Faculty mentors for the COSMOS program come from the Department of Mathematics and many of the science departments on campus. They have received additonal training in how to advise aspiring math and science students, and they have much experience in working with students in the classroom and in research.

Principal Investigators

Headshot of Carmel Levitan

Carmel Levitan

Associate Professor, Cognitive Science; Advisory Committee, Neuroscience
(323) 259-2877

Carmel Levitan studies multisensory interactions, researching how the different senses integrate information.

Professor Scott Bogue

Scott Bogue

Professor, Geology
(323) 259-2563

Scott Bogue teaches introductory geology, Global Geophysics and Tectonics, Earth's Atmosphere and Oceans, and other courses.

Professor Gretchen North

Gretchen North

John W. McMenamin Endowed Chair in Biology; Advisory Committee, Biochemistry; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy
(323) 259-2898

Gretchen North investigates how plants cope with physically challenging conditions.

Professor Janet Scheel

Janet Scheel

Professor, Physics
(323) 259-2777

Janet Scheel's research deals with pattern formation and turbulence. The particular system she studies is Rayleigh-Benard convection.

Professor Andrew Udit

Andrew K. Udit

Associate Professor, Chemistry; Advisory Committee, Biochemistry

Andrew Udit’s research in Chemical Biology focuses on perturbing coagulation with virus nanoparticles, and catalysis using enzymes.

Lead Faculty:

Dr. Ron Buckmire (PI) is a Professor of Mathematics at Occidental College. A member of the faculty since 1994, Prof. Buckmire is known for being an “early adapter" of incorporating various kinds of technology into his teaching. He is a representative of multiple groups under-represented in STEM (African-Americans, openly LGBT, immigrants) and has long been active in supporting programs that celebrate and foster diversity in academia. He has extensive experience serving on grant review panels for NSF, the California Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education. In 2011 a national group named Prof. Buckmire LGBT Professor of the Year. His research areas include mathematical modeling and numerical analysis; he has published multiple peer-reviewed papers with Occidental undergraduates. From 2011-2013, Prof. Buckmire served as a Program Officer in the NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education, where he administred and recommended S-STEM awards to institutions around the country.

Dr. Gretchen North (co-PI) is a Professor of Biology at Occidental College, where she teaches Plant Biology, Ecology, and Introductory Biology. Her research focuses on plant physiological ecology, with an emphasis on the water relations of arid-land plants and plants in the rainforest canopy; she also investigates cellular and subcellular mechanisms of plant water uptake and transport. NSF and the Smithsonian Institution have funded her research, and her work has been published in journals such as American Journal of BotanyJournal of Experimental Botany, and Plant, Cell and Environment. She received the Loftsgordon outstanding teaching award in 2008 from Occidental College as well as the Sterling Award for teaching, service, and distinguished professional achievement in 2012.

Dr. Scott Bogue (co-PI) is a Professor of Geology and Associate Dean of the College at Occidental College. A member of the Occidental faculty since 1985, Prof. Bogue has been a PI on 11 NSF sponsored research projects including his current study of a geomagnetic polarity reversal preserved in volcanic rocks in Nevada.  He maintains a state-of-the-art paleomagnetic laboratory with superconducting rock magnetometer and automated sample handler system that is available to Occidental students as well as visitors from other institutions. In his role as Associate Dean, Prof. Bogue watches over Occidental’s science departments as well as the research and scholarly activity of Occidental students and faculty.

Dr. Carmel Levitan (co-PI) is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at Occidental College and a Visiting Associate in Biology at the California Institute of Technology since 2009. Her research focuses on perception, using both computational and psychophysical approaches to model human performance. She is passionate about involving undergraduates in research, and has published peer-reviewed papers including students as coauthors. She has been involved in issues of higher education since serving as the graduate student representative to the University of California Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, where she advocated for policy changes that maintained access for low-income and underrepresented students to higher education.

Dr. Janet Scheel (co-PI) is an Associate Professor of Physics at Occidental college and a Visiting Associate in Physics at the California Institute of Technology. A member of the Occidental College Faculty since 2008, she teaches physics courses at all levels.  Her research deals with the theoretical understanding of pattern formation and turbulence in heated fluids. She performs  numerical simulations of turbulent heated fluids and has obtained over 120 million supercomputing hours at Argonne National Lab from DOE INCITE awards over the past three years.  She is also a coauthor of Analytical Dynamics, an advanced undergraduate physics textbook.

Affiliated faculty:

Dr. Beth Braker, Professor of Biology

Dr. Margaret Rusmore, Professor of Geology

Dr. Eileen Spain, Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Kerry Thompson, Associate Professor of Biology