Fifteen faculty members begin tenure-track appointments this academic year across the disciplines, and five others embark upon three-year appointments.
Receiving tenure-track appointments:
Elaine Allard '01
Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Elaine Allard '01, who began teaching part-time at Swarthmore in 2008, moves into a tenure-track appointment. Her research focuses on language minority and Latino education, and in particular the education of emergent bilinguals in U.S. secondary schools. Like most of the courses in the Department of Educational Studies, her classes offer students multiple opportunities to connect theory and practice through school and community based fieldwork, student- teaching, and research. Students in Educating Emergent Bilinguals make weekly visits to ESL, bilingual, and content classrooms in the Philadelphia region, while students in Teaching English as a Second Language plan and co-teach five-week thematic units in Philadelphia schools.
Sa'ed Atshan '06
Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies Sa'ed Atshan '06, who began teaching at Swarthmore in 2015, moves into a tenure-track appointment. Previously, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and designed and taught courses at Harvard University on social movements in the Middle East and the Arab Spring. Atshan has worked extensively on humanitarian politics and aid intervention, and conducted research into nonviolent Israeli and Palestinian social movements that counters old characterizations of nonviolence as foreign to the region. Among his many awards from prominent organizations were his Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
Assistant Professor of History Megan Brown is a historian of Modern Europe with a focus on 20th-century France, European integration, and empire. Her teaching and research interests include postwar politics, decolonization, the history of France and Algeria, and questions of citizenship. She is working on a book manuscript about the role of empire in the formation of integrated postwar European institutions (such as European coal and steel community and European economic community). This project interrogates how and why current notions of “Europe” and European identity emerged and what other possible forms of integration were debated and planned following World War II, particularly as France’s empire began to shrink.
Lei Ouyang Bryant
The scholarly interests of Associate Professor of Music and Dance Lei Ouyang Bryant include music, culture, and performance in East Asia (primarily China, Japan, and Taiwan) and Asian America. Her research examines issues of music and memory, identity, politics, race and ethnicity, popular culture, and social justice. Research projects include music and memory in the Chinese cultural revolution, race and performance in Asian American musical theater, and social justice and taiko drumming in the American midwest. Lei most recently taught music at Skidmore College.
Eva-Maria Collins will begin her appointment as associate professor of biology this spring. She was most recently an associate professor of physics and in the section of cell and developmental biology at UC San Diego. Her research has focused on the role of physical principles for living systems, including three major areas: biomechanics, asexual reproduction, and behavior and memory, with main model systems of freshwater planarians and hydras. Collins received a Lewis-Sigler Fellowship at Princeton University and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface.
Assistant Professor of Engineering Maggie Delano is an electrical engineer who develops medical devices for patients with chronic diseases. She is currently developing a home monitoring system for patients with congestive heart failure. The goal of her system is to empower patients to take control of their health and provide a feedback loop to help reduce hospitalizations. The system has already been tested in a small cohort of patients, and Delano will be developing a new iteration of the device with students at Swarthmore. She will also expand her research to include a more intentional emphasis on inclusive design in and out of the classroom.
The lab of Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry Daniela Fera is centered on understanding the development of antibodies and their interactions with other macromolecules. Antibodies play an important role in the immune system by identifying and fighting off pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. Sometimes, however, deregulated pathways can result in antibodies that target a host’s own tissues, resulting in disease. Thus, the long-term goal of the lab's research is to merge biochemical studies and three-dimensional structures to create models for guiding the development of vaccines and therapies. Students will employ a variety of biochemical techniques, including X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, to investigate these molecules and their complexes.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science Lila Fontes, who began teaching at Swarthmore last fall, moves into a tenure-track appointment. Previously, Fontes was a postdoctoral researcher at the Université Paris 7 Diderot. Her interests include the tradeoffs between online privacy and other measures like communication cost, accuracy, and optimality, and questions such as whether privacy can be traded away in return for faster computation time or better answers to computational problems. Fontes also focuses on computability, communication complexity, distributed computing, cryptography, using randomization in algorithms and proof techniques, and proof complexity.
The research interests of Assistant Professor of Engineering Vidya Ganapati include applying optimization, machine learning, and simulation to optical system design, with applications in medical and biological imaging. Ganapti was most recently a postdoctoral associate at Verily (formerly Google[x]), working on the robotic surgery team. She received her Ph.D in electrical engineering & computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. Her graduate work centered on the optimization and thermodynamics of high efficiency photovoltaics, supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship and the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Fellowship.
Assistant Professor of Art Brian Goldstein is an architectural and urban historian, with a focus on the United States in the 20th century. In particular, he is interested in the intersection of buildings and plans with race, class, and social movements, and the ways that people — both trained designers and interested amateurs — shape the places they live. His first book, The Roots of Urban Renaissance: Gentrification and the Struggle Over Harlem (2017), looks at Harlem's urban development in the latter half of the 20th century, with a focus on the role of residents in shaping the neighborhood from the 1960s to the early 2000s. He is beginning a study of the life and work of the most prominent African-American architect in the post-WWII period, J. Max Bond, Jr., whose projects include many major monuments that engage the history of race in 20th-century America.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics Joshua Goldwyn was most recently a visiting assistant professor at The Ohio State University, following postdoctoral fellowships there and at New York University’s Center for Neural Science and Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences. His research interests include mathematical and computational neuroscience, usually with applications to auditory neuroscience. The mathematical methods Goldwyn has used include dynamical systems, partial differential equations, stochastic differential equations, point process theory, and numerical simulations. He has also developed model-based approaches to characterize electrically stimulated neural activity.
Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Joseph Nelson, who began teaching at Swarthmore in 2015, moves into a tenure-track appointment as affiliated faculty with the Black Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies programs. His research has primarily examined low-income black boys' identity development within the context of single-sex schools for boys of color, an increasingly popular intervention to ameliorate the disparaging social and academic outcomes associated with Black and Latino males living in U.S. neighborhoods with concentrated poverty. His forthcoming book is entitled Never Give Up: Resilience, Academic Success, and Black Boys in Middle School (Harvard Education Press). He teaches courses on gender and education, adolescent identity development, and the sociology of education.
Assistant Professor of History Ahmad Shokr is a historian of the modern Middle East. His teaching and research interests include the political economy of empire and decolonization, the history of capitalism, the history of economic thought, environmental history, and postcolonial state formation. He is working on a book manuscript about the relationship between state power and economic management during the era of decolonization. Shokr, who holds a Ph.D. in history and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies from New York University and served as a junior research fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, teaches a variety of courses, including surveys of modern Middle East history, states and social movements in the 20th-century Middle East, the history of capitalism, and postcolonial environmental history
Assistant Professor of Political Science Jonny Thakkar completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago's Committee On Social Thought. In his dissertation, "Can There Be Philosopher-Kings In A Liberal Polity? A Reinterpretation and Reappropriation of the Ideal Theory in Plato's Republic," he showed that Plato can help us reconceive what it means to be an excellent citizen in a liberal democracy, despite himself being markedly illiberal and antidemocratic. Thakkar is also one of the founding editors of The Point, a print and digital magazine of philosophical writing. His first book project, under contract with Harvard University Press, argues for the notion of “philosopher-citizens” by way of Plato, Marx, and Rawls; a second project will concern socialism.
The research of Assistant Professor of Chinese Peng Xu focuses on theater and performance in late imperial and Republican China. She most recently spent a postdoctoral year completing a book manuscript on late 16th-century Chinese elite theater from the perspectives of gender studies and performance studies. Her articles on late Ming music and voice have appeared in T’oung Pao and Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, and she is planning a book on the new spatialities and acoustic experiences associated with modern media. As a disciple of a late master of Chinese theater, Xu has delivered many lecture-demonstrations of Peking opera and kunqu at American colleges and universities.
Receiving three-year academic appointments:
The research interests of Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics Diana Davis include low-dimensional geometry, polygonal billiards, dynamical systems, symbolic dynamics, geodesic flows, translation surfaces, and planar tilings. She was most recently a visiting assistant professor at Williams College and postdoctoral lecturer at Northwestern University and holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Brown University. She favors a pedagogical approach of problem-based, discussion-style math classes and presents examples of highly collaborative interactions with students on her Youtube channel.
Natalie Mera Ford
Natalie Mera Ford is a multilingual writing specialist for the Writing Associates Program. In this role, she provides focused language support for international and other multilingual students or faculty. She offers individual consultations, collaborates in running writing workshops, and teaches English 1F: Transitions to College Writing as well as interdisciplinary writing courses. She also serves as a fellow of The Unbinding Prometheus Project, an arts and humanities education project bringing scholars from across the University of Pennsylvania together with global institutions, artists, and public communities of learning.
Maricella Foster-Molina '07
Maricella Foster-Molina '07 is a quantitative laboratory associate for sociology & anthropology, economics, and political science. The laboratory she is developing provides quantitative support to students through workshops, one-on-one consulting, and developing curricula with faculty members. Foster-Molina did her graduate work in political science at the University of Rochester and holds a B.A. in mathematics and political science from Swarthmore. She has taught at Georgetown, University of Rochester, and SUNY Oswego, with her classes ranging from data analysis to game theory to American politics.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern Languages Madalina Meirosu specializes in comparative approaches to 19th-century political and social thought in German literature. She also has expertise in contemporary migration literature, the medical humanities, and women's and gender studies. Her current research project explores the political undertones of 19th-century literature, featuring artificial humanoids. She was most recently a visiting lecturer at Mount Holyoke College and a teaching associate at The University of Massachusetts.
Quinn Morris is visiting assistant professor of mathematics & statistics, working in the area of nonlinear partial differential equations. Prior to joining the faculty at Swarthmore, Morris earned his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Under the direction of Ratnasingham Shivaji, he studied nonlinear elliptic partial differential equations with particular emphasis on problems involving nonlinear boundary conditions. Morris earned both bachelors and masters degrees in mathematics at Wake Forest University, researching, among other subjects, the Fucik spectra of matrix and second-order differential operators.