Community-Academic Scholars

Empowering students through community-based research

IHSI’s Community-Academic Scholars Initiative offers University of Illinois undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue community-based research projects in Urbana-Champaign over the summer. 

We seek dedicated and passionate undergrads eager to make a difference in the local community.

Meet the 2022 Community-Academic Scholars

Program Overview

Diagram depicting how Community-Engaged Research Projects are connected to the student scholar, faculty member, and community organization.Scholars from disciplines across campus work with an academic mentor and a mentor from a community organization to address critical issues related to health, poverty, and/or social inequality. Each scholar will contribute to a research project designed to directly benefit community members served by the partner organization. This includes research projects, surveys, program evaluations, needs assessments, or similar projects.

During the 10-week program, students develop applied research skills for measuring and maximizing impact in their work. Scholars come together each week for a coffee hour and facilitated discussion. Invited speakers provide practical guidance to the group, covering topics such as:

  • Careers in research
  • Conducting research in community settings
  • The value of team-based science
  • Presenting research to different audiences

The program concludes with students showcasing their work at a final awards ceremony.

2019 Health Equity Scholars

Student Scholars

Get eligibility, application, and program details to make an impact this summer.

Start here

Faculty Mentors

Academic Mentors

Invite a scholar to join your community-based research project.

Start here

Program Collaborator and Community-Academic Scholar

Program Collaborators

Get involved with the Community-Academic Scholars Initiative and collaborate on future programs.
Contact Emily Stone

Scholar Impact Stories

Paola A. Ahumada

2021 Community-Academic Scholar
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Class of 2022

"As someone who hopes to go into the field of medicine, I want to have a better understanding not only to how to help people physically but mentally as well. This project shed light on the huge burden caregivers have and finding ways to ease that burden has been an amazing experience."

Meet Paola

Emily Albert-Stauning

2021 Community-Academic Scholar
Neuroscience, Class of 2022

"My participation in the Community-Academic Scholars program deepened my passion and respect for community-based academic research."

Meet Emily

Hannah Caraway

2021 Community-Academic Scholar
Integrative Biology, Class of 2023

"This project allowed me to connect with the Urbana-Champaign area in many meaningful ways. I have gotten to meet with many diverse community organizations and understand their passions, goals, and motivations. I now have a better understanding of how I can help to make the Urbana-Champaign community a more welcome and accessible place for everyone."

Meet Hannah

Michelle Lee Garcia

2021 Community-Academic Scholar
Human Development & Family Studies, Class of 2023

"My participation in this program helped solidify my career goals. Being able to call families and ask them if they need help troubleshooting or need resources sent to them, such as places to call for help, books for their children to continue growing their cognitive skills, and more, was really fulfilling and I intend to continue similar work in the future."

Meet Michelle