorded in June was by far our most popular. In African Americans, Allies Confront Racism and Health Disparities, CU Chief Diversity Officer Theodosia Cook discusses police brutality against people of color, the protesters who took to the streets across the U.S. calling for change, and the needs of African Americans who continue to die of COVID-19 in disproportionate numbers.

Was your favorite podcast in our Top 5? If not, let us know what it was and why at