Director Office of Rush Mentoring Programs
Faculty Affairs & Associate Professor of MIcrobial Pathogens & Immunity
Rush University Medical Center
Postdoctoral fellow, Argonne National Laboratory
Ph.D., Chemistry, Northern Illinois University
M.S., Chemistry, University of Costa Rica
B.S., Chemistry, University of Costa Rica
As both an experienced scientific researcher and educator, Dr. Giselle A. Sandi has been straddling her two primary passions for most of her career.
Born in Costa Rica, she used to work during the summer at her grandfather’s coffee farms and tutored high school classmates and neighbors in Math, Chemistry, English, and French during the school year. Dr. Sandi graduated with high honors and was granted a full tuition scholarship to attend the University of Costa Rica where she convinced the college to lend her equipment and chemicals to start a laboratory course in her high school. It was an early sign of how important mentoring others would be over the course of her life.
After completing her B.S., Dr. Sandi was offered an instructor position teaching Analytical Chemistry at UCR and began working on her M.S. degree. After encouragement from a professor, she applied to and was accepted to the Ph.D. program at Northern Illinois University. Upon successfully earning her doctorate in Chemistry, she joined Argonne National Laboratory as a postdoctoral scholar and was quickly promoted to assistant scientist, something only 5% of postdoctoral scholars achieve at Argonne.
While at Argonne, Dr. Sandi‘s research was focused on energy storage, nuclear forensics, sensor development, and nanoscale engineering and secured highly competitive federal grants from the Department of Energy, Environment Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, and from the private sector. She published over 80 peer- reviewed papers, administered over a 100 podium talks, and holds three US patents.
In addition to her prolific research achievements, Dr. Sandi established Argonne’s Hispanic/Latino club — remaining a founding member, president, and advisor for 19 years — and served as adjunct faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology where she mentored 12 graduate students. Her joint commitment to education and scientific research led to her being asked to create the Argonne Postdoctoral Program, consisting of 350 post-docs from 15 different areas of research. The success of this program earned her the highly prestigious Pinnacle of Education Award by the University Of Chicago Argonne LLC Board Of Governors.
Dr. Sandi joined Rush in 2013 and continued her outstanding work with graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty. She is the Director of Rush Mentoring Programs where the research mentoring program alone serves up 60-70 junior faculty and has attracted active mentorship from 80 senior faculties. Under her tutelage, this program receives approximately $7 million annually in new grants and inspired the expansion of her mission at Rush to include not only research but mentoring of education, postdoctoral, and female mentees.
Including mentors and mentees, Dr. Sandi’s programs support more than 350 people at Rush. Her impact has been evident based on the funding received by mentees every year from the National Institute of Health and other agencies. Her superb capacity as a researcher, teacher/mentor, and science ambassador have impressed everyone she has come into contact with throughout her career.