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“Schooling” at Lake Forest College

Kyle Wallis
Lake Forest College
Lake Forest, Illinois 60045

Over a year ago Lake Forest College students welcomed a new professor in the classroom. Dr. Schwalbe is now finishing up her second year, having taught two classes in her first. Dr. Schwalbe has brought her expertise to the college, garnered though years of studying biology, and continues to do so this year as well. First having earned her BS and MS at the university of Minnesota Duluth, she then went on to earn a PhD at the university of Rhode Island and completed postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University. It is this experience and knowledge she has brought to the school, as well as a valuable perspective she brought to the classroom.

Last year, Dr. Schwalbe stated that she wanted to help students obtain positions in which they could experience research and help them to grow as scientist. This last summer, Dr. Schwalbe did exactly that, as she had two students working her lab carrying over the work Dr. Schwalbe had done at Tufts University, studying the Lateral Line System in fish. The Lateral Line System is the nerves that run along the side of the fish, detecting the flow of water around them. One of the students who had been in the lab over the summer, Hannah, will be presenting in Austin,Texas at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. As a new lab, this will be the first time a student will be presenting on the research in Dr. Schwalbe’s lab.The research in Dr. Schwalbe’s lab has been centered on analyzing videos from the research done at Tufts, searching though the data for information which may be useful for Dr. Schwalbe’s topic of interest. Currently, Dr. Schwalbe is interested in how the lateral line system is able to differentiate the flow made by the natural currents of water from the turbulence in the water created by swimming fish. However, Dr. Schwalbe is considering other avenues of research. As of right now, Dr. Schwalbe has four Bumblebee Gobies in the lab and is looking into doing preliminary research on other possible species as well. As Dr. Schwalbe is interested in studying how fish distinguish the self-generated current from the tail and useful environmental stimuli as the tail contains Neuromast, which are the neurons that make up the lateral line system, being able to branch out to other species of fish may have interesting and insightful contributions. Dr. Schwalbe is considering florescent staining in her research to help determine what functions the Neuromasts may serve. She believes these functions could be either swimming or social behaviors, such as mating or detecting predators, or elaborate spawning behaviors.

Dr. Schwalbe, as mentioned before, has been be teaching classes
at Lake Forest College for a full year. She has taught a senior seminar, Biology 120 Introduction to biology, and Animal Physiology. Dr .Schwalbe is also set to start teaching Neuron to Brain soon. These are all related to organisms, which is a topic Dr. Schwalbe loves to teach about, and has a major interest in. Promoting the learning of organisms, she has used this to promote the love of learning Biology thought the amazing and diverse world of concepts such as form and function. Dr. Schwalbe enjoys showing how diverse organism can be, and how they work and interact with the environment in her classes. Dr. Schwalbe wants to expand the lab of Biology 120 to include possible research-based learning as well. One of Dr. Schwalbe’s other classes, Animal Physiology, incorporates the use of a frog model organism to study cardiac and skeletal muscle cells and see how nerve cells work, giving another example of how Dr. Schwalbe enjoys bringing such opportunities to her students.

Dr. Schwalbe herself has as young family, raising her young son and an adorable little puppy named Bodie. Dr. Schwalbe can be seen taking Bodie on walks around campus. Bodie, who loves being petted, is currently teething and is very adorable. Dr. Schwalbe loves to see students getting excited about biology and goes on events with students, such as the recent Society for Neuroscience convention, where she was very happy to see many students learning about neuroscience and generally having fun at a such a large event. Dr. Schwalbe is generally happy to help students with their studies and loves to see them engage in biology. Dr. Schwalbe is looking forward to seeing more students bloom in the biology department and to support her students in their endeavors to further their education in the biological sciences.


Eukaryon is published by students at Lake Forest College, who are solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in Eukaryon do not necessarily reflect those of the College.

Articles published within Eukaryon should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.