Chi Sci Scholars, CSU


The Chi Sci Scholars program at Chicago State University is funded by the National Science Foundation S-STEM Program.  The goal of our program is to increase the number of students pursuing Chemistry or Physics degrees and encourage more students to think of themselves as scientists.  Chemistry and Physics Majors who are accepted into the Program receive tuition support at CSU, engage in a summer program and retreat, participate in early research experiences,engage in a peer and faculty mentoring program, receive funding to support travel to attend conferences and present research, and explore graduate programs, teaching careers, and careers in scientific research.

One notable achievement of this program has been its success at helping the scholars develop their own self-perceptions as scientists.  As an example, a student articulated this connection between her own identity as a chemist and the program, stating that she began to feel like a scientist when she got to CSU. [… from S-STEM external evaluator report.]

The Chi Sci Scholars Program at CSU offers:

  • tuition support up to $8000 per year,
  • a funded summer STEM cohort building program and retreat,
  • early student research experiences,
  • and formalized peer and faculty mentoring.  

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.





Hello, my name is Jacob Vanitvelt and I am a Junior biochemistry major at Chicago State University, while playing baseball. I am pursuing a career in the dental field and my area of study was chosen to best prepare me for the greatest success in my career path. Lately, I have had a growing curiosity and appreciation in the chemical and molecular breakdown of the world around us.
2 My name is Keenan Lambert. I am in my second year as an engineering physics major at Chicago State University.  I enjoy science because it helps me understand the world around me.
 3 My name is Raquell Mason and I am a first year Chemistry major.  I’m very ambitious towards my goals that I want to achieve in life. My determination and optimism are what takes over my personality. I always strive for better in myself because I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.
 4 My name is Mel Sabella and I am a physics professor at Chicago State University and the co-director of CSU’s Chi Sci Scholars Program (NSF S-STEM).  I enjoy collaborating with students and peers on education projects and co-thinking about ways to create supportive, inclusive learning environments. I’m originally from Queens, NY but have been in Chicago and worked at CSU since 2001.
 5 My name is Andrew Huff and I am a junior Biochemistry major from Gary, Indiana. I am involved with the Chicago State Cross Country and Track and Field programs while holding a full time position as a residential assistant and S-STEM Mentor. My future endeavors are a bit of a blur at the moment, however, I can guarantee that it will be successful.
6 My name is Anthony Coleman and I’m in my third year as a S-STEM Scholar. My area is Physics Engineering. My area of interest is Nuclear Physics dealing with High Energy Physics. I plan to continue my research in Neutrinos, possibly at MIT.
 7 My name is Felicia and I am a  sophomore Physics Major. I’m currently an LA for Physics II w/ Calculus, a member of the Honors College, a member of the S-STEM program, and a golfer on Chicago State’s Women’s Golf Team. I am also conducting educational research with Dr. Sabella on the LA program.
8 Hello, my name is Emran Alhijazin and I currently attend Chicago State University. I’m majoring in chemistry with a minor in Arabic ( specifically for the center for information & security education).  After graduation, I plan to attend Rush University’s Master in Science Nursing Program for non-nursing majors.
 9 My name is Fidel Amezcua and I am  a chemistry major with an emphasis in biochemistry at Chicago State University. A current Learning Assistant, I strive to help in science courses by contributing my time in and outside of the classroom to better support the retention rate of students, student learning outcomes, and decrease the student to teacher ratio in active learning environments. In the future, I aspire to become a professional in the medical field as a Physician Assistant.
 10 My name is Ashley Walker and I am a Chemistry major. My research is in Astrochemistry and I have been working on  determining which metal is conductive with meteorites. I enjoy stargazing and learning about other astronomical phenomena.
 11 My name is Nicolette Sanders and I am a junior Chemistry major from Chicago, IL. I am  a Learning Assistant with an interest in Chemistry and Mathematics. I’m also involved in other organizations on campus including Honda Campus All-Star Challenge and ACS/NOBCChE.
12 My name is Kristy Mardis and I am a Professor of Chemistry in my twelfth year teaching Physical Chemistry, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, and General Chemistry.  In addition to being the co-director of the Chi Sci Scholars Program at CSU, my research students and I use electronic structure methods in combination with Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) data to study organic photovoltaics and biomimetic transition metal catalysts.
 14 My name is Christopher Mallares and I am a biochemistry major at Chicago State University. I’ve been a research aid for Dr. Kristy Mardis since my freshman year. I am an Access Network Fellow and hope to see you soon as part of the ACCESS Network.
 15 My name is Chietha Moore and I am a senior chemistry major at Chicago State University. I will be the first graduate from the Chi-Sci Scholars in December 2016. At CSU, I have been a Learning Assistant since Spring 16. I had the pleasure of doing a REU at the DOE National Lab in Pittsburgh, PA where I enhanced my knowledge with NMR and other analytical techniques. My career goals are to obtain my PharmD and work in the pharmaceutical industry.
16 My name is Breauna Smothers Nicholson. I am in my final year at CSU and I’m majoring in chemistry.  This past summer I did research at Argonne National Laboratory in computational chemistry.  After I graduate, I’m planning on applying to a physician’s assistant program.
17 Hi, my name is Clarreesa Hardin and I’m a chemistry major at Chicago State. This is my first year as a S-STEM Scholar and I’m currently fulfilling my prerequisites for pharmacy school. My growing passion for science (specifically chemistry) has allowed me to understand certain ideas of how the world works around me, as well as push me towards my future endeavor to becoming a pharmacist.
 18 My name is Katie Stelnicki.  I am a senior chemistry major and this is my first year at CSU.  I am currently doing research to investigate using millifluidic devices as reaction vessels.