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Faculty Grant Profiles

Swarthmore faculty receive external grants to support their research, their teaching and other scholarly and creative projects, and their sabbatical activities.

The featured projects below tell the story of faculty innovation and pursuit of new knowledge and expression, across the liberal arts, sciences and engineering. Grants are organized alphabetically by academic department and then the faculty member's last name.

A comprehensive list of sponsored research since 2015 can be found on this page.

If you are a faculty member with a current individual fellowship that you would like to be featured, please email mcrouch1@swarthmore.edu.

 

Humanities Faculty
Art & Art History

Brian Goldstein

Brian Goldstein

Sunset Over Sunset: Exploring the Street-Level View of Postwar Urban Redevelopment Using Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles Photography

SPONSOR:  National Endowment for the Humanities
AWARD DATE:  12/14/2020

The artist Ed Ruscha’s 1966 photographic book, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, depicted a continuous view of both sides of the famed street, shot from his truck. Less well-known are the images he created by repeating this drive every few years across Sunset. Sunset over Sunset is a collaborative project that will spatially organize and interpret the vast and unparalleled archive of Ruscha's Sunset Boulevard photographs, recently digitized by the Getty Research Institute, to gain new perspectives into the histories of urban development, photography, architecture, and planning. The project advances the digital humanities by building a replicable, open-source model for making street-level photographs and other address-based data sets broadly accessible as primary sources and by joining visual and non-visual evidence to create a novel resource for place-based research by scholars and the general public. This is a collaborative project with Francesca Ammon (University of Pennsylvania) and Garrett Dash Nelson (Leventhal Map & Education Center).

PROJECT PERIOD:  01/01/2021 – 12/31/2022

Ron Tarver

Ron Tarver headshot

An Overdue Conversation with My Father and The Long Ride Home

SPONSOR: JOHN SIMON GUGGENHEIM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 04/08/2021

As a Guggenheim Fellow, Ron Tarver will continue his most recent work, entitled An Overdue Conversation with My Father, which involves the appropriation of photographs his father, Richard Tarver, produced in the 1940s and 50s. These constructed contemporary images reflect on the pervasive legacy of racial strife of the era that parallels the experience of similar Black communities. Additionally, he will create a book and exhibition curated from thousands of color transparencies of people in the Black community who celebrate a western heritage. With the working title “The Long Ride Home: The Black Cowboy Experience in America,” this work will recognize the multifaceted narratives intentionally forgotten in the great American myth of the West. These photographs reaffirm this thriving culture of Black-owned ranches, rodeo operations, parades, inner-city cowboys, and retired cowhands.

PROJECT PERIOD: 06/01/2021-05/31/2022

This is an independent faculty award.

English Literature

Bakirathi Mani

 

Bakirathi Mani in front of a colorful mosaic

Visiting Faculty Fellowship

SPONSOR: CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF RACE AND ETHNICITY IN AMERICA, BROWN UNIVERSITY
AWARD DATE: 05/28/2021

During the fellowship period, Mani will work on a public-facing book on race, representation, and South Asian diasporic identity. This monograph investigates the relationship between photography and racial belonging, situating the family photograph as a social text that captures the intimate domestic as well as public historical dimensions of racialized citizenship among South Asians in diaspora. Taking as a starting point Mani's personal archive of photographs, mapping her family’s migration from India to Japan to the Middle East and United States across three generations, the book incorporates close readings of photographic images alongside oral histories of migration. Mani deploys the family album in order to reflect on what it means for racialized immigrants to create archives of self-representation. 

Project period: 08/31/2021-12/07/2021

This is an independent faculty award.

MUSIC & DANCE

James Blasina

James Blasina standing outside

Summer Stipend: Gender, Nation, and Empire in Music for St. Katherine of Alexandria, 1050–1400

 

Sponsor: National Endowment for the Humanities

Award Date: 04/13/2022

 

During the Middle Ages, devotion to St. Katherine of Alexandria galvanized countless ordinary people to make pilgrimage to her relics, and artists, writers, architects, and musicians to create lasting works in her honor. Yet, despite her widespread appeal and representation, no evidence supports Katherine’s historical existence. How can we account for the breadth and fame of the cult of this apocryphal saint? James Blasina’s forthcoming monograph looks to a large but understudied body of evidence for the initial flourishing of Katherine’s cult: liturgical chant. Examining representations of St. Katherine in musical sources from c. 1050 to c. 1400, the book demonstrates that St. Katherine rose to prominence in the earliest centuries of her cult because she functioned as both an emblem of power in the consolidation of states and hierarchies, but also as a voice of gendered dissent for individuals and communities who were increasingly marginalized over the same period.

 


Project Period: 06/01/2022-08/31/2022

Philosophy

 

Krista Thomason

Krista Thomason

 

Worms in the Garden: Bad Feelings in a Good Life

SPONSOR: NATIONAL HUMANITIES CENTER
AWARD DATE: 04/20/2021

Dr. Thomason will spend an academic year as the Philip L. Quinn Fellow at the National Humanities Center to complete her book, Worms in the Garden: Bad Feelings in a Good Life. Figures in the history of philosophy from Seneca to Śāntideva have warned about the damaging effects of negative emotions. Today, the burgeoning wellness industry offers apps and other tools for overcoming negativity. Worms in the Garden is an apology for bad feelings. Philosophers argue that our emotions are reflections of what we care about or what matters to us. Feeling compassion for others, for instance, shows that we care about their suffering. Dr. Thomason argues that negative emotions are no different: they show that we value ourselves. Human emotional life is like a complex ecosystem, and bad feelings are the worms. Ecosystems aren’t better off without their worms and neither are we. The trick is learning how to enjoy our gardens, worms and all.

PROJECT PERIOD: 09/21/2021 - 05/22/2022

This is an independent faculty award.

Religion

Steven Hopkins

Steven Hopkins pictured outside

A Work of Tears

Sponsor: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Award Date: 04/08/2021

As a Guggenheim Fellow, Professor Hopkins will continue his work on women’s lamentation as ethical witness, producing a scholarly article and a book manuscript, A Work of Tears. This project is the culmination of fifteen years of interdisciplinary study, bringing together Greek, Greek Christian, South Asian Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish sources and traditions. Using the methodologies of comparative literature and the comparative history of religions, this study will uncover pre-modern roots of female witness in the service of a virtue ethics whose condition is that of mourning. Such an ethics is rooted not only in attentiveness to personal pain and personal witness but to the pain of others, giving rise to the possibility of awakening empathy and compassion, and not only rage or revenge.

Project Period: 01/01/2022-06/30-2022

This is an independent faculty award.

 

Spanish

Luciano Martínez

Luciano Martinez

Radical Desires: Homosexuality and Revolution in Latin America

SPONSOR:  U.S. Department of Education
Award Date:  03/29/2018

This library travel research grant, administered by the University of Florida and funded through the Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center program, will support travel for Dr. Martínez to explore the vast holdings of the university’s Latin American and Caribbean Collection (LACC). This research project focuses on sexual liberation and political revolution movements in Latin America. Working at the intersection of literary criticism, cultural studies, and gender studies, the resulting book will map and analyze cultural and literary representations of Latin American homosexuality in relation to the political agendas of the revolutionary left and the sexual liberation movement of the 1970s.

Project Period:  04/01/2018 – 07/31/2018

 

Natural Sciences and Engineering Faculty
Biology

Carolyn Bauer

Carolyn Bauer in a mask at a whiteboard teaching three students

Collaborative Research: IRES Track I: Stronger Together: Exploring How Communal Care Reduces Individual Costs During Challenging Years

SPONSOR: National Science Foundation
AWARD DATE: 04/16/2021

With funding from NSF’s International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program, Dr. Carolyn Bauer at Swarthmore is participating in this collaborative research project with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that studies how ecology shapes the reproductive consequences of communal breeding, a social strategy in which multiple mothers nurse offspring communally. In particular, this field study will examine how challenging environmental conditions influence physiological development of communally breeding Octodon degus, a social rodent endemic to Chile. This collaborative grant supports 5-6 students (both undergraduate and graduate students) per year. Collaborating institutions include four academic institutions in Chile (P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Chile, Universidad Andres Bello, and Universidad Mayor).

PROJECT PERIOD: 04/15/2021 - 03/31/2023

Functional Analysis of Locus-Specific Pericentric Satellite Expression

SPONSOR: National Institutes of Health
AWARD DATE: 9/5/2019

The goal of this project is to understand the basic structure and function of specific DNA sequences found near chromosomal centromeres – constricted regions to which spindle fibers attach, enabling duplicated chromosomes to segregate to opposite poles of a dividing cell. Tandemly repeated DNA sequences reside within these regions of chromosomes and have been historically poorly studied due to difficulties in the genomic assembly of repetitive DNA sequences. In cancer cells, these repetitive sequences are misregulated such that they become expressed, and we aim to understand both their sequence diversity and consequences of their expression. The proposed project promises to engage and train undergraduate researchers in innovative genomics, cytological and proteomics techniques, which will propel future careers in genomics and biomedical research.

PROJECT PERIOD: 9/5/2019 - 8/31/2023

Dawn Carone headshot

Dawn Carone

 

Elucidating the impact of the Npc1nmf164 mutation in the postnatal cerebellar development of a mouse mode of Niemann-Pick TypeC disease

Sponsor: Rowan University/National Institutes of Health
Award Date: 8/24/2018

Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) is an inherited lysosomal storage disease often caused by mutations in Npc1, a protein that exports cholesterol out of the lysosomes, resulting in abnormal accumulation of cholesterol and other lipids in endosomes and lysosomes.  NPC results in significant neurological symptoms, including ataxia, cognitive impairment, and dementia, that lead to premature death. Professor Carone’s preliminary research indicates cellular and structural changes in susceptible neurons and microglial cells are occurring during postnatal developmental stages and this study further explores how protein mutations related to NPC impact the cerebellum during the postnatal development stage.

Project Period: 8/1/2018 - 7/31/2021

Karen Chan

Karen Chan portrait

SICB 2023 Symposium: Large-scale phenomena arising from small-scale biophysical processes

Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Date: 08/02/2022

This award supports a symposium and a workshop at the January 2023 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB). The symposium brings together biologists and engineers studying questions about emerging large-scale influences of single cells in different study systems. Single cells, despite their small size, can organize and behave in ways that have unexpected and wide-reaching consequences. The speakers will present and discuss the latest findings and techniques, marrying state-of-the-art field, laboratory, and mathematical approaches. There will also be a complementary workshop to discuss strategies for engaging in successful cross-disciplinary research to promote the use of mathematics, physics and engineering tools to address biological problems. Results from the meeting and workshop will be published in the Society’s journal, Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Project Period: 10/01/2022 - 09/30/2023 

 

Swarthmore Co-PI: Carr Everbach, Engineering

Collaborative Research: IOS:RUI: Hydrodynamic consequences of spines on zooplankton: Functional morphology of horns and tails on barnacle nauplii

SPONSOR: National Science Foundation
AWARD DATE: 02/10/2022

Zooplankton, a collection of morphologically diverse microscopic animals and larvae that swim in the water column, are a vital link in marine food webs.  Many of them have elongated body extensions or spines. The function of these spines is not well understood. This project will use larval barnacles to elucidate general principles about the hydrodynamic consequences of spines at the size and speed range of zooplankton and improve understanding of the functioning of critical larval stages of barnacles. This collaboration between Swarthmore College and the University of California Berkeley will enable teams of undergraduates from various majors to gain authentic cross-disciplinary research experience.

PROJECT PERIOD: 05/01/2022-04/30/2025

Eva-Maria Collins

Eva-Maria Collins in front of a blackboard

Swarthmore Co-PI: Ameet Soni, Computer Science

Inferring Brain Function via Quantitative Behavioral Phenotyping in Free-Moving Planarians

SPONSOR: The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation of The Pittsburgh Foundation
AWARD DATE: 11/17/2021

How the brain works is a key question in biology and medicine. Because behavior is an accessible readout of brain function, it can be used as a gateway to understand how the brain works. The asexual freshwater planarian Dugesia japonica is ideally suited for studies of behavior, because its brain is of intermediate complexity and shares key neuronal genes and neurotransmitters with humans. This project will reveal the natural behavioral realm of this freshwater planarian using a novel behavioral classification system that can be used to predict which neuronal functions are affected by genetic or chemical perturbations. If successful, this project will yield new insights into the neuronal control of behavior that are relevant to more complex organisms, including humans.

PROJECT PERIOD: 11/1/2021 - 10/31/2023

 

RUI: Investigating non-linear tissue deformations using Hydra mouth opening as a quantitative in vivo model

Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Date: 09/10/2021

Epithelial tissues are found throughout the body and exercise a variety of critical functions. They also withstand extreme deformations: bending, stretching, and compression. This project creates an interdisciplinary research and education program aimed at characterizing the causes and effects of extreme deformations in epithelial tissues in the freshwater polyp Hydra. Professor Collins will study Hydra mouth opening, a physiologically important process that relies exclusively on tissue deformation wherein epithelial cells experience azimuthal strains up to 200% within tens of seconds. Mouth opening is quick and can be visualized using epifluorescence microscopy. Professor Collins will design a 3-week mouth opening laboratory module for her Systems Biology course, as well as a hands-on exercise on Hydra behavior for the Science for Kids program at Swarthmore College, which serves children from the neighboring town of Chester.

Project period: 09/15/2021-08/31/2024

 

Undergraduate Faculty Research Grant

Sponsor: Society of Toxicology 
Award Date: 04/27/2021

This grant will support two undergraduate students studying the effect of chemicals on neural function in the planarian Dugesia japonica. This invertebrate system is small, inexpensive, and easy to maintain, making it suitable for undergraduate research and rapid chemical screening. Utilizing a robust and sensitive robotic platform with multiple distinct behavioral endpoints, Dr. Collins’s group leads the field in chemical high-throughput screening (HTS) in planarians. Through close collaboration with Dr. Collins and other lab members, students will learn how to critically interpret their data, work effectively in a team, and present their results in written and oral form through weekly reports and regular lab meetings.

Project Period: 09/01/2021-05/31/2022

Bradley Davidson

Bradley Davidson headshot

RUI: Comparative analysis of endocytic trafficking during cell division

SPONSOR: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 04/16/2021

This collaborative research project between Swarthmore, Colby College, and Princeton University explores the interplay between cell division and signals that cells exchange to coordinate their behavior. Signal-dependent coordination of cell behavior is essential for the growth of all life forms. Signaling also plays a crucial role in dividing stem cells. Errors in signaling are the primary cause of cancer. The combined expertise will enable comprehensive investigations of signaling in dividing cells using an array of organisms, along with cutting edge genetic manipulation and imaging technologies. Additionally, this collaboration will pursue an ambitious outreach program which will include the development of a class focused on cancer biology for elementary school students in an underserved school district as part of the established Science for Kids summer program at Swarthmore College and integration between Summer Scholars Programs at Colby, Princeton and Swarthmore which focus on preparing URM and other diverse students for a successful college transition.

PROJECT PERIOD: 05/01/2021-04/30/2024

 

EAGER: Exploration of evolutionary mechanisms across multiple scales


SPONSOR: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

AWARD DATE: 01/10/2021

This research project, funded by NSF’s Early-Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) and in collaboration with the University of Florida and the University of Georgia, will address questions of evolution and embryonic development through the comparative study of two sea squirts (a group of marine organisms closely related to humans and other vertebrates). In particular, this research will focus on a very poorly characterized group of sea squirts called the doliolids. Doliolids have acquired a number of highly divergent traits including the ability to produce four distinct body types specifically designed for feeding, dispersal, aesexual reproduction or sexual reproduction. The relative simplicity of sea squirt genomes and the low number of cells in sea squirt embryos will facilitate rigorous analysis of the evolutionary acquisition of new traits across multiple biological scales. This project will also provide a diverse group of trainees, including those that identify with groups underrepresented in the biological sciences, the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research spanning computational, molecular, cellular, developmental, ecological and evolutionary biology.

PROJECT PERIOD: 01/15/2021 - 12/31/2022

Jeff Gauthier

Jeff Gauthier headshot

Tracking Long Term Memories in the Hippocampus

SPONSOR: Pennsylvania Department of Health
AWARD DATE: 11/30/2021

The Gauthier lab aims to understand how the brain supports cognition, in particular learning and memory. To study the mechanisms of these processes, the lab employs a mouse model system that allows for rich measurements of neural activity. The project will develop a method for studying neural activity on much longer time scales than was previously possible. Though the project focuses exclusively on questions of basic science, the findings could eventually lead to better understanding of human diseases that affect memory, such as Alzheimers, or suggest new algorithms for artificial intelligence.

PROJECT PERIOD: 6/1/2021 - 5/31/2025

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Daniela Fera

Daniela Fera

Dissecting the interactions and conformations of protein kinases to understand biochemical signaling

SPONSOR: RESEARCH CORPORATION FOR SCIENCE ADVANCEMENT
AWARD DATE: 02/19/2021

Protein kinases act as molecular on/off switches in the cell. They are important for intracellular communication and their functions vary from controlling cell growth and metabolism to controlling cell death. With funding from the Cottrell Scholars program, the proposed research will focus on a protein kinase, called Lyn, which is a critical regulator of the immune response. Researchers in both the Fera lab and in Prof. Fera’s biochemistry lab course will perform a molecular “dissection” of Lyn and its regulatory modules using approaches from structural biology, biochemistry, and biophysics, to understand what keeps Lyn “off” until triggered to turn “on”. This is important for understanding how the immune system acts against the correct targets, i.e. outside “invaders”, and how to modulate the pathways in cases in which they are deregulated and might cause autoimmune disease. The approaches used in these analyses will also provide a proof-of-concept for studying other dynamic molecules and how they interact with other macromolecules to get a wider view of signaling inside a cell. Through this work, students will engage in authentic research experiences, gain skills that will help them in future scientific endeavors, and make important contributions to science.

PROJECT PERIOD: 07/01/2021 - 06/30/2024

 

Dissecting the interactions and conformations of protein kinases to understand biochemical signaling

SPONSOR: RESEARCH CORPORATION FOR SCIENCE ADVANCEMENT
AWARD DATE: 02/19/2021

Protein kinases act as molecular on/off switches in the cell. They are important for intracellular communication and their functions vary from controlling cell growth and metabolism to controlling cell death. With funding from the Cottrell Scholars program, the proposed research will focus on a protein kinase, called Lyn, which is a critical regulator of the immune response. Researchers in both the Fera lab and in Prof. Fera’s biochemistry lab course will perform a molecular “dissection” of Lyn and its regulatory modules using approaches from structural biology, biochemistry, and biophysics, to understand what keeps Lyn “off” until triggered to turn “on”. This is important for understanding how the immune system acts against the correct targets, i.e. outside “invaders”, and how to modulate the pathways in cases in which they are deregulated and might cause autoimmune disease. The approaches used in these analyses will also provide a proof-of-concept for studying other dynamic molecules and how they interact with other macromolecules to get a wider view of signaling inside a cell. Through this work, students will engage in authentic research experiences, gain skills that will help them in future scientific endeavors, and make important contributions to science.

PROJECT PERIOD: 07/01/2021 - 06/30/2024

 

Analysis of the Initiation of an HIV Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Lineage in a Single Host

SPONSOR: NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
AWARD DATE: 03/23/2020

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a rapidly evolving pathogen that escapes immune defenses provided by most vaccine-induced antibodies. Proposed strategies to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) by vaccination require a deeper understanding of evolution of the immune response to infection, since these protective antibodies typically take ~4-5 years to develop. In HIV-infected individuals, viruses and antibody producing B-cells evolve together, creating a virus-antibody “arms race,” with populations of viruses and antibodies present throughout infection. This research will analyze critical early time-points of the arms race in a donor who developed antibodies of significant breadth, to guide immunogen design. Undergraduate research students supported by this Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will explore an issue of critical public health importance using cutting-edge techniques, be co-authors on published work and be mentored by experts committed to their long-term career development.

PROJECT PERIOD: 04/01/2020 – 03/31/2023

Christopher Graves

Development of a tunable redox-active aluminum catalyst system for the atom transfer radical polymerization of olefins

SPONSOR: American Chemical Society 
AWARD DATE: 12/01/2021

The development of more sustainable chemical processes is a central challenge in chemistry. Aluminum is readily available, inexpensive, and non-toxic. The development of aluminum complexes that act as catalysts for high-impact chemical reactions serves as an important challenge of significance to green and sustainable chemistry. An area where aluminum complexes have not found widespread utility is as reagents for redox-based transformations. Dr. Graves’s lab has been addressing this unmet challenge through the synthesis of aluminum complexes of redox-active ligands. Through synergistic reactivity between the aluminum ion and a ligand, these complexes offer novel reaction pathways that expand the utility of aluminum-based catalysts. This project will expand the research program to address needs in polymer science. Specifically, the project team will seek to develop a new set of aluminum complexes supporting both a tris-pyrazolylborate (Tp) ligand, as a highly modifiable auxiliary, and an ⍺-diimine ligand, as a source of redox activity.

PROJECT PERIOD: 1/1/2022 - 8/31/2025

 

Enabling New Catalytic Chemistry for Aluminum with non-Innocent and Recox-Active Ligands

SPONSOR: The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

AWARD DATE: 7/25/2019

PROJECT PERIOD : 7/25/2019 - 7/24/2024

 

Kathleen Howard

Kathleen Howard

 

Characterization of the interaction of M1 and M2: Influenza A proteins critical to viral assembly

SPONSOR: National Institutes of Health
AWARD DATE: 8/23/2019

The threat of future influenza pandemics, coupled with the growing resistance to current antiviral drugs, makes the development of new influenza drugs a national healthcare priority. This proposal describes experiments designed to provide an atomic-level understanding of how influenza viruses assemble and then bud from infected cells. This structural information could inform efforts to inhibit the replication of viruses, offering a significant potential for a new generation of anti-flu drugs. Undergraduate research students supported by this award will explore an issue of critical public health importance using cutting edge biophysical techniques, participate in established interdisciplinary collaborations, be co-authors on published work and be mentored by experts committed to their long-term career development.

PROJECT PERIOD: 9/1/2019 - 8/31/2022

Liliya Yatsunyk

Liliya Yatsunyk

Mitochondrial G-quadruplex structures in health and disease

SPONSOR: National Institutes of Health
AWARD DATE: 10/13/2020

The mitochondrial genome has been implicated as a paradigm for G-quadruplex structure formation, but the function of these structures in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is unknown. This study, led by Dr. Brett Kaufman at the University of Pittsburgh, will establish the location, regulation, response and resolution of G-quadruplex structures the mitochondrial genome and will lay the groundwork for using sequence-specific formation of G-quadruplexes to treat disease. Dr. Yatsunyk will use various methods to perform biophysical screening of a large number of mtDNA derived sequences. The objective is to determine the G4 forming potential of mtDNA derived sequences.

PROJECT PERIOD: 08/01/2020  - 06/30/2024

Computer Science

Ameet Soni

Ameet Soni headshot

Swarthmore Co-PI: Eva-Maria Collins, Biology

Inferring Brain Function via Quantitative Behavioral Phenotyping in Free-Moving Planarians

SPONSOR: The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation of The Pittsburgh Foundation
AWARD DATE: 11/17/2021

How the brain works is a key question in biology and medicine. Because behavior is an accessible readout of brain function, it can be used as a gateway to understand how the brain works. The asexual freshwater planarian Dugesia japonica is ideally suited for studies of behavior, because its brain is of intermediate complexity and shares key neuronal genes and neurotransmitters with humans. This project will reveal the natural behavioral realm of this freshwater planarian using a novel behavioral classification system that can be used to predict which neuronal functions are affected by genetic or chemical perturbations. If successful, this project will yield new insights into the neuronal control of behavior that are relevant to more complex organisms, including humans.

PROJECT PERIOD: 11/1/2021 - 10/31/2023

Kevin Webb & Tia Newhall

Kevin Webb and Tia Newhall portrait photos

Developing Dynamic and Interactive Materials to Teach Computing Systems Concepts to All Students

 

Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Date: 03/17/2022

 

An understanding of computers and how they work is increasingly viewed as a necessary skill to operate in the modern world. While a number of free initiatives exist for introducing learners to basic programming skills, there is a lack of emphasis on increasing student comprehension of computer systems, knowledge crucial to gaining competencies in highly-sought technology areas. Professors Webb and Newhall, along with Dr. Suzanne Matthews (United States Military Academy, West Point), developed an award-winning free online textbook, Dive into Systems. The textbook provides an accessible introduction to computer systems, computer organization, and parallel and distributed computing. Funding from the National Science Foundation to Swarthmore and West Point will support enhancements to Dive Into Systems such as interactive learning exercises, animated video content, and broader dissemination of the materials through engagement with the CS community.

 

Project Period: 04/01/2022 - 03/31/2025

Engineering

Carr Everbach

Image of Carr Everbach

Swarthmore Co-PI: Karen Chan, Biology

Collaborative Research: IOS:RUI: Hydrodynamic consequences of spines on zooplankton: Functional morphology of horns and tails on barnacle nauplii

SPONSOR: National Science Foundation
AWARD DATE: 02/10/2022

Zooplankton, a collection of morphologically diverse microscopic animals and larvae that swim in the water column, are a vital link in marine food webs.  Many of them have elongated body extensions or spines. The function of these spines is not well understood. This project will use larval barnacles to elucidate general principles about the hydrodynamic consequences of spines at the size and speed range of zooplankton and improve understanding of the functioning of critical larval stages of barnacles. This collaboration between Swarthmore College and the University of California Berkeley will enable teams of undergraduates from various majors to gain authentic cross-disciplinary research experience.

PROJECT PERIOD: 05/01/2022-04/30/2025

 

Scar Detection and Treatment with Droplet Activation

SPONSOR: NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
AWARD DATE: 07/28/2020

The application of microbubbles to diagnostic and therapeutic modalities has been vast from tumor imaging to drug delivery to sonothrombolysis. The main limitations of microbubbles is their stability after venous administration as well as their size, which constrains them to the intravascular compartment. Recent development of phase-change agents (PCAs) has led to expanded applications of ultrasound contrast and movement into the extravascular space. In collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Professor Everbach will provide cavitation monitoring and quantification for in-vitro studies of the effect of ultrasound on perfluorocarbon liquid droplets in a model (non-living) system.

PROJECT PERIOD: 04/01/2020 – 03/31/2024

Mathematics & Statistics

Victor Barranca

Victor Barranca sitting outside

RUI: Compressive Sensing and Neuronal Network Structure-Function Relationships

sponsor:  National Science Foundation
Award Date:  05/16/2018

Revealing the relationship between neuronal network structure and brain function is of central importance to neuroscience and applied mathematics. However, measuring the connectivity of large neuronal networks remains a challenge both experimentally and theoretically. This project formulates a novel framework for the reconstruction and characterization of neuronal connectivity by taking advantage of the widespread network sparsity found in the brain and utilizing recent advances in compressive-sensing (CS) theory.

Project Period:  06/15/2018 – 05/31/2022

 

Linda Chen

Linda Chen headshot

Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Date: 06/21/2021

Algebraic geometry is a central area of mathematics that studies varieties, which are geometric objects defined by systems of polynomial equations. Moduli theory aims to understand specific varieties by considering how they behave in a family of such varieties. A moduli space consists of all geometric objects of a particular type. This research project consists of problems that arise from the fruitful interactions between algebraic geometry and new developments in other fields of mathematics such as combinatorics, which is concerned with organizing and analyzing discrete structures. This project will fund undergraduate research and Dr. Chen will continue efforts towards broadening participation of members of underrepresented groups in the mathematical sciences.

Project Period: 07/01/2021-06/30-2024

 

Mid-Atlantic Algebra, Geometry, and Combinatorics Workshop

SPONSOR: National Science Foundation
AWARD DATE: 02/15/2017

Swarthmore College is a partner institution in this collaboration with Haverford College, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The Mid-Atlantic Algebra, Geometry, and Combinatorics (MAAGC) workshop is an annual conference series held in Philadelphia which brings together senior researchers and junior mathematicians to promote collaborations and regional interactions. Each MAAGC workshop has brought four outstanding mathematicians from across North America to give talks about new advances in algebraic combinatorics, algebraic geometry, representation theory, and other related fields.  MAAGC workshops are designed to strengthen and connect the scientific communities in algebra, geometry, and combinatorics by facilitating positive interactions among students, postdocs, and faculty at research universities as well as small colleges in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Project period: 03/01/2017-02/28/2022

 

Equivariant and Combinatorial Algebraic Geometry

sponsor:  The Simons Foundation
Award Date:  01/30/2017

The Simons Foundation has awarded a grant to Dr. Chen to support her research on combinatorial and enumerative problems in algebraic geometry, and fruitful interactions between modern methods in algebraic geometry and new developments in combinatorics, representation theory, symplectic geometry, and other fields. Fundamentally linked to these problems are the study of moduli and parameter spaces and their cohomology theories, and the study of objects that are combinatorially rich in structure.  Her work discusses recent and ongoing work on equivariant and quantam Schubert calculus of homogeneous spaces, brill-Noether theory of curves, K-theory of degeneracy loci, affine Grassmannians, Hessenberg varieties, and generalizations of the moduli space of curves.

Project Period: 09/01/2017 - 08/31/2024

RUI: Combinatorial Algebraic Geometry: Curves and Their Moduli

 

Joshua Goldwyn

Joshua Goldwyn

RUI: Structural and Dynamical Specializations of Axons that Enhance Neural Coincidence Detection

SPONSOR: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 03/11/2020

Mathematical research has led to essential insights into the dynamics of neurons and function of the brain. The long-term goals of our work are to create new mathematical methods that describe auditory centers in the brain and advance knowledge of the auditory system and hearing. In this Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) project, we will study neurons in the auditory brainstem of mammals and birds that are essential components of how animals determine the locations of sound sources. We will develop mathematical theory to explain the biophysical and dynamical specializations of these coincidence detector neurons and also consider how hearing loss may degrade neural coincidence detection.  A central component of the project is the training of undergraduate students in computational neuroscience, a fast-growing field at the interface of mathematics and neuroscience.   

PROJECT PERIOD: 06/01/2020 - 05/31/2024

Amanda Luby

Image of Amanda Luby

Implementation of Item Response Theory to improve forensic proficiency testing

SPONSOR: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS & TECHNOLOGY (NIST)
AWARD DATE: 07/10/2020

Fingerprints have been used as evidence in criminal cases for decades, and their probative value has been reaffirmed in countless legal decisions. Yet, in recent decades, questions have arisen about the accuracy with which an examiner can identify the source of a blurry, partial print, and about the probability of observing a match between two prints made by different fingers. One way to assess examiner performance in real criminal cases is through tests of examiner performance, e.g., proficiency tests or error rate studies. Although proficiency tests are widely used in forensic science for training and  procedural purposes, they are not being utilized to their full potential. This project proposes an industry-wide adoption of Item Response Theory (IRT), which is well-established in the field of educational testing, to improve forensic proficiency testing. This is a collaboration with the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE).

PROJECT PERIOD: 06/01/2020 - 05/31/2025

Physics & Astronomy

David Cohen

David Cohen in the office

 

Modeling Rotationally Modulated X-ray Variability in Massive Star Winds Using Co-rotating Interaction Regions

Sponsor: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Award Date: 03/22/2022

Massive stars produce very hot gas and associated X-ray emission in their dense, radiatively-driven winds. In recent years, time-variable X-ray emission has been reported in an increasing number of massive stars, leading to the hypothesis that large-scale wind structures, modulated by the rotation of the star, produce the observed X-ray variability.  As part of the NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory's theory program, co-investigators Dr. David Cohen and Dr. Alexandre David-Uraz (Howard University) will conduct the first detailed, non-isothermal 2D and 3D hydrodynamic simulations to assess the role of so-called co-rotating interaction regions in the production and modulation of X-rays. These new models will help interpret data from Chandra and other X-ray telescopes, shedding light on the puzzling physics of the origin of the large-scale wind structures.

Project Period: 03/01/2022 - 02/29/2024

 

 

Where are the shocks in O Star Winds? Understanding constraints from f/i ratios in He-like ions

SPONSOR: SMITHSONIAN ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY
AWARD DATE: 02/16/2021

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is a telescope designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. The Chandra X-ray Center operates the satellite, processes the data, and distributes it to scientists around the world for analysis. The most massive and luminous stars in the Galaxy produce X-rays in their outflowing stellar winds. In this project, we will model the relative strengths of particular emission lines seen in Chandra spectra in order to determine the distance above the surface of the star at which the X-rays are produced. This will inform theories of the X-ray production itself. Undergraduate students will be significantly involved in this labor and data intensive effort, gaining important experience in x-ray astrophysics.

PROJECT PERIOD: 01/11/2021-01/10/2023

 

Amy Graves & Cacey Bester

Amy Graves and Cacey Bester

Collaborative Research: RUI: Jammed granular matter within networks of pins: Structure, elasticity, plasticity and rheology under shear

SPONSOR: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 11/25/2019

This study aims to engage computational and experimental studies in the active, modern fields of jamming and clogging, employing a novel strategy of imposing controlled pinning sites. Such a study will not only elucidate these transitions, but provide a step towards applications in which pinning sites may be used to broadly control the rheology of a granular sample, with likely extensions to related areas of soft condensed matter, physics of life, and the engineering of novel materials. In this Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) project, an experimentalist and theorist at each institution (Bucknell University and Swarthmore College) will work collaboratively, both within and between institutions. Fifteen summer undergraduate research associates and roughly half that many students supported during the academic year will be actively involved in all facets of the proposed work, including direct collaboration across two institutions on both experiments and simulations. 

PROJECT PERIOD: 12/01/2019 - 11/30/2022

Eric Jensen

Eric Jensen headshot

The Confirmation and Characterization of Small TESS Planets

SPONSOR: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
AWARD DATE: 10/1/2021

TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) is a current NASA mission that identifies stars that appear to be periodically dimmed by orbiting planets.  To confirm these signals, a worldwide network of astronomers observes the candidate planet-host stars when they are predicted to be dimmed.  The NASA/TESS Guest Investigator Program is supporting this collaboration between Dr. Eric Jensen at Swarthmore and Dr. Karen Collins at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to carry out and coordinate these follow-up observations. Jensen maintains a web interface at Swarthmore used by observers to schedule observations and maintains software for scheduling observations on a network of automated telescopes. Jensen and Collins manage the target list and data submitted by other observers.

PROJECT PERIOD: 3/19/2021 - 3/18/2022

Hillary Smith

Hillary Smith in the lab

Heat Capacity and Enthalpy of Amorphous Materials

SPONSOR: AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY
AWARD DATE: 10/28/2020

Glasses are solids, like crystals, but isotropic and without long-range order, like liquids.  When an amorphous solid is heated, before crystallization occurs, the material softens, becoming a viscous liquid that is deeply undercooled below its usual melting temperature. Significant heat is absorbed in this “glass transition,” raising the entropy of the material with respect to its crystalline structure. Dr. Smith will lead an investigation of the heat capacity and enthalpy, together with the free energy and entropy, of glasses with diverse physical properties.  This project will use experimental tools to obtain a complete thermodynamic description of several glasses in their amorphous, crystalline, and supercooled liquid states.

PROJECT PERIOD: 09/01/2021 – 08/31/2023

Tristan Smith

Tristan Smith at blackboard

RUI: Looking beyond LCDM—observational consequences of models that ease the Hubble tension

SPONSOR: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 07/22/2020

Over the past twenty years, greater precision in cosmological measurements have revealed intriguing tensions that challenge the standard cosmological model. The most pressing of these is a disagreement between two distinct ways scientists estimate the current expansion rate of the universe (known as the Hubble constant). One estimate is based on direct measurement that uses observations of supernovae; the other is based on indirect measurement that uses observations of the afterglow of the big bang. Whereas the data from these two estimates used to agree, advances in measurement precision now yield values for the Hubble constant that are statistically different. This “Hubble tension” may be pointing scientists to new and unexpected physics not included in the standard cosmological model. This Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) project will advance the field of cosmology by refining what this tension may signify about new and unanticipated physical processes and in doing so has the potential to enhance our understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe.

PROJECT PERIOD: 09/01/2020 - 08/31/2023

 

Fundamental Tests of Gravity Across Time, Space and Mass

Sponsor: Research Corporation for Science Advancement
Award Date: 02/12/2019

This Cottrell Scholar Award has a dual focus on furthering research in the area of gravitational physics as well as providing significant training and learning opportunities to undergraduate students.  The focus of the project’s research will help to fill a gap in our knowledge of gravitational physics with a direct application to gravity theories that attempt to address one of the most pressing questions in physics: the physical nature of the current epoch of accelerated expansion.  Additionally, Tristan will develop a summer science communication program at Swarthmore College with the intent of training summer research students in effective communication.

Project Period: 07/01/2019 – 12/31/2022

 

Model-independent probes of cosmic expansion and radiation content of the universe

 

SPONSOR: NATIONAL AERONAUTICS & SPACE ADMINISTRATION (nasa)
AWARD DATE: 05/14/2018

Estimates of the expansion history of the university have allowed us to build the current standard cosmological model. Today, precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background and large-scale structure of the universe give us far more information, shedding light not only on the cosmic expansion history, but also the energy budget and perhaps even interactions between the different species composing the universe. We plan to systematically characterize the power of efforts to probe the cosmic expansion history at a range of different epochs. This work may yield insight on pressing challenges for theorists today, including the physics of dark matter, neutrinos, and the nature of dark energy. This research will be conducted in partnership with Haverford College PI Daniel Grin.

PROJECT PERIOD: 09/01/2020 - 11/14/2022

 

Social Sciences Faculty
Economics

Daifeng He

Daifeng He

Direct and spillover effects of Medicare payment changes on nursing home quality and volume

SPONSOR:  AGENCY FOR HEALTHCARE RESEARCH AND QUALITY (AHRQ)
AWARD DATE:  07/31/2018

Daifeng He will work with research partners at the College of William & Mary to study the causal effects of Medicare payment rates on Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) volume and quality.  This project will provide evidence about how these subsequent changes will affect SNFs and lay the groundwork for informing policymakers about the effects of the ACA’s productivity adjustments for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.  Importantly, the results will inform legislative debates about state certificate of need laws, state Medicaid payment policy, and federal antitrust regulations.

PROJECT PERIOD:  08/01/2018 – 07/31/2019

Jennifer Peck

Jennifer Peck

Exploring Fixed Costs in Female Hiring:  The Role of Adjustment Costs and Cultural Barriers to Women’s Employment

SPONSOR:  HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL
AWARD DATE:  08/22/2017

Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat program has sharply increased female employment in the private sector.  However, hiring was not spread evenly across firms. Some have shown rapid growth in female employment; others have continued to employ only male workers.  This study will begin studying if this may be due to fixed costs. While hiring female workers may be attractive to firms trying to meet nationalization quotas, firms must first invest in the capacity to hire women. Workplace adjustments may also be needed to comply with cultural norms.  This pilot will gather information on firms’ assessments of these constraints through a combination of administrative data analysis, interviews, and a firm survey. While the focus will be on fixed costs, the evidence gathered as part of this study will likely shed light on the perceived barriers to hiring women, providing crucial evidence for future work on female labor force participation in the region.

PROJECT PERIOD:  06/01/2017 – 12/31/2020

Marc Remer

Marc Remer in classroom

Collaborative Research: Empirical Models of Supracompetitive Pricing in Differentiated Products Markets

SPONSOR: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 08/17/2018

This project is a collaboration with Georgetown University and the Ohio State University to improve the understanding of market power in differentiated product markets. The researchers will study supra-competitive pricing using a model of price leadership that fits the U.S. beer market, exploring why prices rose more than predicted by current modeling after the Miller/Coors joint venture, why price increases were limited to Anheuser-Busch/Inbev and MillerCoors, and the impact of multi-market contact. The research team will also examine ways to test and quantify cartel collusion by studying evidence from recent price fixing cases within the canned tuna industry.

PROJECT PERIOD: 09/15/2018 - 08/31/2020

Educational Studies

Elaine Allard

Elaine Allard in an office

Swarthmore Co-PI: Barbara Thelamour, Psychology 

Keeping La Promesa: A Mixed-Method Investigation of Cross-cultural Dynamics in an Immigrant-Serving High School

 

SPONSOR: SPENCER FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 05/31/2022

 

This mixed-methods study investigates how secondary schools can support adolescent immigrant and emergent bilingual students. Immigrant adolescents from Latino, African, and Asian backgrounds increasingly find themselves side-by-side in English as a second language (ESL) classrooms. These classrooms can reflect intergroup tensions from the home countries, exacerbated by U.S. anti-Blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment. This diversity also offers possibilities for promoting positive cross-cultural relationships, academic success, student well-being, as well as for developing multilingual and anti-racist pedagogies. Focusing on a Philadelphia high school where the project directors have a long-term research relationship, the study uses ethnography and survey to examine how immigrant students experience cross-cultural relations and how these experiences impact their academic achievement, well-being, and language learning. By exploring teaching and learning from multiple perspectives, the project offers insights for scholarship, policy, and pedagogy in immigrant and emergent bilingual education.

 

PROJECT PERIOD: 09/01/2022-03/31/2024

Edwin Mayorga

Edwin Mayorga headshot

Cultivating Communities Together: Examining and Supporting School+Community Collaboration

Sponsor: Spencer Foundation
Award Date: 08/25/2021

Using a “queer, intersectional, and abolitionist” lens, Cultivating Connections Together (CCT) is a historical ethnographic study of the changing Philadelphia education landscape and a community-driven examination of the goals and practices of current partnership models. CCT seeks to bring attention to the vital role Black politics plays in defining the relationships between communities and schools historically and today. The documentation and examination of partnership models in operation today will strengthen the educational experience for students and families by providing vital insight on what the underlying goals are of partnerships and what practices are effective in meeting those goals. Findings will be disseminated through multiple platforms, including the publication of a “Community Report” for the general public, a number of potential peer-reviewed journal publications, and collaboratively authored online writing to release findings.

PROJECT PERIOD: 10/01/2021 - 12/31/2022

K. Ann Renninger

K. Ann Renninger headshot

Mastery-Oriented Professional Development for Integrating CS into Math

SPONSOR: NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 03/12/2021

Roughly half of the US states have adopted K-12 Computer Science (CS) standards to date. Many districts, however, cannot afford standalone CS classes. Integrating CS into existing courses is a promising alternative, but little research guides districts on how students learn CS in integrated contexts or how teachers gain confidence, interest, and skill to teach integrated computing content. Swarthmore College is a subaward partner institution in this collaboration with Brown University, Bootstrap, and the Oklahoma Department of Secondary Education. The award expands ongoing work to prepare 8th and 9th grade math teachers in Oklahoma to integrate computing more extensively. The mixed-methods research draws on surveys and longitudinal interviews with teachers, recordings of classrooms, samples of student work, and data on student assessments. This project is funded by the CS for All: Research and RPPs program.

PROJECT PERIOD: 01/01/2021-12/31/2021

 

Mathematical Thinkers Like Me

SPONSOR: EF+Math Program of the NewSchools Venture Fund
AWARD DATE: 08/27/2020

Swarthmore College is a subaward partner institution in this collaboration with the EF+Math and The 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education. Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action K. Ann Renninger will study the development of conceptual understanding, equity, and executive functions in math education, in particular for students of color, through online collaborative problem solving and student story-telling and sharing of their evolving identities as mathematical thinkers. In addition, she will work closely with and serve as a mentor for a research technician and undergraduate research students who are assisting with project data collection, reduction, and analysis.

PROJECT PERIOD: 08/01/2020 – 07/31/2023

Joseph Nelson

Joseph Nelson

The Listening Project

SPONSOR:  THE SPENCER FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE:  04/11/2018

"The Listening Project" is a collaboration with New York University that will offer a new direction in research for a solution to the “crisis of connection" in today’s schools.  This research will specifically focus on the pivotal context of middle schools where this crisis starts to emerge. This work is rooted in our shared capacity to listen to one another so that we may understand, be understood, see, be seen, and care and cooperate across and within communities.  The team will train a sample of NYC middle school teachers and 7th grade students of color in the practice of "transformative interviewing" to enhance listening skills, build relationships between and among students and teachers, and foster learning, satisfaction, and a sense of a common humanity.

PROJECT PERIOD:  09/01/2017 - 08/31/2019

History
 

Megan Rose Brown

Megan Brown

Empires on the Move:  Teaching and Researching Colonization and Mobility

Sponsor: Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges
Award Date: 07/19/2018

“Empire on the Move” will explore the intersections of academic work and pedagogy of a group of interdisciplinary scholars whose interests align with the themes of empire and mobility.  New works in history, literature, and anthropology, among other disciplines, demonstrate the significance of this topic, particularly because their visual, literary, and cartographic analyses lend themselves to digital learning initiatives.  By encouraging participants to think through teaching and research together the workshop will invite scholars to embrace this field as a way of enhancing cross-disciplinary endeavors and to return to their respective campuses with new ideas about the state of the field.

Project Period:  07/19/2019 - 06/30/2020

 
Linguistics

K. David Harrison

K. David Harrison

Collaborative Research: Plant and Fungal Diversity of Tafea Province, Vanuatu, a Threatened Hotspot

Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Date: 03/29/2016

Vanuatu is a group of 80 islands located in the South Pacific, situated roughly equidistant from New Caledonia, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands, all of which are globally important biodiversity hotspots. Despite its significance as a treasure trove of biodiversity, Vanuatu’s plants and fungi remain poorly documented, rendering it a “biodiversity black hole” and, thus, leaving a significant gap in our knowledge of biogeographic relationships with neighboring island countries. Along with its rich biological diversity, Vanuatu is also the most linguistically dense country in the world, with 112 languages for a total population of only 253,000; nine of these languages are found only in Tafea Province. The researchers will complete the first comprehensive survey of angiosperms, gymnosperms, ferns, lycophytes, bryophytes, endophytic and macro-fungi, and lichens ever undertaken in Tafea Province. Formal student training will also take place at the University of the South Pacific, California State University–East Bay, Swarthmore College, University of Hawai‘i, and the New York Botanical Garden. Because most land in Vanuatu is held under customary ownership, and local people are the stewards of their environments, the loss of biocultural knowledge is a serious threat to their ability to manage biodiversity resources sustainably.

Project Period: 07/01/2016 - 08/31/2023

Donna Jo Napoli

Donna Jo Napoli

RISE (Reading Involves Shared Experience) ebooks for deaf children

SPONSOR:  DOLFINGER-MCMAHON FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE:  06/13/2017

RISE ebooks are a product of collaboration between Gallaudet University and Swarthmore College since 2013. Students from both institutions collaborate with children from the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to create new RISE books. Our ebooks help deaf children—a group that, by and large, has been left out of the joys of reading—step into the world of books. We hope to secure the future sustainability of this initiative by helping produce the next generation of sign storytellers for bilingual-bimodal books.

PROJECT PERIOD:  07/01/2017 - 06/30/2020

Peace & Conflict Studies

Amy Kapit

Amy Kapit headshot

Student Rights Watch: Monitoring, Documenting, and Investigating Violations of Students’ Rights

 

SPONSOR: NORWEGIAN STUDENTS’ AND ACADEMICS’ INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE FUND (SAIH)
AWARD DATE: 06/24/2022

This project will help SAIH to identify and analyze data on violations against students’ human rights, with the goal of informing advocacy and campaigning to increase protection of student activists. As part of this work, Professor Kapit will carry out data collection and develop an initial methodology, code book, and preliminary set of indicators that SAIH can use to produce an annual Student Rights Watch Report. The project will draw on existing scholarship and practice on indicator development and citizen-led reporting to develop a process for monitoring and reporting on violations of student activists’ rights.

 

PROJECT PERIOD: 05/15/2022 - 12/16/2022

Psychology

Jane Gillham

Jane Gillham

Adolescent Mood Project: Efficacy of Counselor-Implemented IPT-AST

SPONSOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
AWARD DATE: 08/25/2019

The purpose of this efficacy replication study is to test whether Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training (IPT-AST), a Tier 2 depression prevention program, is effective when delivered through telehealth in high schools. In prior school-based studies, IPT-AST improved depression and anxiety symptoms, rates of depression diagnoses, overall functioning, and school-related outcomes for adolescents with depressive symptoms. The Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania is the lead institution for the project.

PROJECT PERIOD: 07/01/2019 – 06/30/2024

Cat Norris & John Blanchar

 Cat Norris and John Blanchar headshots

Compliance With and Responses to COVID-19 and its Vaccine: Moderating Effects of Political Beliefs, Individual Differences, and Social Influences, and Impact on Mental Health and Psychological Well-Being

SPONSOR: Pennsylvania Department of Health
AWARD DATE: 11/30/2021

The purpose of this project is to examine how factors such as political beliefs and partisanship, social networks and influence, news media consumption, and personality factors impact thoughts and feelings about COVID-19 and willingness to be vaccinated, as well as the effects of all of these factors on mental health and psychological well-being. As Drs. Norris and Blanchar have previously collected data about these issues as part of a separate study on the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, they will be in a unique position to assess how feelings, attitudes, and behaviors have changed over time, and how these changes have impacted both physical and psychological well-being.

PROJECT PERIOD: 6/1/2021 - 5/31/2023

Barbara Thelamour

Barbara Thelamour in front of a colorful wall

Swarthmore Co-PI: Elaine Allard, Educational Studies 

Keeping La Promesa: A Mixed-Method Investigation of Cross-cultural Dynamics in an Immigrant-Serving High School

 

SPONSOR: SPENCER FOUNDATION
AWARD DATE: 05/31/2022

 

This mixed-methods study investigates how secondary schools can support adolescent immigrant and emergent bilingual students. Immigrant adolescents from Latino, African, and Asian backgrounds increasingly find themselves side-by-side in English as a second language (ESL) classrooms. These classrooms can reflect intergroup tensions from the home countries, exacerbated by U.S. anti-Blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment. This diversity also offers possibilities for promoting positive cross-cultural relationships, academic success, student well-being, as well as for developing multilingual and anti-racist pedagogies. Focusing on a Philadelphia high school where the project directors have a long-term research relationship, the study uses ethnography and survey to examine how immigrant students experience cross-cultural relations and how these experiences impact their academic achievement, well-being, and language learning. By exploring teaching and learning from multiple perspectives, the project offers insights for scholarship, policy, and pedagogy in immigrant and emergent bilingual education.

 

PROJECT PERIOD: 09/01/2022-03/31/2024

Benjamin Zinszer

Benjamin Zinszer seated outside

Does non-linguistic segmentation still predict literacy in an L2 education? Statistical learning in Ivorian primary schools

SPONSOR: Language Learning
AWARD DATE: 11/17/2021

Statistical learning (SL) is a learning mechanism that does not directly depend on participants’ knowledge of a language, but appears to predict language and literacy outcomes for children and adults. However, research linking SL and literacy has not addressed children who first learn to read in a second language acquisition context, which is a common educational context in primary schools worldwide. We consider several studies that linked visual and auditory SL with childhood literacy in Australia, China, Europe, and the US, and we propose an adaptation of non-linguistic visual and auditory SL experiments in the West African nation of Côte d’Ivoire where students are educated in French and speak a local language at home.

PROJECT PERIOD: 11/17/2021 – 11/16/2022

Sociology & Anthropology

Daniel Laurison

Daniel Laurison on Parrish Beach

Missing Voices: Why Poor and Working-Class People Avoid Politics
Andrew Carnegie Fellowship

SPONSOR: CARNEGIE CORPORATION OF NEW YORK
AWARD DATE: 04/28/2021

This project seeks to understand a fundamental issue in American Democracy – the deep class and racial inequality in who participates. Missing Voices aims to address disparities in political participation by working with poor and working-class people to understand how they view electoral politics.The research builds on over 100 interviews already conducted, which demonstrate that poor and working class people often view politics as only for the rich. This project will use interviews and focus groups to discover how poor and working class people experience political organizations’ attempts to mobilize them, and why those attempts so often fail.

PROJECT PERIOD: 08/01/2021-07/31/2023

 

Watch Professor of Religion Yvonne Chireau's SwatTalk on African American religious traditions and ancestral recovery. Professor Chireau will serve as a producer on Larisha Stone's film, Conjure: The Documentary, with support from The Crossroads Project at Princeton University. 

Watch: Linguist K. David Harrison describes his field work documenting endangered languages for the Talking Dictionary. Learn more about his grant-funded work with Tri-Co faculty.

Performance of Chopin without Piano

Barbara Milewski and Allen Kuharski brought the North American premiere of Chopin Without Piano to Swarthmore with a grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Watch a video from the performance.

Christopher Graves headshot

Synthetic Chemist Chris Graves Receives NSF Research Grant. The grant was awarded as a Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM) Funding Opportunity, through the NSF’s Chemical Synthesis Program.

Crouch and Geller at circuit board

NSF Grant Will Measure Impact of Physics Course Built for Life Science Majors. Learn about the course taught by Catherine Crouch and Benjamin Geller.

Professor Art McGarity, Lang Center Scholar-in-Residence Arto Woodley, Jonathan Cohen ’17, and Alexandra Philyaw ’17

From Scrub, New Growth. Read about Professor Art McGarity's grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lead water projects for Philadelphia’s storm-water runoff.

Fusing Energies: Professor Mike Brown and the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) lab receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy ALPHA project

Watch Professor of Religion Yvonne Chireau's SwatTalk on African American religious traditions and ancestral recovery. Professor Chireau will serve as a producer on Larisha Stone's film, Conjure: The Documentary, with support from The Crossroads Project at Princeton University. 

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