Department of Chemistry at Illinois State University

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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

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:

Dr. Cary Supalo Honored with Access Award

The American Foundation for the Blind recently honored Dr. Cary Supalo, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, and his company, Independent Science, for their work creating software to make science more accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired. The Talking LabQuest interfaces with Sci-Voice Access software, which Independent Science developed.  To view the full story, please access


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

Chair's Message

Welcome to the Department of Chemistry!
Craig McLauchlanAt Illinois State, you will have an experience unlike almost any other chemistry department in the country. Our program combines the best of facilities and resources of a large research university with the personal, supportive environment of a small liberal arts college or university. The faculty is made up of individuals that could be successful at large research universities, but have a love of both teaching and research. Three of the past five years a chemistry professor has been named the Outstanding University Teacher. Come to visit us! You will quickly discover why Illinois State Chemistry should be your college home.

Craig C. McLauchlan, Interim Chair


August 29, 2014

Daniel Huh of the Illinois State University Department of Chemistry will present a seminar entitled, “Redox and Mechanistic Studies of Oxygen Evolving Complex Analogs of Photosystem II,” at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 29, 2014, in Julian 225.

September 5, 2014

Dr. Justin Walensky of the University of Missouri-Columbia will present a seminar at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 5Walensky, Justin, 2014, in Julian 225.

September 12, 2014

George Van Den Driessche of the Illinois State University Department of Chemistry will present a literature seminar at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 12, 2014, in Julian 225.

September 19, 2014

Dr. Teri Odom of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) will present a seminar at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 19Odom, Teri, 2014, in Julian 225.

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.

More seminar dates