Farah “Cocoa” Brown (B.S.’95) spent a decade learning to be a stand-up comic, but it took real life to teach her how to be funny. Here, the alumna and veteran entertainer — she’s worked with Tyler Perry and has recurring roles on Fox’s “9-1-1” and Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” — talks about the state of stand-up, her comedic voice and how she embraced Farah to find Cocoa.
The magical mystery receptor
It’s a new era for psychedelic research. Long-banned drugs like LSD and psilocybin are being reevaluated for their therapeutic potential against depression and addiction. Biochemist Javier González-Maeso is separating the mystical from medical science.
‘The Guardians of Process’
A now somewhat-forgotten president created America’s professional civil service in 1883 and, by extension, modern U.S. government. Since then, civil servants have flourished and grown more and more necessary, all in the face of never-ending aspersions.
The Delight Is in the Details
David Ashton (B.F.A.’62) founded two creative agencies, rescued a 19th-century farmhouse from ruin and helped make baseball parks timeless again. Here, he explains why simple is beautiful (though never easy) and the importance of trusting your first idea.
Interrupting cancer’s cascade
Priscilla Hwang is unwinding how breast cancer spreads — and trying to shut it down
A spoonful of history helps the willow bark go down
An annotated tour of artifacts and curiosities at the School of Pharmacy Heritage Trail
He knows where the bodies are buried
A new mystery from Howard Owen (M.A.’81), the critical writings of Oscar Wilde, and more from the world of books
How can we be stylish?
Personal stylist and School of the Arts alum Lauren Messiah (B.F.A.’03) helps us emerge from our long (sartorial) winter.
A windowless room with colorful views
Self-taught artist Brent Fagg takes us on a tour of his work in a VCU Medical Center research lab
Music, medicine and a toolkit from Grandpa
Professor and dermatologist Aditi Annu Sharma (M.D.’17) chats about her inventive side
Meet the deans, greet the deans
A little Fact-O-Rama with some of the university’s newer academic leaders
Invest in Me finishes with a flourish
8,000-plus people donate nearly $79M to support VCU students
Letters from readers
The Monroe Park Campus’ first computer center, Terry Austin’s farewell concert, and a William Howard Taft reference