Dr. Doris Espiritu has been teaching and leading programs at CCC – chemistry, biophysics, engineering – for 11 years, and is continually striving to provide research experiences and other exceptional opportunities for her students.

She has partnered with universities like Princeton, which recruits students from all seven City Colleges for paid internships for those selected for their Biophysics Research Experience for Undergraduates program. These students then work with top scientists in the country and abroad, and present their research nationally. Truman College student Edgar Brian Mejia was accepted to the program, allowing him to research molecular biophysics – an opportunity he would not have had otherwise. Edgar began his studies at City Colleges by taking English as a Second Language and science classes in order to eventually pursue a degree in engineering.

Dr. Espiritu trained in Computational Chemistry at the Academies of Sciences in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2017, which will help her to provide additional research opportunities to students who are not chosen for the Princeton program. She has had students work on a data mining project to study the health of the Chicago River, as well as secured space to work on the experimental aspect of her research in computational chemistry at the UIC College of Medicine, again, enabling her to extend more hands-on opportunities to CCC students.

Dr. Espiritu has been instrumental in creating the Engineering Cohort program at Wright College, which provides guaranteed admissions to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) engineering program. This is the only CCC program that has guaranteed admission to the UIUC engineering program and has a selective admissions process, especially encouraging minorities and women to apply. She says that this is just the beginning, as she is working on growing the Engineering Pathway by developing partnerships with other four-year universities. William Ma was Wright’s very first Engineering Pathway student, having attended the first information session and submitted his application for early decision acceptance. A graduate of Lane Tech High School, William was able to land an internship with Underwriters Laboratories thanks to Wright’s partnership with the lab and a reference from Dr. Espiritu. He is now studying mechanical engineering at U of I.

Most recently, Dr. Espiritu has been instrumental in securing a $1.43M National Science Foundation for “Building Bridges into Engineering and Computer Science.”

If you are interested in learning more about the work Dr. Espiritu and her students are doing, or want to learn more about the Wright College Engineering Pathway, you can contact her at despiritu@ccc.edu.

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