Cliff Johnson (Northwestern)
Linking detailed studies of star-forming molecular clouds in the Solar Neighborhood to broader extragalactic studies has been a long-held goal of the star formation community. I present results from a study of low-mass star-forming regions in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) that helps bridge this Galactic-extragalactic gap through its analysis of Magellanic analogs to benchmark Milky Way clouds. Using deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging obtained by the Small Magellanic Cloud Investigation of Dust and Gas Evolution (SMIDGE) survey, I identify and characterize a sample of ~1000 solar-mass pre-main sequence stars. These young stars serve as sensitive star formation tracers, facilitating age and star formation efficiency measurements within associated molecular clouds. These extragalactic cloud-scale measurements are well-matched to Solar Neighborhood studies of nearby Milky Way clouds (e.g., Orion, Perseus) in terms of cloud mass (~10^4 M☉) and star formation rate sensitivity, yet explore properties of embedded star formation in a new low metallicity, dwarf galaxy environment. I will discuss how these observations help address current open questions regarding star formation efficiency and cloud evolution, and look ahead to future studies of star formation in the Magellanic Clouds enabled by ALMA and JWST.