Class of COVID-19: Erin Erhart

Erin Erhart is the Administrative Assistant to Professor Laura Kiessling.


A person poses with two cats.
Erin, Cash, and Leonard.

Who are you quarantined with?
My roommate, Betsy, and my two cats– Cash and Leonard.

How have your days changed since physical/social distancing became the new normal?
Radically. I was used to being out in the city everyday and having a routine, including going to my gym and working out. Now I spend all day at home and most of it sitting. It’s been a shift.

What do you miss most about the MIT Campus?
I miss seeing the lab, my friends, and all my co-workers. Also, just being able to pop over to someone and ask a question or chat, or grabbing coffee with a friend over lunch.

What are some aspects of this moment in time that you are grateful for?What are you most looking forward to about the return to the “regularly scheduled program”?
Weirdly, the T. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but I am so excited to get back to being able to travel around the city and what that means– gym time, quilt stores, farmer’s markets. Yeah, all of that.

Erin’s workspace.

I live with one of my best friends from grad school, and I could not be more grateful to have such an awesome roommate. Also, I have an apartment with windows (which an improvement over my last place), and every day I get to look outside at our tiny yard it makes things a bit easier. Probably the most important, though, is that I have a job where I can work from home. My cats also appreciate me working from home, as they are enjoying non-stop lap time and crashing all my zoom meetings.

What are some new or preexisting activities/hobbies/research ventures that you’ve taken on while being in quarantine?
I have a ton of hobbies and have gone overkill on most of them, but I recently got into stop-motion videos. I make them for my friends and family as a way to keep in touch, and it’s a nice combination of a lot of crafting things that I enjoyed doing before.

How have you been maintaining social connections while practicing social distancing?
Zooooooooooooom. Also, FaceTime with my mom (and my grandma, when she can figure out how to answer the call). A lot of texting and slack messages, and hours on the phone. So, so many hours on the phone.


A cat sits on a desk chair in front of a laptop.
Erin’s cat assists with their day-to-day.

What will you remember most about daily life during this global pandemic?
How absolutely surreal and absolutely terrifying it all was. How we planned grocery store trips like military maneuvers, got excited about deliveries arriving in “only” two weeks, and the party we held when we found toilet paper. It’s going to be these moments of absurdity, and the looooong stretches of nothing amid a sea of anxiety, that will probably stick with me most.