Seven faculty members begin tenure-track appointments across the disciplines this academic year, while three others embark upon three-year appointments.
Receiving tenure-track appointments:
Cacey Bester, Physics
The research interests of Assistant Professor of Physics Cacey Bester include experimental soft condensed matter, granular flow, and sediment transport. Bester was most recently a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of Pennsylvania, following a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University, during which she also taught introductory mechanics for engineering students.
Paloma Checa-Gismero, Art History
Assistant Professor of Art History Paloma Checa-Gismero specializes in global contemporary art, biennial studies, and Latin American art. She explores the ways in which, through time, the artistic avant-garde has repeatedly become complicit in the reproduction of social disparities. Checa-Gismero focuses on tensions between the localized engaged practices of Latin American artists and their access to international circuits of circulation.
Jeffrey Gauthier, Biology
Assistant Professor of Biology Jeffrey Gauthier was most recently a postdoctoral research associate at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, examining in vivo measurements of neural activity in awake mice navigating a virtual environment. He also did postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, including multielectrode recordings in primate retina to see how color opponency arises from the sampling of individual cones.
Amanda Luby, Statistics
Assistant Professor of Statistics Amanda Luby is primarily interested in statistical models for complex human decision-making, particularly in high-stakes situations. She has worked with the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence, adapting psychometric models for forensic science settings including lineup design and proficiency exams. Luby has also worked on probabilistic graphical models for combining evidence and the application of new statistical methodology and experimental design for eyewitness identification procedures.
Benjamin Smith, Arabic
Benjamin Smith, who has been at the College as a visiting assistant professor in Arabic, is interested in Arabic language pedagogy, translation studies, and Arabic dialectology. He has spent time studying and working in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Lebanon. Smith is working on developing his dissertation project, Writing Amrika: Literary Encounters with America in Arabic Literature, into a book. This project surveys the literary history of the American encounter in Arabic fiction over the course of the 20th century, as a means of understanding the nuances of this fraught relationship and the identity politics foregrounded therein.
Barbara Thelamour, Psychology
The research interests of Assistant Professor of Psychology Barbara Thelamour are developmental and cultural in focus. Specifically, she is interested in how interpersonal relationships with parents and peers influence various outcomes in Black immigrant adolescents and emerging adults, including identity development and academic achievement and engagement. In this line of research, Thelamour also examines how various contexts (e.g., schools and national contexts) shape these processes.
Ian Whitehead, Mathematics & Statistics
Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Ian Whitehead is a number theorist who specializes in automorphic forms, L-functions, and multiple Dirichlet series. His primary interest centers on the construction of automorphic forms with infinite-dimensional spaces, and multivariable Dirichlet series with infinite groups of functional equations. He also explores questions in analytic number theory, algebraic geometry, representation theory of Kac-Moody groups, and metaplectic automorphic forms.
Receiving three-year academic appointments:
Candice Signor-Brown, Women’s Basketball
Candice Signor-Brown joins Swarthmore as head women’s basketball coach, Department of Athletics and Physical Education. Signor-Brown most recently coached at Vassar College, where she guided the Brewers on their 2018–19 run to the NCAA Tournament and earned the Liberty League’s Coaching Staff of the Year recognition for the third time. The team also had the second-highest GPA in all of Division III last year, reflecting the importance Signor-Brown places on the academic success of her student-athletes.
Deborah Schmidt, Physics and Astronomy
Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Deborah Schmidt’s research interests include radio astronomy, astrochemistry, circumstellar envelopes, planetary nebulae, and the interstellar medium. Schmidt recently earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona, where, as a researcher, she investigated the molecular content of asymptotic giant branch stars, supergiants, and planetary nebulae and developed several programs in Python and MatLab to increase the efficiency of the data analysis process.
Suzanne Thornton, Mathematics
The research interests of Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Suzanne Thornton include computational statistics, confidence distribution, Bayesian statistics, foundations of statistics, statistical computing, statistical inference, and statistical applications. Thornton recently earned a Ph.D. in statistics and biostatistics from Rutgers University, where she also taught graduate courses and served as a part-time statistical consultant. She earned the Presidential Fellowship Award from Rutgers’ School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.