Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

A year in pictures: Human Ecology in 2021

From sustainable practices to health and well-being, the School of Human Ecology tackled the important topics of 2021 with a human-centered approach. We found new ways to create meaningful connections and deliver high-impact learning experiences. This was a remarkable year.


Dean Shim gets the Covid-19 vaccine shot
March 19, 2021

Dean Soyeon Shim receives her vaccine. Campus efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 include protocols for all employees and students to be vaccinated or tested weekly.


Skirt that says, it is okay to not be okay
April 2021. Model: Priya Shah. Photo by Andrew Atwell

Textiles and Fashion Design major Talia Abbe’s piece exploring mental health is featured in Threads, an annual showcase of student work. The Threads student team interviewed Charles L. Raison, MD, Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Distinguished Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Family to discuss well-being and our perceptions of reality.

“I want this garment to raise awareness for people with mental illnesses, to show people that mental illnesses are real. In this time of uncertainty, everyone needs to stand together, help one another and protect their mental health.”


People walk down aisle of graduates holding multi-colored flags and head towards the stage
May 8, 2021. Photo by Bryce Richter / UW–Madison

A procession of flags from each school and college kicks off UW–Madison’s spring commencement ceremony for graduate students. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, safety precautions were in place to celebrate in person, outdoors at Camp Randall. In addition to Human Ecology’s graduate students completing their degrees, nearly 400 undergraduate students graduated from six Human Ecology majors in May.


People stand and sit around a conference table
August 12, 2021. Photo by Bryce Richter / UW–Madison

Nancy Nicholas Hall opened in 2012 and for nearly a decade has been a magnet for innovation that supports human well-being and a place where students gain skills to solve complex problems using creativity.

Joel Brennan, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, (standing right) speaks to Rob Cramer, interim vice chancellor of finance and administration, (seated center left) and Provost John Karl Scholz (seated left) in the Dorothy O’Brien Innovation Lab, during a tour promoting UW’s drive to create a more sustainable campus with Secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services Dawn Crim (seated right) and Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Kathy Blumenfeld (standing next to Secretary Crim).


Selfie of the dean with a full room of students behind her
September 3, 2021. Photo by Soyeon Shim

Dean Soyeon Shim takes a selfie with new students in the Michael Axelrod Collaborative Learning Hall, welcoming the largest class of Human Ecology students in our history.


UW decorated stage with Brian McInnes speaking at a podium
September 3, 2021. Photo by Althea Dotzour / UW–Madison

Brian McInnes, Leola R. Culver Professor in Nonprofits and Philanthropy, gives the Native Nations welcome and speaks during the Chancellor’s Convocation for New Students at the Kohl Center. Thousands of first-year and transfer students attend the convocation to begin their Badger journey.


Dean Shim and Bucky Badger waving
September 14, 2021. Photo by Sarah Maughan

Dean Soyeon Shim and Bucky celebrate the opening of the School’s new Advising & Career Center, which connects the 1,600 undergraduate students in Human Ecology with top-notch career and academic advising services.


Ella Cunz portrait wearing a black and white plaid mask
October 13, 2021. Photo by Brian Huynh / UW–Madison

Ella Cunz, a sophomore majoring in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies, poses for a masked portrait in Nancy Nicholas Hall. In response to the question, why did you choose your mask, Cunz said, “My friend made it for me so it has sentimental value.” This portrait is part of “Behind the Mask,” a photo series documenting the various protective face coverings worn on campus as seen by student photographer and senior Brian Huynh.


4 students around a table talking outside on Nancy Nicholas Hall Terrace
October 19, 2021. Photo by Sarah Maughan

The terrace of Nancy Nicholas Hall is a popular place to study, enjoy sunshine, and connect with fellow human ecologists. Lauren Perzewski, Akshay Kalra, Jordan Gundrum, and Emma Cline are pursuing majors in Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies, Community & Nonprofit Leadership, and Interior Architecture.


4 people sit around a table working
October 19, 2021. Photo by Sarah Maughan

Teaching Assistants Zeinab Nazari, Tu-Nguyen Phan, and Rudy Dieudonne work through curriculum with Assistant Professor Uchita Vaid for the course Person and Environment Interactions.


Group stands around a table inking rollers
November 5, 2021. Photo by Brian Huynh / UW–Madison

Nora Renick Rinehart, an MFA candidate in Design Studies, guides community members and students in creating block printed handkerchiefs. This workshop was held in connection with Politics at Home: Textiles as American History, the first in-person exhibition in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery since fall 2019.


Macintyre Schnell stands in front of the display of his work
December 16, 2021. Photo by Macintyre Schnell

Macintyre Schnell, a senior in the Interior Architecture program, stands by his work reimagining spaces in Memorial Library.

“I really wanted to create a sophisticated and comfortable study space for students to be able to work. Lighting plays a very large role in how students and people work, so I really tried to incorporate many different lighting elements . . . to create a perfect ambiance for studying at all times of the day.”


Kids stand around a circle carpet holding scarfs
December 16, 2021. Photo by Kris Krystofiak

Children in the Child Development Lab’s Otter class (3–5 years old) use scarves for movement and dancing during music class. They are learning about rhythm, working on gross motor coordination, and having fun with dance.