Science and scientific research plays an important role in the academic landscape at Chicago State University (CSU), where some of the region’s most accomplished scientists teach and conduct research.

Recognizing the lack of diversity in quantum information science and technology, this area of scientific study and technology is predicted to change the world.

CSU is joining forces with four other regional universities and industry leaders to develop a national model for undergraduate curriculum that creates multiple pathways into quantum science careers. The curriculum will also create a national education model for the emerging field of quantum information science and technology.

The initiative, Quantum Information Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (QuSTEAM) was recently awarded $700,000 by the National Science Foundation.

The QuSTEAM team consists of 19 faculty members across five universities including CSU, University of Chicago, Ohio State University, Michigan State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

QuSTEAM has also partnered with industry and national laboratory collaborators including Argonne National Laboratory, IBM, Applied Materials and HRL Laboratories, to develop a diverse, capable and effective quantum workforce.

“Just like how computing and the internet define our lives today, quantum technology may soon revolutionize our lives. However, we will only reach this leap if we integrate quantum education into workforce training programs,’’ said Russell Ceballos, Ph.D., QuSTEAM co-principal investigator, CSU professor, research scientist at Pittsburgh Quantum Institute and visiting faculty fellow at Fermi National Laboratory.

The QuSTEAM curriculum will both address the need for a nation-wide approach to quantum education and a shortage of diversity in STEAM education and the STEAM workforce. Through engagement with industry, academic, and research leaders, the researchers will determine the scientific and engineering practices required of the quantum workforce.

QuSTEAM will set national standards for educating the 71 percent of the STEM workforce that does not require a postgraduate degree and instituting engaging courses and educational tracks that allow for students to choose multiple paths of scholarship.

Ceballos brings a unique view to the QuSTEAM team of researchers, providing expertise as a researcher in the field of quantum science and in successfully preparing Black and Latinx students in the STEAM fields.

As a Mexican-American with 20 years of experience teaching students from various socio-economic backgrounds, Ceballos combines his professional expertise in science with a commitment to opening doors in science Black and Latinx student scholars.

Chicago State University has a rich history of educating African Americans in the STEAM field. In 2019, the university ranked second in the nation for graduating the most African-Americans in physics, according to the American Physical Society.

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