Our department is involved in many projects. Below is a snapshot of what is going on!

Teaching and Learning

  • POGIL Polymer Labs: Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is a nationally recognized student-centered, group-learning instructional strategy and philosophy developed through education research. CSU faculty are actively engaged in the POGIL community and are developing and implementing POGIL labs in the introductory and advanced Chemistry Courses.  
  • Learning Assistant Model: The CSU Learning Assistant Program began in the Department of Chemistry, Physics and Engineering Studies in 2010. Learning Assistants (LAs) are  students who, through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. The program is now active in multiple disciplines in the College of Arts and Science including: Music, English, Psychology, and all the STEM disciplines, as well as the Colleges of Education and Business. The CSU Program has been funded by multiple grants from the American Physical Society, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, NASA, and the Partnership for College Completion. The LA Model was developed at the University of Colorado and is now in over 100 institutions around the country and CSU has been involved in the national LA Alliance leadership efforts, serving on the LA Leadership Council, , serving as mentors, co-running sessions at the International LA Conference, and running local and national workshops. Our student LAs have also served on national panels and have helped co-run sessions and workshops on the model.  

LA in physics supporting students



  • Quantum Leap Challenge Institute: Quantum Sensing for Biophysics and Bioengineering (QuBBE): Exploiting quantum coherence and correlations to probe structure, dynamics, and function in vivo.  CSU is part of this collaborative effort with the University of Chicago, UIUC, and Harvard to study basic science research and workforce development around Quantum information. This project, supported by the National Science Foundation, supports students in preparing for quantum science careers to produce a diverse, well-trained workforce to meet the needs of a burgeoning field.
  • Exploring the El Castillo pyramid in Mexico: CSU Physics Department is leading research in cutting-edge technology along with Dominican University (DU) through a  grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to map archaeological pyramid structures in Mexico. Through this project CSU joins forces with Dominican University, a Hispanic-serving University, in increasing the number of underrepresented students in STEM disciplines and research.


  • Pre-Freshman Program in Engineering & Science (PREP): The goal of the PREP Program is to increase awareness of career opportunities in engineering in order to facilitate the selection of an engineering major in college.  The PREP Program is beneficial to students because it provides critical insight into the engineering profession, the demand of an engineering curriculum and what is expected of them academically and socially in college.

  • QuarkNet: CSU is part of the NSF and DoE’s Office of High Energy Physics supported QuarkNet Program. It is designed to promote science among high school students and teachers.  Through QuarkNet our group extends our experiences to high schools in the area. CSU has worked with mentors from Thornton South and Brooks High School. Working with the University of Illinois at Chicago,  CSU co-manages Chicago’s QuarkNet network. Our activities have included workshops, directed research on cosmic ray experiments, and visits with high school students to CSU, Adler Planetarium and Fermilab. Our group has had the opportunity to share research experiences,so that the combination of QuarkNet and the ALICE research program constitutes a tool of science divulgation and recruitment into STEM disciplines.
  • Science Fair Central - South in a program to help Chicago Area elementary, middle, and high school students prepare for the annual science fair.  The department has been organizing and hosting the event for over ten years and brings in students, parents and teachers from around the city to talk about possible topics, safety rules, error analysis and everything you need to know to be successful for the science fair. Click here for more information on Science Fair Central and links to the city science fair and science fair resources. Many members of the department also serve as Science Fair judges at the area fair held each January at CSU.
  • High School Visits: The department is happy to host groups of HS students to visit the campus, tour our new teaching labs which are among the very best in the country and visit our research labs. We also visit High Schools in the area to run demo shows and highlight exciting science and engineering topics. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.

Quarknet Outreach