Diversity News

Below you'll find some of our department's most recent diversity and inclusion related news articles. 

Photo of a Day Camp student at a bench in a chemistry lab guiding a student through an activity.

WCC still going strong supporting women in chemical sciences

More than 17 years ago, a group of Illinois chemistry graduate students founded the ACS East Central Illinois Women Chemists Committee to promote the development of women in the chemical sciences. Alum Stefanie Bumpus McBride (PhD, ’10, Kelleher) was a graduate student then and one of the founding members. McBride, who now works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said founding the WCC was a highlight as a student at UIUC.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know others in the department, develop leadership skills, and provide both educational and fun opportunities for others."


Robert Cook in front of the blooming trees at the Japan House on the UIUC campus.

Getting to know: Senior chemistry major Robert Cook 

A senior in Chemistry at Illinois, Robert Cook is an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Prof. Lisa Olshansky. As a junior, Cook got involved in a peer-to-peer mentoring program called C2 – Chemical Science Through Community. The experience matched him with a chemistry graduate student mentor and spurred him to get involved in research in the Olshansky lab. C2 also gave him the opportunity to attend the 2022 conference of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.


Three research students stand/sit side by side in front of a wipe off board with chemical equations.

Student researchers collaborate on project targeting enzyme essential to RNA viruses

Undergraduate student Idalee Johnson Rosas, and graduate students Angela Thomas and Marya Ornelas collaborated in the lab of Prof. Angad Mehta on research targeting an enzyme that is essential to RNA viruses. Rosas got involved in this project through the C2 – Chemical Science through Community program, which matches undergraduate students interested in research with graduate student mentors. As an undergraduate researcher, Rosas' work focused on determining mutations that would attenuate the activity of the enzyme.

Head shot of Danielle Loving on a white background

Getting to know: Graduate student Danielle Loving

A chemistry PhD student from Georgia, Danielle Loving is a 2022 National Science Foundation Fellow, a mentor in the C2 program, and a research associate in the lab of Professor Martin Burke. Her long-term career goal is to be an academic professor and principal investigator at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution.

Side by side head shots of Anita Wo and Claudia Berdugo-Diaz

Graduate students receive Inclusive Leadership awards

Chemistry at Illinois graduate student Anita Wo has received the 2022 Inclusive Excellence Leadership Award at the Gender Equity and Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences (GEICS) conference on Aug. 20, and Claudia Berdugo-Díaz, a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering doctoral student received the runner-up GEICS Inclusive Leadership Award at the conference.


Head shot of Tepora Su'a

Tepora Su’a brings passion for DEI to Chemistry at Illinois

Tepora Su’a finished her PhD in chemistry at Wayne State University in Detroit in Spring 2022, where she was very active in organizations and initiatives that cultivated diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM. In June 2022, Su’a brought her passion for DEI to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, beginning her new role as the Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences.

Joenisse M. Rosado-Rosa, left, and Catherine Jalomo.

C² leads to summer research, mentoring opportunities

Two chemistry graduate students in the C² program — Joenisse Rosado-Rosa and Catherine Jalomo — were recognized for outstanding mentorship of undergraduate students in the chemical sciences. Chemical Science + Community (C²) is comprised of chemistry and chemical engineering graduate and undergraduate students from underrepresented groups. 


Head shot of Susanna Barrett.

Getting to know: PhD student Susanna Barrett an aspiring mentor, professor

A third-year graduate student, Susanna Barrett weaves into her busy schedule time for mentoring other students both outside the lab and in the lab where she is currently doing a lot of foundational work to develop a method for identifying lasso peptides that can bind to and change the activity of specific enzymes.

Head shot of H.N. Cheng.

H.N. Cheng (PhD, '74) continues to see the possibilities in chemistry

A research chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and President of the American Chemical Society, Cheng (PhD, '74) continues to "see future possibilities" in his research developing green chemistry methodologies related to agro-based materials and using them to produce eco-friendly and sustainable products.

Head shot of Catherine Jalomo.

Getting to know: Graduate student Catherine Jalomo

A native of Fresno, Californa, Catherine Jalomo is pursuing her dream to become a chemist and a mentor as a first-generation college student and the first among her siblings to pursue a graduate degree.


Jazmin Aguilar-Romero, left, and Sarah Krueger.

Chemistry graduate students receive Inclusive Leadership Awards

Jazmin Aguilar-Romero and Sarah Krueger are the 2021 recipients of the Women in Chemistry Inclusive Leadership Award sponsored by the Department of Chemistry Office of Graduate Diversity and Program Climate. The awards were announced during the Women in Chemistry Conference.


Diagram of UIUC C² group ideals

C² mixes chemistry & community to promote undergraduate scholars

A new program in the Department of Chemistry serving chemistry majors who identify as African American, LatinX, or Native American offers a combination of monthly professional development workshops, networking events and one-on-one peer mentorship. 

Head shot of Professor Joaquín Rodríguez-López

Rodríguez-López named IAspire Leadership Academy fellow

The program's third cohort of 27 STEM faculty and administrators from underrepresented backgrounds will gain leadership development to prepare them for senior roles at colleges and universities.


Head shot of Tina Huang.

Getting to Know: Tina Huang, lecturer and director of general chemistry

With more than 10 years of experience as an Illinois chemistry lecturer, Tina Huang is the department's new Director of General Chemistry, a mostly administrative role responsible for the loads of...


Head shot of Skye Faucher.

FUTURE-MINDS-QB to increase participation from underrepresented groups in science

FUTURE-MINDS-QB, a bridge program streamlining a path from a master’s degree at Fisk University, a historically Black university in Nashville, to a doctoral degree at University of Illinois Urbana-...


Head shot of St. Elmo Brady

St. Elmo Brady Scholars gain experience with Chemistry at Illinois research groups

The St. Elmo Brady Scholars Program provides summer research opportunities at Illinois for undergraduates from Tougaloo, Howard, Fisk, and Tuskegee universities, whose chemistry programs were founded...


Head shot of Autumn Cook

Getting to Know: Graduate student Autumn Cook

A Meyerhoff Scholar, member of Honors College and undergraduate researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, incoming UIUC chemistry graduate student Autumn Cook was also dedicated to...


Head shots of Melanie R. McReynolds and Ivan A. Moreno-Hernandez.

St. Elmo Brady's Postdoctoral Inclusive Excellence Symposium features two postdoctoral speakers

The St. Elmo Brady's Postdoctoral Inclusive Excellence Symposium begins June 4 with postdoctoral researcher Ivan A. Moreno-Hernandez from the University of California, Berkeley, and continues June 11.


Head shot of Hugo Ong.

Hugo Ong (PhD, '07) combines science and financial expertise at Allianz Global Investors

Alum Hugo Ong works in the San Francisco area as a healthcare VP Analyst and Associate Portfolio Manager at Allianz Global Investors, a long-only investment firm, with a focus on biotechnology and...


Head shot of Enleyona Weir

New class of graduate students joining Chemistry at Illinois

A total of 62 students comprise this graduate student class (61 PhD candidates and one Master of Science in Teaching Chemistry). That total also includes two student deferrals from Fall 2020. That breaks down to 46 domestic students and 16 international students.

Head shots of Professors Jefferson Chan and Joaquín Rodríguez-López

Chemistry faculty members receive named scholar positions

Several professors in the College of LAS, including chemistry professors Jefferson Chan and Joaquín Rodríguez-López, have recently received named scholar positions for their contributions in education and research at the University of Illinois.


Head shot of Sriyankari Chitti

Chemistry senior selected Knight-Hennessy Scholar

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign senior Sriyankari Chitti, a chemistry major and undergraduate researcher is one of 76 students to be offered this award from more than 8,000 applicants around...

Head shot of Alveda Williams


Alumna Alveda Williams: From R&D at Dow to Corporate Director of Inclusion

Alum Alveda Williams (PhD, ’02, Gupta) explains in a recent Q&A in Nature Chemistry how she moved from Research and Development at Dow into another "area of strength and passion,” becoming the...


Head shot of anna Bertelloni


Former postdoc: UIUC research leads to possible SARS-CoV-2 drug

More than 30 years ago, Anna Bertelloni was a postdoctoral researcher working on natural products from marine organisms in the lab of UIUC chemistry Prof. Kenneth L. Rinehart. That work led to...


Head shot of Nicholas Ndiege


Alumnus doing life-saving work as manufacturing engineer

As a senior manufacturing engineer at Abbott, Illinois chemistry alumnus Nicholas Ndiege (PhD, ’08, Shannon, Masel) is responsible for manufacturing engineering activities related to production of...


Head shot of Daniel Najera


Getting to know: Graduate student Daniel Najera grateful for mentors

A doctoral student in the Fout group, Daniel Najera was born in Chicago, grew up in Mexico and moved to El Paso, Texas, at age 16 to escape economic hardship and pursue educational opportunities that...

ACS WCC logo

Graduate students host virtual "Bonding with Chemistry" Day Camp for Girls

A group of Illinois chemistry graduate students successfully demonstrated chemistry experiments for 32 Champaign and Urbana middle school students via Zoom during an all-virtual edition of the annual “Bonding with Chemistry” Day Camp for Girls on Dec. 5, 2020.


Tabitha Miller on a tricycle

Getting to know: Graduate student Tabitha Miller

A member of professor Alison Fout's research group, Tabitha Miller looks ahead to postdoctoral research at Argonne National Laboratory as she nears completion of her PhD in chemistry in early 2021.


Head shot of Lloyd Munjanja

ACS honors Lloyd Munjanja for advancing diversity in chemical sciences

The American Chemical Society's Committee on Minority Affairs has selected Lloyd Munjanja, the associate director of Graduate Diversity and Program Climate, as the 2020 recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences.


Head shot of Christian Ray

Chemistry department "ahead of the curve" accommodating student needs

Professor Christian Ray strives to create an inclusive classroom environment to help all students succeed, including those who face physical and other challenges by connecting them with support services coordinated by the Department of Chemistry and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES).


Head shot of Professor Steve Zimmerman

Zimmerman appointed to university racism and social injustice committee

Chancellor Robert J. Jones announced five committees that have been charged with identifying steps to create a campus free of structural and system racism and bias.


Head shot of Edzna Garcia

Getting to know: Graduate student Edzna Garcia

A sixth-year PhD candidate in the area of organic chemistry, Edzna Garcia shares her story of perseverance as a first-generation college student who realized in high school that she wanted to pursue an education in chemistry.

Head shot of Alison Wallum

Alison Wallum wins 2020 Women in Chemistry Inclusive Leadership Award

Graduate student Alison Wallum's commitment to inclusive excellence was recognized with the annual Women in Chemistry Inclusive Leadership Award, and graduate student Hannah Toru was also recognized with runner-up award.


Head shot of Erick Carreira

Alumnus Erick Carreira appointed editor-in-chief of ACS journal

He will take over as editor of the flagship publication of the American Chemical Society in 2021 and become the first JACS editor-in-chief to live outside of the U.S. and the first Latin American to lead the journal.


Students at desks taking tests

Department of Chemistry eliminates GRE scores from admissions process

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores were already optional for graduate school admission, but now the department has completely eliminated the scores from the process.


Head shot of Professor Prashant Jain

Professor Prashant Jain’s Path to Chemistry at Illinois

Originally from Mumbai, India, Professor Prashant Jain’s path to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began to take shape when he was a young boy with a natural curiosity for the world around him and a passion for reading that eventually led him to discover books and magazines about science, particularly physics and chemistry.


Head shot of Professor Catherine Murphy

Murphy receives ACS National Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Professor Catherine J. Murphy becomes the first woman to receive the American Chemical Society’s National Award in Inorganic Chemistry.


Head shot of Samuel Okyem

Getting to know: Graduate Student Samuel Okyem

First-generation college student from Ghana in Western Africa chose Illinois to pursue his PhD, because of the inter-disciplinary and cutting-edge research conducted by the faculty in the Department of Chemistry.


Screen shot of opening screen of the "Twenty Whites & One 'Other'" video

Documentary about chemistry alumnus, St. Elmo Brady, wins Telly Award

A documentary about Illinois chemistry alumnus St. Elmo Brady, the first African American to earn a PhD in chemistry in the United States, has garnered a Telly Award.


Head shot of Professor Catherine Murphy

Cathy Murphy becomes first woman to head the Department of Chemistry

As an alumna and faculty member, Professor Cathy Murphy brings a rare perspective to her new role as head of the Department of Chemistry, and her role also marks a historic moment as the first woman to lead the department in its 152-year history.


Black and white photo of Eunice S. Wu and her father, Jasen T.S. Su, before she boarded a plane for the U.S.

Eunice S. Wu Memorial Scholarship: One Woman's Path to Illinois

More than 60 years ago, Eunice S. Wu left her home in Taiwan for the United States to study chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, following in the footsteps of her father who had graduated from Illinois. Since 2015, a scholarship in her memory helps other women seeking a degree in chemistry.


Head shot of Safiyah Muhammad

Getting to know: Graduate student Safiyah Muhammad

Growing up in North Miami, Safiyah Muhammad was always at the beach and naturally drawn to marine life, which led her to consider marine biology as an undergraduate at Nova Southeastern University.


Head shot of Nick Pino

Getting to know: Graduate student Nick Pino

A world traveler, photographer and musician, Nick Pino’s dream is to live in the big city, but it was the human connections that drew him to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to earn his PhD in chemistry, and it is those same personal connections that he says make this department unique.


Head shot of Professor Jeffrey Moore

Professor Jeffrey Moore strives for diversity one wall at a time

A few months ago, a new term cropped up on Twitter to describe an all-too-common phenomenon at academic institutions: a dude wall.