In a normal year, I would come into the newsroom every day and pick the best photo to accompany each article. But, this year was anything but normal. When the university canceled in-person classes in mid-March, The Diamondback transitioned to a remote work environment, with the photography desk documenting a whole new set of stories: the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and more. 

This year, I went through more than 8,000 photos, a fraction of the pictures taken by Diamondback staff photographers this year. Below are my top picks for each month of the year. 

 Julia Nikhinson, photo editor

1. January

In January, College Park saw many old establishments go and several new ones arrive. Several shops along Route 1, including Smoothie King, shuttered over the university’s winter break. The new College Park city hall is being built in their place. D.P. Dough, a staple of College Park’s late-night food scene, also closed its doors in January, while Five Guys returned to College Park almost two years after the close of its previous location.

D.P. Dough, a popular calzone eatery located on Route 1, closed its doors the last week of January. (I’Shea Boyd/ The Diamondback)


Smoothie King was one of the Route 1 establishments to close over winter break for upcoming City Hall construction. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Nearly two years after the closing of its previous College Park location, Five Guys returned to College Park in January. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

2. February

On Feb. 12, the University System of Maryland announced that Darryll Pines, then the dean of the engineering school, would be the University of Maryland’s next president. On Feb. 14, Pines held his first press conference as incoming president at The Hotel in College Park, where photographer Eric Harkleroad captured some of The Diamondback’s first pictures of Pines.

Also in February, the “Black National Anthem” was performed for the first time before a Maryland men’s basketball game, after 78-year-old Eugene Williams advocated for it for over two years. College Park and University of Maryland officials also broke ground on the new city hall, the university held a coronavirus symposium and photographers documented the YBN Cordae and Post Malone concerts, a few of the last concerts before the coronavirus pandemic shut down venues across the country.

Darryll Pines speaks at a press conference in College Park on Feb. 14, 2020. (Eric Harkleroad/The Diamondback)


University of Maryland student Humdan Ahmed, a senior information science major, has been riding motorcycles for about nine years. (Suze Creedon/The Diamondback)

For a story about how a Maryland bill could allow bikers over 21 to ride without a helmet, photographer Suze Creedon captured of a motorcyclist surrounded by a vibrant sunset.

A Lunar New Year celebration in Washington, D.C. (Susannah Outhier/The Diamondback)


A student takes notes at the coronavirus symposium at the Hoff Theater on Feb. 20, 2020. (Eric Harkleroad/The Diamondback)


Members of the College Park community dig in as Mayor Patrick Wojahn throws dirt in the air at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new College Park City Hall on Knox Road on Feb. 14, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


Post Malone performs at the Capital One Arena on Feb. 27, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

3. March

A lot happened in March.

On March 8, the Maryland women’s basketball team won the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. The team didn’t know it at the time, but this would be its last game until November. The same day, the Maryland men’s basketball team won a share of the Big Ten title. On March 9, The Diamondback released its last print edition ever.

On March 11, graduate students at this university demonstrated in solidarity with the graduate student strikers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. On March 12, the men’s basketball Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan held one of his first coronavirus press conferences

By March 13, students were already moving out of dorms, and on March 19 the University of Maryland canceled in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester, turning campus into a ghost town.

Maryland women’s basketball celebrates its Big Ten tournament championship after beating Ohio State, 82-65, on March 8, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


The Diamondback’s last print edition was distributed on Mar. 9, 2020. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)


A student stands in front of a graduate student protest for collective bargaining and unionization on McKeldin Mall on March 11, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


The Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 12, 2020. The Big Ten tournament was canceled about fifteen minutes before tipoff on March 12. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

4. April

In April, amid the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrators took to Annapolis to protest Gov. Larry Hogan’s lockdown and the College Park Metro station remained closed.

A demonstrator participates in the Reopen Maryland protest in Annapolis on April 4, 2020. (McDonald/For The Diamondback)


Marathon Deli’s new location on Route 1 on April 27, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


The College Park Metro station remained closed on April 9, 2020, along with many other WMATA metro stations and bus stops. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

5. May

When it came time for our annual senior edition, we had to come up with a new style of cover that would commemorate the accomplishments of seniors, as all in-person graduation ceremonies and activities were canceled due to the coronavirus. For a day, photographers walked around campus and drove across several Maryland counties, taking pictures of seniors from this university. 

Also in May, the biking industry was booming amid the coronavirus pandemic. Though Laurie Lemieux, co-owner of Proteus Bicycles in College Park, feared that the pandemic would jeopardize her business, it had just the opposite impact.

Graphic by Rachel Hunt/The Diamondback. Photos courtesy of Julia Nikhinson, Joe Ryan, Richard Moglen, Evan Kramer, Iris Vukmanovic, Suze Creedon, Leah Brennan, Madelyn Miller, Ally O’Reilly, Hannah Gaskill and Alex Murphy.


Laurie Lemieux, the co-owner of Proteus Bicycles, stands in the store on May 6, 2020. While business for Lemieux has been booming during the coronavirus pandemic, the shop has had to implement changes, such as only letting one customer into the store at a time. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

6. June

In June, the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, initiated Black Lives Matter protests around the country. Among many issues, protesters pushed to abolish the police. And on university campuses, students also highlighted the ways institutional racism plays out in the academic arena. Diamondback photographers documented many protests throughout the summer, including several on the University of Maryland’s campus.


Black Terps Matter co-organizer Alysa Conway (center), a University of Maryland student, leads a group of protesters up the steps of the administration building on June 26, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Lawrence Taylor chants at the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia, during a Black Lives Matter protest in Prince George’s County and Virginia on June 6, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


Black Lives Matter demonstrators on top of their car in the FedEx Field parking lot on June 7, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Volunteers organize their donations at the College Park-based protest pack drive in front of the memorial for 1st Lt. Richard Collins on June 5, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)

7. July

In late June, the University of Maryland shut off air conditioning in multiple dorms, prompting several employees to seek medical attention after working without air conditioning. Housekeeper Maria Ayala, pictured below, was one of these employees. Also in July, The Diamondback published a feature on the journey of Brandon, a DACA recipient and University of Maryland student. 

On July 8, 2020, Maria Ayala had been on unpaid leave since June 24, after working in high temperatures aggravated her asthma. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Oscar Rojas at the Montgomery College Germantown Campus on July 18, 2020. Brandon lived with Rojas and his family for a while, to cut down on his commute to the university. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Teach-in organizers and university students Saba Tshibaka (left) and Alysa Conway (right) speak to attendees about the demands of Black Terps Matter in front of McKeldin Library on July 23, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

8. August

In August, University of Maryland students organized a car caravan to protest the university not letting them terminate their South Campus Commons and Courtyards leases. Thousands of people, including University of Maryland students, flocked to Washington, D.C., for the March on Washington 2020, and parents wondered how they would arrange child care amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Current University of Maryland students and Howard County Public School System alumni organized an Antiracist HOCO initiative, and some students at this university returned to the campus.

Gavin Kohn passes the Administration Building as he speaks to drivers of the caravan protesting for students to be able to terminate their leases with South Campus Commons and Courtyards on August 10, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


Thousands of protesters gathered on the National Mall on Aug. 28 for the March on Washington 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


As students ate in groups on North Campus, dining hall carry-out boxes overflowed in trash cans around them. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


River Hill High School alumni Alisha Solaiman, Missy Kum, Hannah Brown, Humza Haque, Hilda Flike Jacobson (left to right) and Tolu Faderin (not pictured) are the founders of Antiracist HOCO. The group’s focus is bringing racism in HCPSS to light and diversifying the school system’s curricula. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


UMD employee Maria Ayala’s son Darwin poses on the slide, his favorite part of the playground located behind his apartment. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

9. September

In September, photographers captured coronavirus testing at Maryland Stadium, a powerful College Park flood and the erection of the second “M” circle.We also played around with Zoom photography for sources we couldn’t photograph in-person and documented the start of in-person classes and the alternative methods of exercise students found amid the coronavirus pandemic.Assistant photo editor Joe Ryan took a series of photos of Lakeland, a historically Black neighborhood in College Park which was devastated by gentrification in the early 1970s, for Clara Niel’s feature on its history.

A person self-administers a COVID-19 test at Maryland Stadium on Sept. 15, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


A Terrapin Row resident takes a swim in the floodwaters of Guilford Drive during the storm on Sept. 10, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


Alyssa Poarch in her room on Sept. 9, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Shelly Chikis, a junior hearing and speech sciences student, in the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center, where she attends an in-person lecture. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)


Freshman Asher Kark works out in Tawes Plaza Garden instead of Eppley Recreation Center, where reservations are required, on Sept. 8, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


Dueling “M” circles next to each other on Campus Drive on Sept. 30, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


Keith Webster, who grew up in the neighborhood, outside the First Baptist Church of College Park in Lakeland on Sept. 19, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)

10. October

On Oct. 17, University of Maryland students trekked to Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March, where they joined with thousands of other protesters. The bright red cloaks of some demonstrators stood out against the backdrop of Freedom Plaza.October also saw the beginning of the highly modified Big Ten football season. On Oct. 30, Maryland saw its first home game, a 45-44 overtime win over Minnesota.

Women dressed in the red robes and white bonnets from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ lined up before circling Freedom Plaza. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Defensive back Jakorian Bennett makes a tackle during Maryland football’s 45-44 win against Minnesota on Oct. 30, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Kavya Kumaran, co-founder of the university’s South Asian Student Association, on Oct. 5, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

This fall, the university’s Student Government Association established its first Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American caucus. 

Also in October, students studied in near-empty buildings, socially distanced circles dotted McKeldin Mall and College Park families had to rethink their Halloween traditions.

Students studying in Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center on Oct. 22, 2020. (Jordyn Salow/The Diamondback)


McKeldin Mall on Sept. 30, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


College Park resident Taryn Webb’s niece, dressed as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pretends to hit her cousin with a gavel on Oct. 31, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

11. November

Election Day brought many voters to Xfinity Center. The day was a whirlwind, with university students and Prince George’s County residents coming to cast their votes. Along with the voters, a cast of Diamondback reporters and photographers rotated in and out throughout the day, documenting the scene. We met a wide variety of characters from across the political spectrum, including a man who voted for a Clint Eastwood movie character and a proud owner of a baby raccoon.

On Nov. 7, news outlets projected Joe Biden to be the winner of the presidential election. As celebrations ensued in major cities across the county, Joe Ryan captured the celebratory mood in Washington, D.C. On that same day, Maryland football blew Penn State in a 35-19 victory, their first over the Nittany Lions since 2014. As always, both teams played for a medium-sized audience of cardboard fans

On Nov. 9, College Park District 2 residents cast their ballots in a local election to fill a city council seat.

On Nov. 14, thousands of Trump supporters attended the Million Maga March in Washington, D.C., to declare election fraud.

Voters outside Xfinity Center on Nov. 3, 2020. (Graphic by Joe Ryan/The Diamondback, Photos by Joe Ryan, Julia Nikhinson and Eric Harkleroad/The Diamondback)


People celebrate in Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., after Joe Biden was projected to become the next president of the United States on Nov. 7, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)


A Trump supporter pauses on his way to the Million Maga March in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14. 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Cutouts of fans fill the stands of Beaver Stadium on Nov. 7, 2020, during Maryland football’s 35-19 win over Penn State. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Maryland men’s basketball practices in a near-empty arena before their season opener against Old Dominion on Nov. 25, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)


Hollywood resident John Vavrek’s dogs Sassy (left) and Cora (right) outside College Park Community Center on Nov. 8, 2020. (Joe Ryan/The Diamondback)

12. December

On Dec. 12, Maryland football played its last game of the season against Rutgers, as another coronavirus outbreak in the program curtailed the rest of the season shortly after. I took this panorama of the near-empty stadium before the start of the game.

Maryland Stadium on Dec. 12, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

On the left is a pre-game photo of the Rutgers Athletic Center on Dec. 14. On the right is a post-game photo, also of the RAC, on March 3, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down.


A member of the Proud Boys raises a white power sign while chanting at a rally in Washington, D.C., in support of President Trump on Dec. 12, 2020. (Eric Harkleroad/The Diamondback)


A crowd of Trump supporters waves as Marine One flies over during a rally in support of the president on Dec. 12, 2020. (Eric Harkleroad/The Diamondback)