Information for School Representatives

This June, the Small World Initiative (SWI) has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Connecticut, and the University of West Alabama for our 4th Annual Symposium. Our symposium brings together faculty and students from SWI’s global community as well as experts in microbiology to share research and collaborate. It also exposes students to the many career and research paths in the sciences.

Started in 2012 at Yale University, the Small World Initiative is an innovative program that inspires and retains students in the sciences while addressing one of the most pressing global health challenges of our century – superbugs and the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics. Through our introductory microbiology curriculum, students from around the world perform hands-on field and laboratory research on soil samples in the hunt for new antibiotics.

Over just four years, SWI has grown to rapidly include more than 170 participating undergraduate institutions and high schools across 35 US states, Puerto Rico, and 12 countries. In studies, our course has been shown to improve grades and increase confidence and performance, especially among women and minorities, and follows evidence-based recommendations from NSF, AAAS, and PCAST.

Students have the opportunity to win scientific awards and present their original research at our annual symposium. The symposium will be held alongside the American Society for Microbiology’s Microbe conference in New Orleans, Louisiana and will include a conversation keynote with Erika Kurt and Dr. Jo Handelsman, a poster session, faculty talks, and a student challenge. Students presenting and attending the SWI symposium are some of the best students in the nation. We expect to have more than 50 talented students from many universities from around the country. The Graduate & Professional School Expo will take place on June 1st at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70130). The full schedule may be viewed here.


There are two participation levels for graduate, medical, and professional schools:

Gold Level – $500

  • Booth at the Graduate and Professional School Expo
  • Contact information for all Expo attendees who provide distribution permission
  • Resumes for all Expo attendees who provide them
  • Access to our Sister Society Day events for up to three representatives
  • One half-page ad in the program booklet
  • 200-word ad posted on website
  • Placement of name and logo in program and related materials
  • Placement of unlimited sponsor-provided, logo-imprinted items in conference bag

Silver Level – $250

  • Booth at the Graduate and Professional School Expo
  • Access to our Sister Society Day events for up to two representatives
  • Placement of name and logo in program and related materials
  • Placement of one sponsor-provided, logo-imprinted item in conference bag

If you would like to customize your participation or sponsorship, please contact Erika Kurt at 347-762-4818 or through our contact form here.


Payments can be made via a check paid to the Small World Initiative and mailed to: Attn: Erika Kurt, Small World Initiative, 301 W 57th St, #45D, New York, NY 10019.

Credit card payment is also accepted online or by calling 347-762-4818. Payment via credit card includes Stripe's credit card processing fee (2.9% + $0.30).

EIN / Tax ID: 81-1772308

Registration Deadline

Early-Bird Registration Deadline – April 1, 2017

Final Deadline – May 15, 2017

Sending Materials

If you need to ship materials ahead of time, please notify us. We will have you send your material to the conference hotel in advance so that your materials will be waiting for you when you arrive to set up your information table.


For those of you who are staying overnight, please see the special room rates offered by ASM Microbe:

Sister Society Day Symposium Schedule

To view the schedule of events, please click here.


On Thursday, June 1st, SWI’s President & CEO Erika Kurt will sit down with Dr. Jo Handelsman for an engaging conversation covering her initiatives in public service, innovative thinking on science education, vision for antibiotic discovery, and advice for students. Dr. Handelsman stands out as a change maker, visionary, and maverick in science and education. Dr. Handelsman is the outgoing Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in June of 2014, and helped advise the President on the implications of science for the Nation, ways in which science can inform US policy, and Federal efforts in support of scientific research. Recently, she was tapped to lead the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin starting February 1, 2017.

SWI Symposium Board

Nichole A. Broderick, PhD

Program Director, Small World Initiative

Assistant Professor, Dept of Molecular & Cell Biology, University of Connecticut

Jo Handelsman, PhD

Founder, Small World Initiative

Director, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mustafa Morsy, PhD

Chair, Symposium Committee, Small World Initiative

Associate Professor, Dept of Biology, University of West Alabama

Erika L. Kurt, LL.B, B.C.L.

President & CEO, Small World Initiative

SWI Director, Dept of Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology, Yale University


*The Small World Initiative is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity. Employer Identification Number / Tax ID: 81-1772308.