Programs Supported by Previous HHMI Grants

Science Associates Program (2008-2012)

The Science Associates program is an intensive intervention in introductory science courses with the goal of increasing the success and retention of students in the sciences. The goal is to help students learn and practice essential analytical and quantitative skills. Faculty design challenge problems for weekly Study Group Meetings, and Science Associates facilitate the group problem-solving activity.

Biomedical Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship

This is a three-year Fellowship that will allow the Fellow to develop strong collaborative relationships with faculty in the Biology and Mathematics/Statistics Department, as well as establish mentoring relationships with Swarthmore undergraduates.


In his brief time at Swarthmore, Dr. Sean Laverty worked with faculty, staff, and students of the biology department. He consulted with two biology honors thesis students: one on population genetics and one on heat shock proteins in plant root tips. Also, in collaboration with Dr. Victor Donnay of Bryn Mawr College, Laverty co-mentored a mathematics honors thesis at Bryn Mawr that investigated the epidemiology of guinea worm disease in humans. In the fall of 2011, Dr. Laverty co-hosted a Tri-College meeting (Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford) on mathematical modeling with faculty from the departments of mathematics, biology, economics, psychology, and computer science. In the spring of 2012, Laverty developed an extensive catalog of epidemiological models (implemented in Java) for a three-week web-based series in Dr. Vollmer's Microbiology course. Also, in the spring of 2012, Laverty discussed the role of mathematical modeling in thinking about 'Darwinian medicine,' epidemiology, and the evolution of parasite virulence with Dr. Jason Rauscher and his Evolution classes. In the early summer, he worked with an Honors biology major to develop a mathematical model of the immunodynamics of cancer. In the fall of 2012, Dr. Laverty begins a position at the University of Central Oklahoma where he will be teaching mathematics and applied mathematics, and co-developing and teaching Calculus for Biologists.


Dr. Sarah Hews collaborations with biologists during her tenure at Swarthmore enriched the biology curriculum in several specific ways. For example, to enhance a 3-week laboratory investigation of the lac operon in Biology 1, Hews developed a Concept Mapping exercise. Also, as a guest lecturer in Biology 1, Dr. Hews discussed the strategies and benefits of modeling as illustrated by classic models of the action potential and the lac operon. In Spring 2011, Hews collaborated with Dr. Amy Vollmer to develop exercises to model for Myxobacteria swarming and feeding for an intermediate-level Microbiology course. Student reviews were overwhelmingly favorable. They strongly agreed that it should be retained in the Microbiology lab syllabus, and many also indicated that modeling was an area where they wanted more training. Dr. Hews is currently an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Hampshire College -