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            I: Community Updates
            October is Disability Awareness Month
            Diversity and Climate Updates
            Graduate Student Awards
            II: Community News           
                   St. Elmo Brady Sankofa Award
                   HBCU - Illinois Chemistry Partnership
                   LGBT+ Programming
                   Diversity - One Wall at a Time   
            III: Resources Corner
                   Mental Health Resources





Happy Fall! The weather has finally cooled off and the colors are bright and beautiful. I hope everyone is doing well. 

October is disAbility Awareness Month. I would like to share with you resources from Catalyst.Org on how to "Flip the Script: disAbilities in the Workplace". Words are powerful. Even with the best of intentions, we may say something that is unhelpful or even hurtful to a person in our workplace who has a disAbility. Or, afraid of saying the wrong thing, we might stay silent. Rather than focusing on a coworker’s abilities, it’s important to establish connections and engage without pity, judgment, or apprehension to foster a sense of belonging and create a more inclusive workplace. Read More


Climate Committee Updates 

(a) The climate committee has been working on the new faculty mentoring program. Also, the committee has collaborated with the Wellness Coalition in creating templates for research lab policy manuals.

(b) A lot of changes have happened in the CHEM 492 course for first-year graduate students. This course covers topics to prepare graduate students in most aspects of the graduate culture, including how to be an effective TA, cultural competence and awareness, understanding ethics in research, and becoming savvy in non-technical skills essential to graduate school success, such as program management, conflict resolution, time management and understanding resources available for acute or chronic mental health challenges. Please see the Fall 2019 syllabus here.

(c) CHEM 590c for third-year graduate students is coming in SPRING 2020, with topics such as "A Delicate Art: Manage Your Boss", publications, science communication, and managing gender harassment.

Diversity Committee Updates 

(a) The department recently recieved $30,000 in corporate funding to support the St. Elmo Brady Summer Program, a partnership with the chemistry departments that Illinois alumnus St. Elmo Brady (first African-American Ph.D. chemist in the U.S.) created at four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Tougaloo College, Howard University, Fisk University, and Tuskegee University.

(b) The department received an additional $30,000 to support URM graduate student fellowships for the 2020 admission cycle. 

(c) Most of the diversity committee will be traveling to recruitment conferences, SACNAS, ABRMCS, and NOBCChE in the upcoming weeks to support the department's recruitment efforts. 


Bristol-Myers Squibb Graduate Fellowship: Yaroslav Boyko, a third-year graduate student in the David Sarlah lab, has received a Bristol-Myers Squibb Graduate Fellowship in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. Read more

Women in Chemistry Inclusive Leadership Award: Lauren Hagler, a beginning fifth-year graduate student in Steve Zimmerman’s group, is the recipient of the first annual Women in Chemistry (WIC) Inclusive Leadership Award. Read more

Alfred R. Bader Award for Student Innovation: Lucas Hernandez, a fifth-year graduate student in the David Sarlah group, received the 2019 Alfred R. Bader Award for Student Innovation. Read more

Physical Chemistry Dissertation Award: Dr. Daniel Dumett Torres of Professor Prashant Jain’s laboratory is the winner of the 2019 Physical Chemistry Dissertation Award, given to the best Ph.D. thesis in the area of physical chemistry each year in the Department of Chemistry. Read more

Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship: Jose Zavala (Moore Group) received the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship.






Illinois Chemistry alumnus St. Elmo Brady (Ph.D., 1916) was the first African American to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States. More than fifty years after his death in 1966, Brady will receive the 2019 Sankofa Award from the University of Illinois Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The Sankofa Award recognizes champions of diversity who made significant contributions to diversifying campus and whose stories of struggle, perseverance, and fortitude may not be widely known.The award will be presented at the Celebration of Diversity breakfast on November 8, 2019, in Urbana, Illinois. Read More



The Department of Chemistry recently established the St. Elmo Brady Scholars Program, which provides summer research opportunities at Illinois for undergraduates from Tougaloo, Howard, Fisk, and Tuskegee—four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) whose chemistry programs Brady founded after he completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at Illinois in 1916.

The first installation of the Brady Scholars program took place this summer, supported by a generous gift from Dow Chemical and the Graduate College’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). Enleyona Weir, from Tougaloo College in Mississippi, was the first Brady Scholar. Read More



On August 17, 2019, the LGBT+ chemists held their 3rd annual Welcome BBQ for the Out community in the Department of Chemistry. The main goal of the event is to foster community building and promote the visibility of the LGBT+ students, postdocs, faculty, and staff in the chemistry department. Furthermore, it helps new students establish connections with people who can be their mentors and role models as they navigate graduate school. Read more



A few months ago, a new term cropped up on Twitter to describe an all-too-common phenomenon at academic institutions: a dude wall. In science departments, these walls honor historical figures by portraying retired faculty, previous heads of an institution, or even just preeminent scientists in a field. But they’ve been attracting negative attention for their lack of diversity—almost all the portraits are white, male scientists. Professor Jeffrey Moore is one leader trying to reverse the trend. Read more






  • For short-term mental health concerns or emergencies, please reach out to the Counseling Center (217-333-3704).
    • Same-day appointments
    • Limited to several sessions
    • More permanent solutions like group therapy exist here
  • For longer-term mental health concerns, please reach out to McKinley Health Center (217-333-2700).
    • Dual medicine-therapy approach (therapists and psychiatrists freely communicate to serve patients effectively)
    • Limited to 15 therapy sessions but they can make exceptions
    • Unlimited psychiatry
    • Provides same-day appointments, but it is preferred that the student calls to schedule (Please be advised that it could take a month to get in)
    • Will do baseline assessment and refer directly to Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) if needed
  • Long-term mental health concerns will be referred to DRES by McKinley if needed.
    • McKinley staff will make and email application to DRES
    • DRES will reach out to make an appointment
    • Meet with a specialist to help students with their personal needs
    • Accommodation letters are given to the student
    • Free and unlimited therapy from Ph.D. level therapists

Graduate students can also use the Faculty Staff Assistance program

Faculty/Staff Assistance Services
Website: http://humanresources.illinois.edu/fsas/index.html
Appointments: http://humanresources.illinois.edu/fsas/services/core-counseling.html: (217) 244-5312