Department of Chemistry at Illinois State University

Tenure Track Chemistry Teacher Education Faculty Employment Opportunity

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The faculty of the Department of Chemistry includes some of Illinois State University's most renowned teachers and researchers. Since 2000, Chemistry faculty have received nearly 20 teaching awards and nearly 20 research awards, including the 2009 Illinois Professor of the Year award.
Over $2 Million in active grants supports diverse areas such as forensics, nanotechnology, organic synthesis, education, materials chemistry, and biochemistry.
The Chemistry Department is home to more than 150 undergraduates, 30 graduate students, and 22 faculty members.

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Chemistry News

NSF Grant to Dr. Lisa Szczepura

lfszczeWith the help of a more than $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Szczepura and her team are developing new ways for chemists to study metal complexes. The goal of this NSF grant is to formulate ways to study metal clusters containing carbenes, or neutral molecules that have two unshared electrons that can bond to another molecule. Her team, which began work this summer, identifies how carbenes bond to clusters and how the carbene influences the reactivity of the cluster. To view the entire article, please visit:


Faculty and Staff Receive Impact Awards

The Impact Award, a program organized through University College, recognizes the positive influence individual members of the Illinois State University community have on new students and student retention. This year’s recipients from the Department of Chemistry include Professor David Cedeno, Professor Rick Nagorski, and academic advisor Ally Cherveny. - See more at:

ISU Graduation Next Step for Nigerian Student

Subomi.2Subomi Aregbesola’s past is pretty remarkable. But it’s his future that may be the real story. The Illinois State University senior was born in Nigeria but moved to the U.S. in 2001 at age 10 after his family won the coveted visa lottery. Aregbesola won his U.S. citizenship just this semester and is now weeks away from graduating, eager to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals research and development. “I want to discover something that’s revolutionary,” said Aregbesola, a biochemistry major with a minor in chemistry and biology. “I truly feel like I’m destined to do something great.” To view the full article, please see:


CAS News

Ecological Economist to Deliver Talk
Eric Zencey

Eric Zencey

On Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. in Room 214, Moulton Hall, the Department of Chemistry, in conjunction with the Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), will be sponsoring a cross-disciplinary talk by ecological economist Eric Zencey. His talk, “Ostwald, Energy, and Ecological Economics,” is drawn from his essay, “Energy as Master Resource,” published as a chapter in The State of the World 2013.  Zencey is an advisor for the ACS Climate Science Outreach Program and serves on the United Nations International Expert Work Group for New Development Paradigms. 

Dr. Zencey holds a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy and the History of Science.  His dissertation, titled “Entropy as Root Metaphor,” looked at how the second law of thermodynamics revolutionized the sciences, including physics and biology and also found applications outside of science in such fields as history, politics, literature and economics.  He currently teaches Ecological Economics, a school of economic thought rooted in the perception that economic processes are at the bottom thermodynamic processes.  His most recent book is The Other Road to Serfdom and the Path to Sustainable Democracy, which critically analyzes traditional economic theory for its thermodynamically illiterate, infinite-planet assumptions. He is currently a visiting lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis.

For additional information, contact Professor Frank Shaw at



CAS Faculty Named Outstanding University Teachers

David Cedeño, Robert McLaughlin, and Tina Stewart Brakebill

Illinois State University will honor faculty members whose teaching accomplishments are unusually significant and meritorious among their colleagues at the Founders Day Convocation at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Brown Ballroom, Bone Student Center.

David Cedeño of the Department of Chemistry and Robert McLaughlin of the Department of English will receive the Outstanding University Teaching Award, Category I. Tina Stewart Brakebill of the Department of History will be honored with the Outstanding University Teaching Award, Category II, for non-tenured faculty.


David Cedeño, a chemistry professor, came to the University in 2001 as an assistant professor. He received his B.S. in chemistry at Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia in 1991, and was a research and development bench chemist before coming to the United States in 1994. He earned his doctoral degree from Baylor University in 1999 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University.   He has been invited to teach at Universidad de Caldas in Colombia and Vietnam National University. He has also served on the dissertation/ thesis committees of students in Colombia.Cedeño has been a coordinator and mentor for the nationally recognized American Chemical Society Project SEED (Summer Experiences for Economically Disadvantaged students). The efforts of volunteers involved in this project were recognized with the 2008 Chemluminary award for best Project SEED program in the nation.

Cedeño received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award for 2012-2013 and the John Dorsey Award for Outstanding Teacher 2011-2012. He also received the 2006 University Research Initiative award and the 2012-2013 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service award.

Professor Robert McLaughlin began teaching in the English Department in 1988. He graduated from Fordham University with a Ph.D. in American literature in 1987.            He has published widely in postmodern literature and culture, especially on the work of Thomas Pynchon. He is coauthor with Sally Parry of We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema during World War II and editor of Innovations: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Fiction. His book on the musical theater of Stephen Sondheim is under review, and he is writing a book on World War II theater with Parry.            McLaughlin is a longtime co-advisor of the University’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor society, and serves as the English Department’s Honors coordinator. He has also served as the department’s associate chair and director of Undergraduate Studies. He previously received the Stan and Sandy Rives Excellence in Undergraduate Education Award and the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award.

Tina Stewart Brakebill has been an instructional assistant professor in history since 2006, but she can trace her Redbird affiliation back to her days as a student in the early 1980s.

After a 15-year break, she returned to Illinois State in 1998 to finish her undergraduate degree and earn her master’s in history. She taught at Parkland College before joining the Department of History as an instructor in 2006.

Brakebill has taught nearly 2,000 history and non-history majors. She also works to strengthen student connections beyond the classroom by offering undergraduate student teaching experiences and by serving as a faculty floor mentor, a Registered Student Organization faculty advisor, and a Safe Zone ally.

Brakebill’s research and writing agenda centers on connecting with students. Her first book, Circumstances are Destiny: An Antebellum Woman’s Struggle to Define Sphere, and her upcoming book, Barbara Egger Lennon: Teacher, Mother, Activist, are both biographies aimed at undergraduate audiences.

- See more at:


More CAS News

Climate Science and the ACS Toolkit

Register for a workshop!

ACS Logo with ToolkitThe workshops will introduce the ACS Climate Science Toolkit as a pedagogical resource. The Toolkit provides factual information including the nature of greenhouse gases, the mechanism of global warming, the history of earth's past temperature swings, and multiple lines of evidence that support the seriousness of climate change. Teachers will be provided with a complete set of the data in the Toolkit. Demonstrations for the classroom (adaptable for hands-on lab experiments) will be explained, and then performed by each attendee. Two guest lecturers, knowledgeable about climate science and its implications, will present a morning talk and will be available for informal discussion. Teachers will receive five CPDUs for attending the Workshop.

More information on ACS Toolkit Workshops


September 26, 2014

The Illinois State University Department of Chemistry will present seminars at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 26, 2014, by Wade Wilson, “Hydrogenation Catalysis Using Abundant Metals,” and Michael Berninger (Literature).

October 3, 2014

The Department of Chemistry Alumni Day guest, Michael Weberski, Jr. (BS’04, MS’07/McLauchlan) will speak at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 3, 2014, in Julian 225.

October 10, 2014

Dr. Donald Wink of the University of Illinois-Chicago will present a seminar at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 10University Scholars 2013Donald WinkProfessor, Department of Chemistry, 2014, in Julian 225.

October 17, 2014

Calvin Quilty of the Illinois State University Department of Chemistry will present a seminar entitled, “Alterations of Oxygen Stoichiometry in a Layered Rock Salt:  Investigations of LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2-x As a Cathode Material for Next Generation Li Ion Batteries,” at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 17, 2014, in Julian 225.

October 24, 2014

Dr. Jon Scaffidi of Miami University of Ohio (Oxford, OH) will present a seminar  scaffidi, Jonat 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 22, 2014, in Julian 225.

October 31, 2014

Eric Grabowski of the Illinois State University Department of Chemistry will present a seminar entitled, “Synthesis and Characterization of Monocarbaporphyrins,” at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2014, in Julian 225.

More seminar dates