News and Highlights

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Two of our physics majors, Tim Sanders and Henry Swain, recently went to Arecibo Observatory, the single largest telescope in the world, for the Undergraduate Alfalfa Team workshop. They are doing research with Dr. Kim Coble this semester analyzing data from the telescope.

Physics Education major Angela Moore was one of five students nationally chosen by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for the Barbara Lotze Scholarship for Future Teachers.

Dr. Mardis had a paper published from her ongoing collaboration with chemists at Argonne National Laboratory.

Poluektov, O. G., Niklas, J., Mardis, K. L., Beaupré, S., Leclerc, M., Villegas, C., Erten-Ela, S., Delgado, J. L., Martín, N., Sperlich, A. and Dyakonov, V. (2014), Electronic Structure of Fullerene Heterodimer in Bulk-Heterojunction Blends. Adv. Energy Mater.. doi: 10.1002/aenm.201301517

Graphic from Dr. Mardis's paper.

Dr. LeSuer had a paper Effect of Tribolayer Formation on Corrosion of CoCrMo Alloys Investigated Using Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy published in the journal, Analytical Chemistry with CSU May 2013 chemistry graduate Joshua Meyer as first author.

Since January of 2013 Dr. Garcia and Dr. Harton have coauthor seven papers with the ALICE Collaboration published in Physics Letters B (2) , Physics Review Letters (3), and the European Journal of High Energy Physics (2). Furthermore The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant that will fund the research of Dr. Garcia, Dr. Hartonm, and their students with the ALICE experiment at CERN at least until 2016. CSU physics students at CERN Summer 2013CSU physics students Bernard Boston, Rodney Carmona, Tasha Williams, and Mike Tyler working at CERN Summer 2013.

7th – 10th grade students from District 205 lived on campus, and participated in the NANOweek Workshop at CSU from June 17 to June 28, 2013. Delivering engaging hands-on activities to elementary and high school students, CSU faculty and CSU students also hosted them to campus tours. The “Interesting facts about CSU” tour included visits to the Prairie Garden, the Biology Imaging Center, the Aquaponics Center, the Pharmacy College, the New Student Library, the Greenhouse, and the teaching and research laboratories in the Williams Science Center. Nanotechnology, the study of objects sized 1 to 100 nanometers provided an interesting platform to engage students and to encourage them to consider careers in STEM. Student developed wikis which highlight their experiences can be found at (9-10th grade) and (7-8th grade)

Dr. Coble published a series of papers in Astronomy Education Review: Investigating Student Ideas About Cosmology I: Distances and Structure, Investigating Student Ideas About Cosmology II: Composition of the Universe, and Investigating Student Ideas About Cosmology III: Big Bang Theory, Expansion, Age, and History of the Universe. One of Dr. Coble's co-authors on the paper series was Geraldine L. Cochran, who earned a BS in physics and math at CSU and is now a doctoral student in physics education at Florida International University.  In addition, Dr. Coble will sit on the American Astronomical Society Committee for the Status of Minorities in Astronomy from 2014-2017.

The CSU-American Chemical Society Student Chapter received a $500 Community Interaction Grant from a proposal written by the chapter.

Noyce Scholars Rosa O'Connell and TIffany Mann led Environmental Ambassadors program for students from Urban Prep High School. 

Dr. LeSuer attended the Project Kaleidoscope summer leadership institute conference on developing leaders in STEM education in Crestone, CO.

Dr. Sabella attended the PhysTEC Leadership Council Meeting, American Association of Physics Teachers Meeting and the PhysTEC Conference in July (Portland, Oregon). He organized an invited session at AAPT, gave an invited talk, and presented or co presented two posters at the conferences. 

Tau proteins and microtubles. New undergraduate Research Collaboration between Dr. Abraha and Professor Holly Goodson at the University of Notre Dame

Recently retired physics technician Ray Kajawa was selected by the the CSU Alumni Board as the 2012 Outstanding Staff Member of the Year. Ray Kajawa was nominated for the award by the entire department who greatly appreciated his years of service to the department and the science students of CSU. (seen helping students with electric circuits)Mr. Ray Kajawa

Virgina Hayes at the CSU 18th Awards GalaVirginia Hayes, CSU Noyce Scholar and future physics teacher was honored at 18th Annual Friends of CSU Awards Gala held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago.  The theme of the session was “Women in the business of Transforming Lives.”  Virginia spoke about the importance of science teaching, the need to increase diversity in science and reflected on the obstacles she has overcome to obtain her degree.

(photo by EgamiPhotos Inc.)



Associate Professor Kristy Mardis was recently awarded a grant by the Illinois Space Grant Consortium for the project "Developing a Neural Network for Solar Cell Design."  The grant will be used to fund student researchers using computational chemistry to investigate solar cell components.

Dr. Mardis took four CSU Chemistry students to Argonne National Lab for a Summer Research Experience for 10 weeks of research in summer 2012.

Drs. Garcia and Harton took two students, Tawanda Hitchcock and Brian Elwood to Switzerland to work at the European Organization for Nuclear Research  (CERN) on cutting edge research in Particle Physics.  CSU is one of only two undergraduate institutions that are members of the ALICE Collaborative at CERN.

Physics Majors Tasha Williams and Virginia Hayes and chemistry MAT student Michele Dillon participated in 2012 Interdisciplinary Research Institute in STEM Education (I-RISE). Students were funded through the CSU Noyce and PhysTEC Programs.

Angela Moore, CSU Noyce Scholar and Physics Major, featured in American Physical Society Gazette Article on the different types of paths physics majors take to get their degree.

Dr. Coble and her student K’Maja Bell  from Mother McAuley HS were featured in the Business section of the Chicago Sun Times.  You can check out some pictures, read the story, and see a video at  The article focuses on getting women into science. 

Dr. Kim Coble as featured in Chicago Sun TimesKim Coble, associate professor of physics at Chicago State University and a volunteer mentor with young women involved in Project Exploration's Sisters4Science program, and K' Maja Bell, 16, who has been involved in Project Exploration since she was in the 7th grade. Thursday, June 21, 2012, picture by Brian Jackson~Chicago Sun-Times

CSU Alumni pursuing degrees in Science Education received honors at the Spring 2012 Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the PhysTEC Conference in Ontario California.  Geraldine Cochran, who graduated in 2004 and who is now pursuing a PhD in Science Education at Florida International University was part of an invited panel on Cultural Perspectives in Physics at the 2012 PhysTEC conference.  Stephanie Barr, who graduated in 2007 and who is now pursuing a PhD in Science Education at the University of Colorado – Boulder was among seven finalists (from about 70 papers) for the 2011 Physics Education Research Conference Proceeding’s paper award.  Both students were active in Science Education research while at CSU working with Drs. Sabella and Coble.

Drs. Coble, Mardis, Harton received Space Grants from NASA to support their research and three CSU students who are majoring in Chemistry and Physics. 

Assistant Professor Andrea Gay Van Duzor had an article entitled "Evidence that teacher interactions with pedagogical contexts facilitate chemistry-content learning in K-8 professional development" published in the August, 2012 issue of the Journal of Science Teacher Education.

Drs. Sabella and Van Duzor published paper in the Physics Teacher Magazine with two collaborating teachers as co-authors: A Collaboration Between University and High School in Preparing Physics Teachers: Chicago State University’s Teacher Immersion Institute, The Physics Teacher, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp. 296-300 (2012)

In Fall 2011, Drs. LeSuer and Kristy took 12 students to visit the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  The students met with professors and graduate students in the Department of Chemistry, had a tour of the campus, and spoke to an admissions counselor about the requirements of graduate school.  The students heard about what graduate school life was like and were able to ask lots of questions.  This was partly funded through the UWM's Chemistry department's MRI grant and partly through a CSU CTRE grant.

In 2011, Drs. Abraha, LeSuer, Mardis, and Nkansah all received recent grants from the CSU Center for Teaching and Research Excellence.