Alice Cherestes

Senior Faculty Lecturer; Interim Director, Freshman Program; Freshman Advisor

T: 514-398-7980  |  alice [dot] cherestes [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) |  Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS1-023

Degrees

PhD Chemistry (City University of New York, New York)
MA Chemistry (Queens College, City University of New York, New York)
BA Chemistry (Queens College, City University of New York, New York)

Short Bio

Dr Cherestes' doctoral and post-doctoral research was focused on Taxol chemistry and on ionic dendrimers. The chemical reactivity of several positions on taxane skeletons was studied in order to provide more desirable derivatives that could possibly be used for the development of new breast cancer drugs and for increasing the efficacy of existing drugs such as selective estrogen receptor modulators. Also, the conformational and structural activity relationship of taxol and other related taxanes was analyzed, in order to better understand their microtubule binding ability and their solubility. Her work with ionic dendrimers consisted of dendrimer synthesis and analysis. Ultimately, several marketable uses were found for the various dendrimers produced: the ionic, neutral, soluble, insoluble and chiral molecules obtained were promising ion exchange materials and antibacterial agents.

Awards and Recognitions

2009 - Award for Teaching Excellence, Macdonald Campus, McGill University

Active Affiliations

Member, SALTISE (Supporting Active Learning & Technological Innovation in Studies of Education)

Freshman Program - the First Year Experience

Dr. Cherestes’ main endeavors in the past few years have been the development and implementation of the Freshman Program at the Macdonald campus.  The program provides U0 students an academically structured and supportive environment which leads to a smooth transition from high school to university expectations. The program aims to foster a sense of belonging, promote engagement in the curricular and co-curricular life of the university, encourage self-responsibility, and articulate to students the benefits of a higher education and the expectations and values of the University.   The program also helps students develop and apply essential study skills, enhance critical thinking and communication skills, and explore interests, abilities, values, and options regarding the choice of a major and career. Every experience is intended to give the student both challenge, and support to meet those challenges.

Teaching and Advising

In her teaching and advising, Dr. Cherestes uses a fully student centered approach in which the interaction of the individual student and their learning environment is critical to the success of the student growing and progressing through their development. In her holistic approach to her students’ overall wellbeing, Dr. Cherestes recognizes that teaching and learning does not stop the instant the professor leaves the classroom.

In advising, Dr. Cherestes takes full advantage of her dual role of adviser and instructor; having advisees as students in her courses helps frame specific questions for each advisee.  This personalized approach gives students the tools and confidence needed to navigate through their first university year.

In her teaching, Dr. Cherestes uses active learning, placing less emphasis on information transmission and greater emphasis on developing student skills. She believes that her students should be involved in more than passive listening, be engaged in class activities. This approach increases student motivation and ensures that students are involved in higher order thinking.  With the development of the state of the art Macdonald Active Learning Laboratory (MALL), Dr. Cherestes started implementing the use of Peer Instruction in some of her classes.  Evidence indicates that having students explain their own personal understanding of the material to another student and hearing the other explain, from their understanding or viewpoint, the same material, has a positive impact on conceptual understanding.

Current Projects

Educational Outreach

  • AgriSTEM - Workshops are offered in partnership between our faculty, CREO—Game for Science and the Macdonald campus farm. Through this initiative, Quebec school educators can learn more about the importance of food production and how to incorporate such essential concepts in the elementary and high school science curriculums.

Teaching Innovation and Mentorship

  • Pilot project in conjunction with the Canadian Light Source, University of Saskatchewan. Interested undergraduate students from our faculty have the opportunity to develop a project proposal for which they would be allotted research time at the synchrotron facility.

First Year Student Success and Student Programming

  • Different high impact educational practices are implemented and studied as critical factors in student success.

Courses

AECH 110 General Chemistry 1 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


AECH 111 General Chemistry 2 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


AGRI 195 Freshman Seminar 1 0.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


AGRI 196 Freshman Seminar 2 0.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


AEMA 105 Precalculus Lab 1 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


BREE 187 Freshman Seminar 1 0.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


BREE 188 Freshman Seminar 2 0.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


AEBI 122 Cell Biology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 213 Analytical Chemistry 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


FDSC 230 Organic Chemistry 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Publications

An Efficient Strategy for the Synthesis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural Derivative Based Poly (ß-thioether ester) via Thiol-Michael Addition Polymerization , RSC Advances, 2016, DOI: 10.1039/C6RA17532E

Alice Cherestes, FRACTAL: Freshman Advising Connection for Teaching and Learning, Journal of College Orientation and Transition, Vol 19, No1, 2011, pp 119-123