Readout of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Visit to Chicago State University

Executive office of the President of the United StatesOn May 16, Chicago State University hosted Dr. Alondra Nelson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Head of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) to discuss cutting edge STEM research led by CSU faculty and CSU initiatives driving diversity and inclusion in the STEM fields. Dr. Nelson visited the University to learn from CSU as a leader in STEM research in graduating students of color, and to understand its outsized impact on today’s diverse talent pipeline in STEM. This event aligned with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity, including President Biden’s day-one Executive Order “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

“At Chicago State University, I heard inspirational stories from students and professors about how the institution creates opportunities for Black, Latino, and other students to jumpstart their professional careers in STEM, from the classroom to extracurricular research experiences” said Dr. Alondra Nelson. “Chicago has a world-class STEM ecosystem, and much can be learned from what’s working at institutions like Chicago State University as government, educational institutions, and partnering institutions seek to foster more inclusive, equitable, and innovative STEM ecosystems across the country.”

“With Chicago State University in the top 2% nationwide for graduating Black students with degrees in physics, the institution is a leading force in creating a pathway for diverse professionals into the STEM workforce,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, President, Chicago State University. “Our faculty are further advancing science by generating new insights with the support of the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Department of Education.” 

The program consisted of three events to give Dr. Nelson an in-depth view of CSU’s STEM programs:

  • Leadership Conversation: Dr. Nelson met with CSU’s President Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq., Dr. Leslie Roundtree, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and other senior University leaders to discuss:
    • Predominantly Black Institutions and the designation’s importance
    • Highlights of CSU’s leadership in STEM research and graduating students of color:
      1. In FY-22, CSU received close to $11 million dollars in federal funds, around $3.5 million are in the STEM R&D cluster.
      2. Funded projects include: the quantum sensing for biophysics and bioengineering (NSF), atherosclerosis research (NIH), nuclear physics research (NSF), archaeometry (NSF) and education and training programs in science, pre-engineering and pre-medical education (NSF, NASA, DoEd).
      3. Is in the top 2% in the nation for the number of African American physics graduates (2014-2018, according to AIP).
      4. CSU is one of the only two undergraduate institutions in ALICE at CERN and the only institution in the collaboration serving minority students.
      5. CSU’s College of Pharmacy is 1st in the Midwest in graduating underrepresented students with doctoral degrees in pharmacy
  • Students and Faculty Discussion: Dr. Nelson met with President Scott, Provost Roundtree, Dr. Edmundo Garcia-Solis, Professor of Physics and Associate Provost of Research and Grants, CSU faculty in biology, chemistry, physics,, and CSU students majoring in physics, biology, and chemistry to discuss:
  • How CSU can work with White House’s Office of Science & Technology Policy and others to improve the representation of Black, Latinx, Hispanic, and women professionals in STEM and democratize access to STEM careers.
  • CSU’s current STEM education and research  programs, including:
    1. CSU’s leadership in the Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (I-LSAMP) and CSU’s involvement in The Access Network - which both focus on supporting equity and diversity within STEM.
    2. CSU’s participation in the Illinois Space Grant Consortium
    3. Recruiting students of color through its Pre-Freshman Program in Engineering and Science (PREP)
    4. CSU’s cutting edge research in quantum sensing, computational chemistry, nuclear and high energy physics,  and pharmacology
    5. The Learning Assistant (LA) Program, that leverages CSU students as instructional partners and peer mentors in fostering effective, active learning spaces.
  • STEM Tour: Dr. Nelson toured the Williams Science Center, the hub of CSU’s STEM facilities. The tour included visiting with faculty and students in CSU’s Atomic Force Microscope lab and the University’s  engineering, design, and 3D printing lab, as well as one of CSU active engagement studio classrooms that provide rich learning experiences that engage all students.

About the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy 

Congress established the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in 1976. The mission of OSTP is to maximize the benefits of science and technology to advance health, prosperity, security, environmental quality, and justice for all Americans. The OSTP advises the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security, health, foreign relations, and the environment. OSTP leads efforts across the Federal government to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets, and works with the private and philanthropic sectors, state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, the research and academic communities, and other nations toward this end.

About Chicago State University

CSU, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus.