Amherst College professor Dr. Sheila Jaswal will present Austin College’s A.J. Carlson Lecture on Wednesday, September 28, at 5 p.m. in Mabee Hall of the Robert J. and Mary Wright Campus Center. Her lecture will address “Being Human in STEM: Promoting campus equity and inclusion through partnering with students.” A welcome reception will be held at 4 p.m. in the same location. Both events are free and open to the public.
Jaswal is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Program in Biochemistry and Biophysics. She teaches Introductory Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Being Human in STEM. Her research investigates how proteins fold and move to perform critical cellular functions. She also serves as the Faculty Equity and Inclusion Officer, working to help faculty thrive in scholarship and teaching.
Her role has been pivotal in advancing Amherst’s “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM) Initiative. With a team of undergraduate researchers, she studies the interplay between protein stability, dynamics, and function using a combined biophysical and computational approach. In the spring of 2016, she and students developed the “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM) course model in which students drive the academic inquiry, investigating both the local experience and the literature on diversity in STEM, then design tools and interventions to enhance their STEM community and sense of belonging.
As the HSTEM director, Jaswal facilitates the HSTEM course in collaboration with students, staff, and faculty colleagues, organizes campus and regional HSTEM events, gives talks and workshops at colleges, universities, and conferences nationwide, oversees a growing HSTEM network, collaborates with HSTEM affiliates at other institutions, and shares curricular and other HSTEM resources.
Dr. A.J. Carlson and the Johnson Center
This Austin College lecture honors the late Dr. A.J. “Jack” Carlson, who joined the Austin College history faculty in 1962. He also served as dean of Humanities for many years and was a leading voice in defense of liberal arts education. He retired as professor emeritus in 1994 and remained active in the campus community until he died in 2014.
The lecture is sponsored by the Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, which is directed by Dr. Andrea Overbay, associate professor of mathematics. The center schedules multiple events throughout the year, with presentations by Austin College faculty and guest lecturers.