Dr. Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann - Director, Co-founder
Reaching out to Stanford’s diverse body of students and beyond to share the excitement of scientific discovery has been a growing passion for Dr. Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann. In addition to coordinating and co-teaching Stanford’s freshmen chemistry sequence, she takes a leadership role in developing training programs for teaching assistants and enhancing classroom and lab experiences for undergraduates, while also providing STEM learning opportunities for incoming freshmen and local high school students.
Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann studied chemistry at Washington University in Saint Louis Missouri (A.B. 2002) before coming to Stanford University as a graduate student (Ph.D. 2008). Her thesis work under Prof. Edward Solomon addressed structural contributions to reactivity in active sites of non-heme di-iron enzymes, including ferritins. She joined the Stanford Center (now Vice Provost) for Teaching and Learning as a Teaching Fellow in 2008. In 2009, she became Lecturer and Introductory Course Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry, and in 2011 was promoted to Senior Lecturer. She has received multiple awards for her teaching and training work, including the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dean’s Award for Achievements in Teaching, Hoagland Award Fund for Innovations in Undergraduate Teaching, and Society of Latino Engineers and School of Engineering’s Professor of the Year Award.
Professor Robert Waymouth - Faculty Lead, Co-founder
Robert Eckles Swain Professor in Chemistry Robert Waymouth investigates new catalytic strategies to create useful new molecules, including bioactive polymers, synthetic fuels, and sustainable plastics. In one such breakthrough, Professor Waymouth and Professor Wender developed a new class of gene delivery agents.
Born in 1960 in Warner Robins, Georgia, Robert Waymouth studied chemistry and mathematics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (B.S. and B.A., respectively, both summa cum laude, 1982). He developed an interest in synthetic and mechanistic organometallic chemistry during his doctoral studies in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology under Professor R.H. Grubbs (Ph.D., 1987). His postdoctoral research with Professor Piero Pino at the Institut fur Polymere, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, focused on catalytic hydrogenation with chiral metallocene catalysts. He joined the Stanford University faculty as assistant professor in 1988, becoming full professor in 1997 and in 2000 the Robert Eckles Swain Professor of Chemistry. Today, the Waymouth Group applies mechanistic principles to develop new concepts in catalysis, with particular focus on the development of organometallic and organic catalysts for the synthesis of complex macromolecular architectures. Professor Waymouth is an instructor for CHEM 31A: Chemical Principles I, the first course in Stanford's introductory chemistry sequence.
Professor Lynette Cegelski - Faculty Lead, Co-founder
Associate Professor Lynette Cegelski's research is inspired by the challenge and importance of elucidating chemical structure and function in biological systems and the need for new and unconventional strategies to treat infectious diseases. Cegelski completed her undergraduate studies in Chemistry at SUNY-Binghamton, New York (B.S. summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa 1998), where she participated in research to determine the microtubule-bound conformation of the anti-cancer drug Taxol by REDOR solid-state NMR. This formative experience motivated her move to Washington University to conduct her PhD training in the laboratory of Professor Jacob Schaefer (Ph.D. Chemistry 2004). She investigated bacterial and plant macromolecular and whole-cell systems using solid-state NMR, including examining the mode of action of the antibiotic oritavancin and investigating photosynthesis and photorespiration in soybean leaves with 13CO2 and 15N labeling. She introduced the use of 4-frequency TEDOR-REDOR measurements in whole cells for the first time. She trained in Microbiology and Infectious Disease research as a postdoctoral fellow in Molecular Microbiology at the Washington University School of Medicine, working with Professor Scott Hultgren. There, she defined amyloid contributions to E. coli biofilms and introduced the first small-molecule inhibitors of functional amyloid assembly in bacteria. She joined the faculty of the Stanford Chemistry Department in 2008. The Cegelski Research program integrates chemistry, biology, and physics to investigate the assembly and function of macromolecular and whole-cell systems.
Cegelski's work has garnered early career awards, including the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface, the 2010 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Professor Cegelski is an instructor for CHEM 31B: Chemical Principles II, the second course in Stanford's introductory chemistry sequence.
Dory DeWeese - Graduate Student Lead, Co-founder
Dory is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry and member of the Solomon lab, where she utilizes magnetic-based spectroscopies to study the geometric and electronic structure of iron-containing metalloenzymes to lend insight into their mechanism of reaction. Before coming to Stanford, Dory received her B.S. and M.A. degrees in Chemistry from the University of Virginia. After teaching extensively at both universities, she understands the importance of education that is equitable and accessible to all students, and has become especially motivated to build programs and course content in general chemistry courses that supports both personal and chemistry content-specific growth. Dory collaborates with researchers in the Stanford Graduate School of Education to analyze student performance across the general chemistry course, identify common challenges that these students face, and work to build instructional supports to address students’ challenges and needs.
Isaac Applebaum - Lead Mentor
Isaac is a senior at Stanford University majoring in biology with a minor in public policy. One highlight of his college experience has been serving as a Lead Mentor for STEMentors, which deepened his love of teaching and commitment to educational equity. As part of Professor Shima Salehi’s research group and the IDEAL Pedagogy program, Isaac studies factors affecting student success in introductory college science courses, analyze quantitative and qualitative outcomes of the STEMentors program, develop new computational tools to help students and instructors achieve their goals, and work with instructors to implement equitable teaching strategies that empower all students, especially those with less prior preparation, to master course content. In addition to this research, he is a member of the Waymouth and Rotskoff groups in the Department of Chemistry, where he helps develop new machine learning and optimization algorithms that can design improved polymers for mRNA delivery. Outside the lab, he loves playing jazz piano, listening to music, and enjoying the outdoors, and he recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by competing in the Jeopardy! National College Championship.
Cameron Ehsan - Lead Mentor
Cameron is a third-year undergraduate student at Stanford University studying neurobiology. As a Lead Mentor for STEMentors, Cameron helps shape the program's curriculum and coordinates with the course instructors and student mentors. He is involved in a number of activities on campus, serving as managing editor of The Stanford Daily, elections commissioner for Stanford's student government, and a consultant for Stanford Health Care. Cameron is also a researcher in the Morrison Lab, studying genetic interactions between chromatin remodeling complexes and metabolic complexes. He is excited to help lead the program and provide meaningful support and mentorship for students in an effort to address educational disparities.
I am a Junior studying Materials Science & Engineering. I hope to pursue an MD-PhD so that I can leverage my knowledge of materials to advance medicine. Along with STEMentors, I am the Diversity & Inclusion Chair for the Stanford Materials Society (SUMS) and am the former Outreach Director for Stanford Society of Latinx Engineers (SOLE). I also do biomaterials research at the Heilshorn Lab. I am passionate about making STEM fields more inclusive to people of all races and genders. I participated in STEMentors as a Frosh and this is my second year serving as a mentor. During my free time I like to dance ballet and am a member of the Cardinal Ballet Company (CBC)!
My name is Christian Tocol. I use he/him/his pronouns and am a FLI student coming from sunny San Diego, California! I am part of the class of 2023 majoring in Chemical Engineering with a passion for plant chemical biology discovery and engineering. Before coming to Stanford my resource pool was extremely limited, some examples of this desert included having limited exposure to college in high school where I had no idea what the college application process was like, nor did I take super advanced classes to prepare me for the rigor. Regardless of these circumstances, I explored the many resources that Stanford has to offer, and I was able to realize my true potential, which is now why I am now on an engineering path even without a strong science background! Aside from school I have big passions for cooking (mostly plant-based), skateboarding( yes, I can do tricks), and researching and learning about plants (if it wasn't obvious already). Looking forward to spending my summer fostering connections and personally growing with you all!
Blen Kedir (‘23) is a senior at Stanford majoring in Biology on the Neurobiology track and minoring in Philosophy. She is also completing a coterminal master’s in Biology. Currently, she works in the lab of Dr. Tony Wyss-Coray at Stanford, investigating the role of aging and immune pathways in neurodegeneration with a focus on Alzheimer's Disease. In her free time, Blen enjoys grabbing coffee at Coupa with friends and curating Spotify playlists.
Jennifer Hamad is a sophomore majoring in Biology on the Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental track. She is very passionate about chemistry and is interested in cancer research that investigates novel immunosuppressive pathways in the tumor microenvironment. Outside of class, Jennifer works to advance children’s rights and welfare with UNICEF and cares deeply about humanitarianism.
Shima Salehi is a Research Assistant Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education, and the director of IDEAL research lab, the research component of Stanford IDEAL initiative to promote inclusivity, diversity, equity and access in learning communities. Her research focuses on how to use different instructional practices to teach science and engineering more effectively and inclusively. For effective science and engineering education, Dr. Salehi has studied effective scientific problem-solving and developed empirical framework for main problem-solving practices to train students in. Based on these findings, she has designed instructional activities to provide students with explicit opportunities to learn these problem-solving practices. These activities have been implemented in different science and engineering courses. For Inclusive science and engineering, she examines different barriers for equity in STEM education and through what instructional and/or institutional changes they can be addressed. Her recent works focus on what are the underlying mechanisms for demographic performance gaps in STEM college education, and what instructional practices better serve students from different demographic backgrounds. Salehi holds a PhD in Learning Sciences and a PhD minor in Psychology from Stanford University, and received a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Iran. She is the founder of KhanAcademyFarsi, a non-profit educational organization which has provided service to Farsi-speaking students, particularly in under-privileged areas.
Jocelyn (Josie) Nardo
Josie (she/her) is a postdoctoral scholar in the Graduate School of Education working with Dr. Shima Salehi (primary advisor) and Dr. Carl Wieman (secondary advisor) to understand how we can better support historically marginalized students in STEM. Her work focuses on two main projects: 1) “Understanding the Challenges of Historically Marginalized Students in STEM,” which is an interview-based project. 2) “Contextualizing Chemistry Active Learning Environments in Terms of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” which involves working with faculty on instructional and institutional practices that promote student belonging, accessibility, and opportunities. Before joining the Wieman group, Josie received her PhD and MS in Chemistry at Purdue University within the division of chemical education, as well as received her BS in chemistry at Florida International University (FIU).
Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)
Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) supports evidence-based and inclusive learning and teaching practices, educational programs and training, community building, and strong collaborations and partnerships with schools, departments, and other offices. Learn more at ctl.stanford.edu.
Leland Scholars Program (LSP)
Leland Scholars Program (LSP) facilitates the transition to college for incoming Stanford frosh who may be the first in their families to attend college, attended under-resourced high schools, or are from low-income backgrounds. The program starts with a summer bridge experience in August, and continues with a first-year seminar, advising, and ongoing events throughout students' time at Stanford. Learn more at lelandscholars.stanford.edu.
Sameer Sundrani (Lead Mentor)