We sat down with Aidan Moriarty from the reply-all email. This is what she had to say.
Aidan Moriarty received her coronavirus booster shot Friday, the Keck School of Medicine doctoral candidate and USC community luminary confirmed in an interview with the Daily Trojan the same day.
Her vaccination comes after contracting coronavirus late December and, upon trying to understand the University’s guidelines in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, becoming confused on how long she should wait to receive the booster.
Typing in her laptop on Gmail, Moriarty reached out to USC Student Health Jan. 19 to get a definite answer on the vaccine requirement timeline. While Moriarty did not and still has not received a direct response from the University in response to her question, she did gain the entire student body’s attention when her email forwarded to every single student at USC.
The Daily Trojan spoke with Moriarty, who is involved in Keck’s Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences and Cancer Biology and Genomics program, about the eventful day and how she has navigated her fame ever since.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Daily Trojan: When did you realize you had replied to everyone?
Aidan Moriarty: Actually, it’s really funny because I almost pressed Reply All, but then I was like, “Oh, no,” like, I caught myself. I was like, “That would be horrible,” and then I pressed Reply, but I didn’t check that the Send To line was just sending to Student Health … if I usually have a lot of anxiety over an email — which maybe I will have forevermore have anxiety over all emails — I would usually check the line, but I was in such a rush, I just obviously pressed Reply and then shot off the email. And so that’s why I was like, “No way, like no it didn’t. It could not have possibly gone to everyone because I’m positive I pressed Reply.” And then, very shortly after, the students in my lab were like, “What? What did you do?” So that’s kind of how that happened.
DT: When did you start to see that people had taken notice and started making jokes and memes on the internet?
AM: A lot of people responded to the email privately … A lot of people had said they had the same question, so that was funny. A lot of people were not nice too, but that’s fine. My boyfriend actually texted me and said that some of his friends who do not go to USC saw these memes going around because I immediately texted him right after I found out that I sent the email … So he was actually the one who showed the memes to me.
DT: Which meme was your favorite?
AM: I feel like the train one really hit me … I was also so busy that day. I think I was in meetings till like 9 p.m., and so I was just running around. The train one was very relatable because I felt like a fucking train. I also loved the Padmé one, though. Oh, and the Bernie one. I can’t decide. They were all good.
DT: Did anyone reach out to you personally or privately to check in on how you were doing?
AM: The student register office called me to apologize. Because I said I was COVID positive, and because that went through a moderator and that got sent to the entire student population, that’s actually a HIPAA violation on the side of the school, and so that’s why the Registrar’s Office got involved and apologized and also made sure that IT redacted the email from everyone’s inbox, which I didn’t even know you could do.
DT: What coronavirus vaccine did you receive?
AM: Pfizer fam, all the way.
DT: How was your experience with having the coronavirus late December?
AM: Thank you so much for asking. It wasn’t great, but, obviously, it wasn’t that bad. I was very, very grateful to have been vaccinated with at least the first two main doses of Pfizer because I don’t know how it would have been otherwise. I had a fever for several days, and that was pretty bad. I was really delirious. My boyfriend and I got sick over Christmas, so that was a bummer, but it cleared up, and I didn’t really have a cough or anything like that.
DT: Are you planning to make use of the Reply All function in the future to further causes important to you?
AM: I mean, yeah. It seems like it worked, no?
DT: How has it been navigating your newfound fame?
AM: If I were on the [University Park Campus], maybe I would have a totally different experience and a different answer for you. But [at the Health Science Campus], it’s so quiet over here, and half of these people are doctors, like they don’t have time for my internet fame. But it’s been really fun, and I feel like I’m getting to know the SC fam a little better. I don’t know, it’s just a lot of fun.