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Jobs in the Swarthmore Biology Department

Opportunities at Swarthmore

Fall 2020 and J-term 2021 FAQs for Biology students

Technical assistants

Several technical and lab preparatory jobs are available in the Department. Students who are interested in positions in the Department should contact Diane Fritz, the Department's Administrative Coordinator, for more information.

Academic assistants

Each semester, approximately 8 students are selected by faculty and instructional staff members to serve as Biology 001 or 002 Science Associates (SAs). Selection criteria include compassion, comprehension and communication skills. Science Associates conduct evening study group meetings that focus on collaborative problem solving using lecture-based material. They attend lectures, weekly content meetings led by faculty and weekly pedagogical meetings led by the Science Associates Coordinator.

Laboratory Teaching Assistant (Lab TA) positions are available for Biology 001 and 002 and certain intermediate level courses (Genetics, Marine Biology, and Animal Physiology, for example). Selection criteria include prior experience in the course, laboratory expertise and communication skills. Each semester, approximately 5 students are selected by faculty and instructional staff members to assist in Biology 001 and Biology 002 as Lab TAs. Each Lab TA attends one preparatory meeting per week and assists in one laboratory section per week. Biology 001 and 002 Lab TAs also conduct evening laboratory help sessions several times per semester.

Students may apply for these part-time positions during the semester preceding employment at posted times. Applications may be obtained from the Biology Department office in Martin Biological Laboratory.

Summer Research at Swarthmore

The Department of Biology at Swarthmore is fortunate to have funds that specifically support student research. Summer fellowships are given to approximately 55 students across the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering for research conducted with Swarthmore College faculty on campus. The Biology Department also has several endowed funds, primarily for field research in biology, which support students working on- or off-campus. 

Students interested in research opportunities are strongly encouraged to speak to potential faculty mentors well in advance of the Spring semester application deadline. A list of students who have participated in research is available from the main office (Martin 201) if you want to talk to other students about their experience. Posters in the hallways of Martin describe some previous summer research projects. Research ranges from working on joint projects with faculty to more independent research related to Honors projects.

Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering Support

The College has research funding from the Division of Natural Sciences and from the College. Support from these sources is awarded to faculty, but students are responsible for writing the proposal in collaboration with a faculty member. Hence, meeting with faculty well in advance of the mid-February deadlines for application is strongly recommended.

A single application is used to apply for Division funds.

February 6: Student applications for NSE division research fellowships due.

February 13: Faculty letters of support due.

Summer Fellowships

Endowed funds of the Swarthmore Biology Department provide support for joint student-faculty or student initiated research in biology. Support for students is typically in the form of a summer stipend. The majority of these Biology Department funds (Meinkoth, Enders and Lande) were given to specifically support projects that in some way connect the research question to the biology of organisms in the field. If you wish to apply for such support please follow the instructions for the Division funds above. Note that occasionally the Biology Department will fund a student after the Division deadline. The department may also take special requests for partial research funding. See Vince Formica for information. Students who are applying to work with non-Swarthmore faculty off campus must submit a short letter of support from their off-campus advisor.

Robert Enders Field Research Fund

In honor of professor emeritus Robert K. Enders, Clothier Professor, the Field Research Award is given annually to a junior or senior showing great promise in biological field research. The award is to enable him or her to pursue a field research project proposed to the Department of Biology. The project may either be in collaboration with a member of the Biology Department or an independent project pursued under the supervision of a member of the Department. Results of the project are presented to the Department by the student and support is acknowledged in publications resulting from the research. The award may be used to meet the essential costs of the project to the student, including equipment, transportation, and living expenses.

Norman A. Meinkoth Field Biology Fund

Former students and friends of Norman A. Meinkoth have established this award to support both observational and experimental biological studies in a natural environment. The intent of this fund is to facilitate the joint participation of Swarthmore students and faculty in field biology projects, with priority given to marine biology. It will also support student independent research projects under field conditions.

For the two field research awards above, top priority for funding will be given to joint student-faculty ventures. Student-initiated studies receive second priority and other proposals are ranked third.

The Robert Savage Fund

The Robert Savage fund was established in 1995 to honor Robert Savage on the occasion of his retirement. The Savage Fund supports student research in cell and molecular biology. Student applications for funding will be made to the Department.

The Lande Research Fund

The S. Theodore Lande Research Fund was established in 1992 to provide support for student research in field biology both on and off campus.

Sigma Xi

Swarthmore College Sigma Xi Usually several students are supported each year. Further information can be found on the Sigma Xi website