Faculty Leadership

About John Smedley, Director of the Bates Science Fellows Program.


smedleyj-200x300John Smedley is Professor of Physics at Bates, and also a member of the Environmental Studies Program committee. Early in his career he taught a range of core courses in the physics major, from introductory to advanced levels. In time, John developed a series of introductory courses for nonmajors including Musical Acoustics, Energy and Environment, and The Physics of Sports. Most recently he has created a series of intermediate courses at the interface of physics and environmental studies, including Renewable Energy, Climate Change and Modeling, and The Electric Grid. An accomplished guitarist and composer, John occasionally teaches a Music Short Term course, Exploring Jazz Guitar.

John was among the first in his family to attend institutions of higher education. After majoring in chemistry and physics at Colby, John received the Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he studied small molecule collisions and photophysics.


About Karen Palin, Director of the Sophomore Science Fellows Program

Karen Palin is a member of the Department of Biology at Bates. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota where she studied host interactions with the pathogenic spirochete Leptospira. Her microbiology research interests continue to focus on host defense against bacterial pathogens. Before coming to Bates, Karen’s teaching spanned community colleges, regional public universities, and liberal arts colleges. She has worked with both traditional and nontraditional students in various settings. At Bates, Karen has taught Biology courses at all levels including BIO 190, Organismal Biology, and BIO 242, Cellular and Molecular Biology. Over the past few years, Karen has initiated several community-engaged public health projects with her students. She has also taken students abroad as a faculty member for the Bates Fall Semester in Russia, where she taught Microbial Life: The Russian Perspective. Most recently she took students to Spain over short term as part of the course Health and Medicine: At Home and Abroad. Karen was the first in her family to earn a college degree.