Here at Lafayette, we take great pride in helping one another. Check out the many faculty themed discussions taking place over the next few weeks to provide you with insight into over 15 departments and programs, all in an exciting variety of formats!

Faculty Themed Discussions

Have you ever wondered what student research looks like as a Lafayette student? What about what is offered for students interested in music, theater, and the arts? How about an explanation about the future after the COVID-19 epidemic through mathematical modeling? Well, you’re in luck! These are just a few of the many faculty themed discussions that you can experience over the next six weeks.

We have an impressive lineup of 21 faculty-led sessions for you to attend as a way to immerse yourself in our interdisciplinary curriculum, prior to even stepping foot on campus. Simply register for any of the sessions that spark your interest and a Zoom link will be sent, providing you access to the discussion. The faculty hosting each session are eager and excited to introduce you to a wide variety of content, spanning across multiple departments and programs.

Let’s get connected!

Past Discussions

Tuesday, June 23: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

Chip nataro, Professor & Acting Department head, chemistry

Title: All that Glitters is Gold (Catalyst)

Description: Say you just took your second exam in General Chemistry. The next class your professor hands back the exam and, flipping to the last page, you try to suppress your wince. To your surprise, the grade isn’t half bad, and your professor has written, “Ever considered a major in biochemistry?”

Thursday, June 25

Session 1: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

thomas lannon, director special collections & college archivist, skillman library
elaine stomber, college archivist, libraries, skillman library

Title: The Marquis and the History of Lafayette College

Description: Learn more about the Marquis de Lafayette, the French military officer and hero of the American Revolution, who advocated for the abolition of slavery in his lifetime and helped establish the doctrine of human rights. Special Collections and College Archives preserves important material related to the Marquis and more that tell the story of almost two centuries of college history.

Session 2: 5-6 p.m. (EST)

Wendy Wilson-Fall, associate professor and program chair, Africana Studies
jeremy zallen, assistant professor, history

Title: How Black Lives Matter

Tuesday, June 30

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

david sunderlin, Associate Professor, geology

Title: Global Biodiversity & the Sixth Extinction

Description: Life’s richness is in grave danger in a modern world of environmental crises. The accelerating impacts of climate change, land use, pollution, and biotic homogenization are sending Earth into what paleontologists call a “mass extinction”.  Over the past 600 million years, in Earth’s ancient past, we’ve seen five of these.  We’re now—today—in the sixth.

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

Jeffrey Pfaffmann, associate professor and department head, Computer Science
Justin Smith, Assistant professor, computer science
Christian lopez, assistant professor, computer science

Title: Learning to Program: Computer Science Introductory Courses for Everyone

Description: Computers are everywhere, and learning to program provides the ability to use them better.  We will talk about the introductory programming course in the Department of Computer Science.  We will also take time to answer questions about the department and what it is like to program computers for a living.  

Tuesday, July 7

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

lauren myers, Associate Professor, psychology

Title: Careers in Psychology

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

ben jahre, head of electronic resources, libraries, skillman library

Title: Know Your News: Practicing Media Literacy

Description: How can we critically engage with the news we read? What questions can we ask, and where can we go when trying to verify information? This session will focus on discussing some best practices of media literacy and sharing the approaches you find useful in your own media consumption.

Thursday, July 9

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

david shulman, david m. ’70 and linda roth professor of anthropology and sociology

Title: Classes, Curiosity, and Careers

Description: Lafayette College is a wonderful place to learn about yourself and your interests and to secure opportunities to develop them. This session examines how students can combine classes and experiences within and across disciplines to explore different career paths. We’ll discuss examples from past students and options for you to consider as you start your college careers.

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

jennifer talarico, professor & Department head, psychology

Title: Getting Involved in Research on Campus

Description: What is “research”? Why should I want to get involved? What does “involvement” look like? When can I get involved? How can I get involved? What is the EXCEL Scholars program? What are independent research/advanced research/independent study courses? What is a thesis? And YOUR questions will be answered here.

Tuesday, July 14

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci, professor & department head, Foreign Languages & Literatures (spanish)

Title: Chill n Chat: ¡en español!

Description: An opportunity to gather and discuss all things Lafayette en español!

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

mary Armstrong, Charles a. dana professor of women’s, gender & sexuality studies & english

Title: Gender, Race and the Secret Life of “Things”

Description: Airbags.  Voice recognition software. Public transportation. Cell phones. Designed objects and built systems make modern life possible. But they often have secret stories that reveal how the hidden variables of gender and race have quietly shaped both design and use. This interactive session explores the ways “neutral” design and technologies are gendered and racialized, reflecting and reinforcing systems of social inequality.

Thursday, July 16

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

Caleb gallemore, Assistant Professor, international affairs

Title: International Affairs Beyond the Classroom: Research, Travel, and Clubs

Description: Come talk with international affairs majors and recent graduates about opportunities that folks interested in international affairs (whether you’re a major or not!) can do outside the classroom. Students will talk about their experiences studying abroad, conducting research, and participating in the International Affairs and Model United Nations clubs.

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

christopher nadovich, lab director, electrical and computer engineering

Title: Electric Race Car

Description: Students from the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments are collaborating to build an electric race car. They are planning to enter the vehicle in the SAE/IEEE Formula Hybrid competition held every spring at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H. Come to the discussion to learn more about this exciting and challenging project. 

Tuesday, July 21

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

Suzanne westfall, professor & department head, theater

Title: Theater at Lafayette

Description: Come learn about the theater department and musical productions at Lafayette! The director of the Marquis Players musical and director of our fall theater production of Everyman, a senior at Lafayette, will be available to answer any and all questions! 

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

thomas yuster, associate professor, mathematics
Robert Kurt, gideon r. kreider, jr. and alice l. kreider professor of biology

Title: Modeling Epidemics

Description: It’s almost impossible to either watch or read reports about the COVID-19 epidemic without hearing predictions of its future course based on mathematical models. In this presentation, we (a mathematician and a biologist) will look at some simple epidemic models that give insight into the ideas behind the models so much in the news. Herd immunity, flattening the curve, and the all-important basic reproductive number will all make their appearance.

Thursday, July 23

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)


Larry Stockton, professor & department head, music

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

BiancA falbo, Associate Professor, Director, First Year seminars & Assistant head, English

Title: What to Expect from Your First-Year Seminar

Description: All first-year students take an FYS in the fall semester. Each focuses on a different topic, but all serve as introductions to college reading and writing. Join this informal Q&A with FYS faculty to learn more about FYS courses and get answers to any questions you have about them.

Tuesday, July 28th

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

Helena Silverstein, professor & department head, Government & Law

Title: Considering Law School

Description: Is a career in law right for me?  What steps can I take over the next four years to answer that question?  What majors, courses, and other activities should a pre-law student pursue? What support does Lafayette provide to students interested in law school?  Discussion of these and other questions you have about pursuing a legal profession will be the focus of this session.

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

tim laquintano, associate professor and director, college writing program, english

Thursday, July 30

Session 1: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

Karina Skvirsky, associate professor, art

Title: Doing Art Now: Decoding Images in the 21st Century

Description: What do images ask and tell us about the world and our experience in it?  Art & Art History are ways of seeing, thinking about, and making the culture that surrounds us.  Join the Lafayette Art Department to discuss what art teaches us and how it continues to be a vital force in our world.

Session 2: 4-5 p.m. (EST)

Peter gildenhuys , associate professor, philosophy

Title: Is there anything wrong with advertising?

Description: In this session we’ll consider several advertisements and try to determine whether there is anything morally wrong with them and, if so, what exactly that wrongness is.

Tuesday, August 11: 3-4 p.m. (EST)

Nandini Sikand, Associate Professor & Chair, Film and Media Studies
Trent Gaugler, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Joaquin Gomez-Minambres, Assistant Professor, Economics
Lindsay Soh, Associate Professor, chemical engineering

Title: Preview of Fall Courses

Description: Have you been wondering how faculty plan to move their traditional in-person courses to an online platform? If so, we welcome you to join four of our great faculty members, representing four different academic departments, as they discuss their plans to do so. Each faculty member will have the virtual floor for approximately 10 minutes, discussing a segment of their teaching. For example, a professor may touch on how they plan to restructure in-class assignments or discussion groups to accommodate online learning. Following each presentation, we will open the floor for a Q&A session.