Stories about...Undergraduate Research

DaRin Butz Scholar Andrea Perry, a senior with a dual major in Engineering Physics and Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE). (Image courtesy of Andrea Perry.) DaRin Butz Scholars Program Uses Research to Direct Engineering Undergraduate Women onto a STEM Career Trajectory

September 22, 2020

The goal of the Grainger College of Engineering’s DaRin Butz Foundation Research Scholars program is to encourage Illinois undergraduate women in engineering to pursue careers in science and engineering by immersing them in authentic research opportunities under some of Illinois’ premier researchers. The program, funded by the DaRin Butz Foundation since 2018, is under the umbrella of Grainger’s Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Program. The seven summer 2020 DaRin Butz scholars not only conducted research this past summer or during the 2020–21 academic year, but received professional development on how to present their research, then had opportunities to do so, such as in ISUR’s Fall 2020 Engineering Research Fair. Plus, the women had/are having a chance to network and through mentoring, discover what graduate school and/or careers in research might be like.


Undergraduate Women Conduct STEM Research Courtesy of Engineering’s Clare Boothe Luce Program

September 10, 2020

Eight undergraduate women who are committed to research and who dream of attending graduate school and possibly even pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) research are discovering what it might be like courtesy of the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Research Scholars Program. Housed in Grainger Engineering’s Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Program, CBL provides scholarships that allow these women to experience cutting-edge research in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or engineering while being mentored by some of Illinois’ premier researchers.


Laura Schissler Via ISUR, Engineering Undergrads Conduct Research, Present at Virtual Expo

May 8, 2020

As in years past, Grainger College of Engineering’s Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Program provided support for students conducting research alongside Illinois researchers during summer 2019 and the 2019–2020 school year. However, unlike its predecessors, the virtual edition of ISUR’s Research Expo 2020, held from April 24th­–May 1st lacked a crowded room full of brightly colored posters. Also missing weas the cacophony of voices simultaneously discussing research as students presented to visitors face to face. Due to COVID-19, this sort of venue was prohibited. However, just like its predecessors, the spring 2020 Expo gave undergraduate researchers a chance to share their research with interested peers, colleagues, and visitors. Each of this year’s crop of students created a poster or PowerPoint, presented their research orally, and even “stood” ready to field visitors’questions…all facilitated virtually.


OUR Seeks to Change the Perception of What Undergraduate Research at Illinois Looks Like

June 4, 2018

Exactly what is undergraduate research at Illinois? Is it one undergrad working in a lab? Is it a research-focused course with a capstone project? Is it not just a project, but a process? To all of the above, Karen Rodriguez’G, both the Interim and the Associate Director of the university’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) says, “Yes!”

Rodriguez’G wears a couple of different hats at OUR. As Associate Director, she oversees the day-to-day function of the office. But as Interim Director, she describes her role as “forward facing for the campus—I am essentially the person in the office that faces everyone on campus.” For example, she works with higher ups, such as the heads of the university’s eleven research institutes, to discover what undergrad research looks like for them, what sort of partnerships can be put in place, and how her office can help to provide opportunities for students. Plus, she serves on several committees that address these issues as well.


Undergrad presents his research during the undergraduate research week symposiumUndergraduate Research Week Showcases Illinois Undergraduate Students' Research

May 1, 2018

“The research process includes presentation; that’s something you need to learn how to do!” – Karen Rodriguez'G

As part of their research experience, around 1000 undergraduate students from across campus got a chance to hone their presentation skills during Illinois’ fourth annual Undergraduate Research Week on April 15th–21st. Students from a variety of disciplines across campus presented the research they’ve been conducting over this past semester or academic year. While the week featured a variety of events showcasing research or capstone projects in a number of units, its signature event was the Undergraduate Research Symposium, where the students who presented shared that along with learning a great deal about their topic and specific research methodology, their research experience also gave them insight into what they might want to do careerwise.


ISUR Poster Expo Showcases Engineering Scholars' Research

April 25, 2018

On Wednesday, April 18th, 26 engineering students who have been participating in the Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) program had a chance to present about the research they’ve been conducting during the 2017–2018 academic year. For the scholars, the opportunity to do research in the lab of one of Illinois' world-class researchers not only exposed them to what research is like, but gave them a window into whether research itself, or the topic they'd been studying over the last year, might be a part of their career plans down the road.


Engineering’s Undergraduate Research Office Encourages Undergrads to Experience Research

April 25, 2018

Tasha Mamaril has her finger on the pulse of research for Engineering undergrads. As the Coordinator of Engineering’s Undergraduate Research Office, she provides information to engineering students about what kinds of opportunities are available. Plus, she oversees two of Engineering’s specific research programs for undergrads: MUSE (Mentoring Undergraduates in Science and Engineering) and the Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) program, which provides scholarships for students addressing research related to the interests of the corporations which fund the program.


Lauren Amendola and Megan DevineSTRONG Kids Project Gives Undergrads a Research Opportunity in Children's Health

May 28, 2015

We constantly hear about the results of some well-known researcher's important study, and their findings often impact our lives and our choices. But over the last year, undergraduate students across a number of Illinois colleges and disciplines collaborated to perform important research themselves. As part of the Family Resiliency Center’s STRONG Kids program, students enrolled in an undergraduate research course, HDFS 494, conducted interdisciplinary research related to children’s health and obesity. Then, during the Undergraduate Research Symposium at the end of the Spring 2015 semester, they actually presented their research to the public