Mel Sabella

Mel Sabella (he|him|his)

Professor of Physics

Contact Information

Phone: (773) 995-2172


Office: SCI-220C


  • B.S., State University of New York at Binghamton
  • Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
  • Postdoctoral, University of Washington, Seattle

Hobbies and Interests

Biking, frying fish, building furniture

Research Interests

My work in Physics Education and Physics Education Research involves systematic studies of the effectiveness of innovative learning spaces. I'm interested in the resources that students from urban institutions bring to the STEM classroom. One way to create innovative learning spaces is to leverage the experience and expertise of peer mentors. Part of my research focuses on how peer mentors can be collaborative partners in education reform and curriculum development.

Representative Presentations & Publications


  • Sabella, M.S. and Roberts, J., Creative Astronomy: Broadening the scope of an online general education course by leveraging an authentic collaboration between Learning Assistant and Instructor, submitted to the Physics Teacher
  • Emenike, M. E., Schick, C. P., Van Duzor, A. G., Sabella, M. S., Hendrickson, S. M., & Langdon, L. S. (2020). Leveraging Undergraduate Learning Assistants to Engage Students during Remote Instruction: Strategies and Lessons Learned from Four Institutions. Journal of Chemical Education, 97(9), 2502-2511.
  • Price, E., Van Duzor, A. G., deLeone, C., Sabella, M.S (2019). Faculty-driven two-year college and four-year institution partnerships, Journal of College Science Teaching, 48 (6), 20-27
  • Sabella, M.S., Mardis K. L., Sanders, N., & Little, A. (2017). The Chi-Sci Scholars Program: Developing Community and Challenging Racially Inequitable Measures of Success at a Minority-Serving Institution on Chicago’s Southside. The Physics Teacher, 55(6), 350-355.
  • Davenport, F., Amezcua, F., X Sabella, M.S., and Van Duzor, A. G., Exploring the Underlying Factors in Learning Assistant - Faculty Partnerships, 2017 PERC Proceedings [Cincinnati, OH, July 26-27, 2017], edited by L. Ding, A. Traxler, and Y. Cao, doi:10.1119/



  • 2022 Mel Sabella et. al.  (2022, January) 2021 Inclusive Curriculum in Physics - Workshop Series, American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting (Virtual)
  • 2022 Mel Sabella et. al.  (2022, January) Leveraging a community of learners to envision engaging instructional spaces, American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting (Virtual)
  • 2021 Mel Sabella, Laurie Langdon, Jubilee Dickson (2021, October) Assessing and Evaluating your LA Program, 2021 International Learning Assistant Conference
  • 2021 Mel Sabella,  Miriam Martin, Betsy McIntosh (2021, October) Amplifying LA Voice: Supporting LAs through complex instructional transitions, 2021 International Learning Assistant Conference


  • Member of American Association of Physics Teachers Exec. Board; AAPT Past President
  • Member of AAPT DEI Task Force
  • Member of American Physical Society
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Member of National Society of Black Physicists
  • Past President, Chicago Section of the AAPT
  • Member of Planning Committee for Chicago Symposium Series on Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science

Representative Grants & Funding 

  • 2021 REsiliency and Capacity Expansion for Student Success (RECESS), Department of Education, Personnel, $587,729.
  • 2021 Catalyst: Leveraging the community of learners to envision and support innovative and engaging instructional spaces, Partnership for College Completion, PI, $12,000.
  • 2019 Louis Stokes STEM Pathways and Research Alliances: The Illinois LSAMP STEM Pathway and Research Alliance (ILSPRA), NSF (Senior Personnel)
  • 2017 Connecting Physics and Engineering through a Modernization of the Advanced Laboratory Curriculum (CPE-MALC), NSF-IUSE, $298,727

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