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Elise picture
Elise McCarren
Chemistry Merit Director
2026 Chemistry Annex
  217-300-5899 emccarr2@illinois.edu
Elise McCarren is the Director of the Chemistry Merit Workshop Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned both her B.S. and M.S. in the Teaching of Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011 and 2013, respectively. She is also an instructor for Chemistry 101, Introductory Chemistry. Prior to joining the chemistry faculty, Elise taught high school chemistry and physics for five years in southern Illinois and at University High School in Normal, Illinois. Elise is a National Board Certified Teacher for Early Adolescent and Young Adult Science (chemistry).
Lily Arias instructor of biology
Lily Arias
Integrative Biology Merit Director
3010 Natural History Building
217-300-7128
larias@illinois.edu
Lily Arias is the Director of the Integrative Biology Merit Workshop Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her B.S. in Lima, Peru and her master’s and doctoral degrees in Biology from Texas Tech University and Indiana State University respectively. At the U of I, Lily also coordinates IB 302 Evolution and the lab component of IB 104 Animal Biology, and will teach IB 150 AL3 Organismal and Evolutionary Biology for the first time in the fall of 2018. Prior joining the IB faculty, Lily held faculty positions at Temple University, SUNY College at Old Westbury, and Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
Jennifer McNeilly instructor of math
Jennifer McNeilly
Mathematics Merit Director
326 Altgeld Hall
217-244-1659
jrmcneil@illinois.edu
Jennifer McNeilly is the Director of the Mathematics Merit Workshop Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned both her B.S. and M.S. in the Teaching of Mathematics from the U of I, and serves as an academic advisor to students currently in that major. She is also an instructor in the Math Department and has been named on the “List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students” multiple times. She has taught a variety of courses including Elementary Linear Algebra, Trigonometry, College Algebra, Pre-calculus, and Calculus.
Alejandra Stenger
Molecular & Cellular Biology Director
217-244-7241
astenger@illinois.edu
Alejandra Stenger is the Director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Merit Workshop Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her B.S. in Biology and Spanish from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, and her M.S. in Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After being a teaching assistant for MCB 150 while in graduate school, Alejandra joined the MCB Instructional Program staff as a Life Sciences Teaching Specialist where she has served primarily as course coordinator of MCB 354, the majors biochemistry lecture, for many years. She also serves as a prospective student advisor in MCB.
David Varodayan
David Varodayan
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Merit Director
dpv@illinois.edu
David Varodayan is the Director of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Merit Workshop Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned a B.A.Sc. from the University of Toronto and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. David has taught ECE 110 Introduction to Electronics, ECE 120 Introduction to Computing and ECE 210 Analog Signal Processing. He has appeared on the “List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students” multiple times and also has served as an academic advisor in the ECE department.