Dr. Villalta-Cerdas

Dr. Adrian Villalta-Cerdas

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Villalta photo
Contact Details

Office: CFS108
Phone: 9362942556
Email: axv067@shsu.edu

My primary teaching responsibilities include instructing students in General Chemistry courses. I engage in academic research that emphasizes the development of learning strategies that promote skill acquisition and the impact of novel learning experiences on students’ conceptual understanding. I possess a strong dedication to enhancing learning strategies, aiming to improve classroom and laboratory experiences for students at SHSU. My passion for education drives me to contribute to improving the learning environment at SHSU. As an educator, I believe my primary goal is to help students learn and succeed academically. To achieve this, I strive to create a challenging yet supportive learning environment that encourages students to engage with the course material actively. My research group designs chemistry experiences at the intersection of sciences and humanities, emphasizing cultural heritage preservation methodologies, and synthesizing carbon-based nanomaterials for environmental remediation applications.

  • Ph. D. in Chemistry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
  • Master of Arts in Chemistry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, University of Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica.
Research Interests
  • Chemistry Education Research
  • Art Conservation Science
  • Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, SHSU
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, SHSU
  • Lecturer in Chemistry, CSU Bakersfield
Reseach Work Exhibit
  • Research Work Exhibition Spring 2022
Awards and Recognitions
  • Keys of Excellence Award, 2022-2023, Orange Keys – Student Organization – Sam Houston State University, 2022.
  • Younger Chemist Award, The American Chemical Society - Greater Houston Section, 2020.
  • 2018 Chemistry in Pictures photo contest - Grand-prize winner, Chemistry & Engineering News magazine, February 2019.

Research and Funded Grants

Charting the Course of Innovation: Transforming STEM Education at Sam Houston State University 

My journey at Sam Houston State University has been a testament to my deep commitment to advancing STEM education, especially within chemistry, through innovative teaching methodologies and research. It all started in 2017 when I spearheaded a project funded by a Teaching Innovation Grant (TIG) that focused on redesigning course instruction and assessment in chemical kinetics for General Chemistry II. This project, endowed with $6,000, was just the beginning of my foray into educational innovation and research, setting a precedent for the myriad of grants I would secure in the years to follow.
  In the ensuing years, I was fortunate enough to receive additional TIGs for my work on implementing self-explaining-based learning in Chemical Quantitative Analysis and enhancing General Chemistry Performance Expectations, with grants amounting to $5,400 and $8,940, respectively. These initiatives aimed to bolster conceptual understanding and scientific skills through active learning. Concurrently, I led pivotal research initiatives, including the synthesis and surface modification of carbon nano-onions for environmental remediation, supported by the College of Science and Engineering Technology with a $2,500 Summer Research Award.
  My dedication to enhancing undergraduate chemistry education continued with many projects, such as integrating virtual chemical experiences into General Chemistry II and reforming chemistry laboratories to prioritize cooperative and project-based experimentation. These efforts were supported by funding ranging from $1,802 to $5,000. A particularly significant endeavor in 2021-2022, backed by the STEM Center at Sam Houston with a $2,000 grant, focused on graphical analysis and interpretation in General Chemistry II through virtual chemistry experiences.
  I also sought to broaden the scope of academic engagement through piloting reformed Organic Chemistry Laboratories, which underscored the importance of cooperative learning and project-based experimentation, thanks to a generous $14,700 funding. Additionally, a grant of $250 from The Center for Community Engagement for academic community engagement in General Chemistry II highlighted my commitment to fostering a more interactive and engaging learning environment.
  My research into environmentally friendly solutions persisted with studying slow-release phosphate hydrogel polymers as fertilizers and the synthesis of magnetite carbon nano-onion composites for environmental remediation, each project receiving FAST Awards of $6,000. These projects indicate my ongoing dedication to addressing environmental challenges through cutting-edge research.
  The culmination of my efforts is represented by the comprehensive model for improving the success of STEM majors through the STEM Center (Award #1725674). This project spanned from 2017 to 2023 and was supported by a substantial grant of $2,028,798. This initiative underscored my significant role in creating an environment that nurtures educational innovation and scientific research, aiming to enhance the STEM fields at Sam Houston State University and beyond.


Books and Book Chapters

4. Pazicni, S.; Morgan Theall, R. A.; Richter-Egger, D.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Walker, D. R. (2022). General Chemistry Learning Outcomes. The Center for Curriculum Redesign. Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Weblink.

3. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Sandi-Urena, S.; Gatlin, T. A.; Lykourinou, V. (2013). Authentic Chemistry Experiment Labs (ACE-Labs) For General Chemistry I & II: Cooperative Project-based Laboratory Experiences. Department of Chemistry, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

2. Li, F., Villalta-Cerdas, A., Echegoyen, L.E., and Echegoyen, L. (2013). An Update on Electrochemical Characterization and Potential Applications of Carbon Materials. In Torres, T. & Bottari, G. (Eds.), Organic Nanomaterials: Synthesis, Characterization, and Device Applications. (pp. 259-310). New York: Wiley-VCH. Weblink.

1. Pinzón, J.R., Villalta-Cerdas, A., and Echegoyen, L. (2012). Fullerenes, Carbon Nanotubes, and Graphene for Molecular Electronics. In Metzger, R. M. (Ed.), Unimolecular and Supramolecular Electronics I, Topics in Current Chemistry, Volume 312 (pp. 127-174). Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer. Weblink.


28. Villarreal, W.; Hicks, M.; De La Cerda, J.; Smith, G. D.; Villalta-Cerdas, A. (2024). Mixing Chemistry and Art: Exploring Azeotrope Mixtures Used to Clean Paintings in Art Conservation. The Chemical Educator. Accepted Feb 2024.

27. Villalta-Cerdas, A. (2024). Bridging the Worlds of Art and Science: How General Chemistry Empowers Cultural Heritage Preservation. Prompt: A Journal of Academic Writing Assignments. 8(1), 9-18. Weblink.

26. Van-Sertima, A.; Simmons, S.; Zablah-Vasquez, R.; Villalta-Cerdas, A. (2024). Determination of Chemical Composition in Tri-Metal Alloys: A Three Variable Linear Equation System Approach. Educación Química, 35(1), 111-126. Weblink

25. Jang, B., Villalta-Cerdas, A., Shelton, G.R., Dubrovskiy, A., Powell, C.B., Mamiya, B., Broadway, S., Weber, R., Williamson. V. & Mason, D. (2023). Effects of Texas' Isomorphic Curriculum on Readiness for Post-secondary Gateway Courses in Chemistry. American Journal of Science Education Research, 2(12), 142. Weblink.

24. Villalta-Cerdas, A. Smith, G. D., Carrison DeSmit, M., Goodpaster, J. V. (2023). Room temperature evaporation behavior of homogeneous azeotropes used in art conservation cleaning treatments. Applied Sciences, 13, 11962. Weblink.

23. Shelton, G. R., Villalta-Cerdas, A., Jang, B., Dubrovskiy, A., Mamiya, B., Weber, R., Broadway, S., Williamson, V., Powell, C. B., & Mason, D. (2023). Importance of academic legacy on student success in first- and second-semester general chemistry. Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 6(3), 121-148. Weblink.

22. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Yildiz, F. (2022). Creating Significant Learning Experiences in an Engineering Technology Bridge Course: a backward design approach. Paper presented at 2022 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference. Weblink.

21. Yildiz, F.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Thompson, D. E.; Martin, T. E.; Swarthout, M. B. (2022). The STEM Center to Promote Undergraduate Education and Research at Sam Houston State University. Paper presented at 2022 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference. Weblink.

20. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Dubrovskiy, A.; Mamiya, B.; Walker, D. R.; Powell, C. B.; Broadway, S.; Weber, R.; Shelton, G. R.; Mason, D. (2022). Personal characteristics influencing college readiness of Hispanic students in a STEM gateway course: first-semester general chemistry. Journal of College Science Teaching. 51(5), 31-41. Weblink.

19. Dubrovskiy, A.; Broadway, S.; Jang, B.; Mamiya, B.; Powell, C. B.; Shelton, G. R.; Walker, D. R.; Weber, R.; Williamson, V.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Mason, D. (2022). Is the gender gap closing? Journal of Research in Science Mathematics and Technology Education, 5(1), 47-68. Weblink.

18. Mamiya, B.; Powell, C. B.; Shelton, G. R.; Dubrovskiy, A.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Broadway, S.; Weber, R.; Mason, D. (2022). Influence of Environmental Factors on Success of At-Risk Hispanic Students in First-Semester General Chemistry. Journal of College Science Teaching. 51(4), 46-57. Weblink.

17. Shelton, R. G.; Mamiya, B.; Weber, R.; Walker, D. R.; Powell, C. B.; Jang, B.; Dubrovskiy, A. V.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Mason, D. (2021). Early Warning Signals from Automaticity Diagnostic Instruments for First- and Second-Semester General Chemistry. Journal of Chemistry Education. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00714. Weblink.

16. Kelly, R. M.; Akaygun, S.; Hansen, S. J. R.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Adam, J. (2021). Examining Learning of Atomic Level Ideas About Precipitation Reactions with a Resources Framework. Chemistry Education Research and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1039/D0RP00071J. Weblink.

15. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Thompson, D. E.; Hegwood, S. L. (2021). Integration of Research-based Strategies and Instructional Design: Creating Significant Learning Experiences in a Chemistry Bridge Course. Paper presented at 2021 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. Weblink.

14. Pazicni, S.; Wink, D. J.; Donovan, A.; Conrad, J. A.; Darr, J.; Richter-Egger, D. L.; Morgan Theall, R. A.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Walker, D. R. (2021). The ACS General Chemistry Performance Expectations Project: From Task Force to Three-Dimensional Learning Community. Journal of Chemistry Education, 98, 4, 1112–1123. Weblink.

13. Weber, R.; Powell, C. B.; Williamson, V.; Mamiya, B.; Walker, D. R.; Dubrovskiy, A.; Shelton, G. R.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Jang, B.; Broadway, S.; Mason, D. (2020). Relationship between academic preparation in general chemistry and potential careers. Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research, 32 (5), 25311-25323. Weblink.

12. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; McCleary, C. (2019). Analysis of copper alloys as an introduction to data analysis and interpretation for General Chemistry courses. Educación Química, 30(2), 41-53. Weblink.

11. Hansen, S. J. R.; Hu, B.; Reidlova, D.; Kelly, R. M.; Akaygun, S.; Villalta-Cerdas, A. (2019). Critical consumption of chemistry visuals: eye tracking structured variation and visual feedback of redox and precipitation reactions. Chemical Education Research and Practice, 20, 837-850. Weblink.

10. Kelly, R. M.; Akaygun, S.; Hansen, S. J. R.; Villalta-Cerdas, A. (2017). The effect that comparing molecular animations of varying accuracy has on students’ submicroscopic explanations. Chemical Education Research and Practice, 18, 582-600. Weblink.

9. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Sandi-Urena, S. (2016). Assessment of self-explaining effect in a large enrollment general chemistry course. Educación Química, 27(2), 115-125. Weblink.

8. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Sandi-Urena, S. (2014). Self-explaining effect in general chemistry instruction: Eliciting overt categorical behaviours by design. Chemical Education Research and Practice. DOI: 10.1039/C3RP00172E. Weblink.

7. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; McKeny, P.; Gatlin, T. A.; Sandi-Urena, S. (2014). Evaluation of Instruction: General Chemistry Students’ Patterns of Use and Contribution to RateMyProfessors.com. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. (ahead-of-print), 1-18. Weblink.

6. Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Sandi-Urena, S. (2013). Self-explaining and its Use in College Chemistry Instruction. Educación Química. 24(4), 431-438. Weblink.

5. Bergin, A., Sharp, K., Gatlin, T., Villalta-Cerdas, A., Gower, A., Sandi-Urena, S. (2013). Use of RateMyProfessors.com as a supplemental tool for the assessment of General Chemistry Instruction. Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 289-295. Weblink.

4. Yang, M.; Flavin, K.; Kopf, I.; Radics, G.; Hearnden, C. H. A.; McManus, G. J.; Moran, B.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Echegoyen, L. A.; Giordani, S.; Lavelle, E. C. (2013). Functionalization of Carbon Nanoparticles Modulates Inflammatory Cell Recruitment and NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation. Small, 9(24), 4194-4206. Weblink.

3. Plonska-Brzezinska, M.; Dubis, A.; Lapinski, A.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Echegoyen, L. (2011). Electrochemical Properties of Oxidized Carbon Nano-Onions: DRIFTS-FTIR and Raman Spectroscopic Analyses. A European Journal of Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry, 12, 2659-2668. Weblink.

2. Plonska-Brzezinska, M.; Lapinski, A.; Wilczewska, A. Z.; Dubis, A.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Winkler, K.; Echegoyen, L. (2011). The synthesis and characterization of carbon nano-onions produced by solution ozonolysis. Carbon, 49, 5079-5089. Weblink.

1. Breczko, J.; Winkler, K.; Plonska-Brzezinska, M.; Villalta-Cerdas, A.; Echegoyen, L. (2010). Electrochemical properties of composites containing small carbon nano-onions and solid polyelectrolytes. Journal of Materials Chemistry, 20, 7761-7768. Weblink.