Community-Academic Scholars

Empowering students through community-based research

Community-Academic Scholars 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 2023 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 inequity. 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 Celina Trujillo

Scholar Impact Stories

Maria Becerra

2022 Community-Academic Scholar
Psychology, Class of 2023

"Participating in this program has changed my views on research. With other research projects I wasn't as passionate or driven because at the end of the journey was just a presentation or publication, but for community-engaged research there is actual action driven by our research, so we can see the effects of our hard work and make a positive impact that is noticeable and tangible, not just a piece of paper."

Meet Maria

Kaiya Bernard

2022 Community-Academic Scholar
Kinesiology, Class of 2023

"I have been wanting to get a Master's in Public Health to become a more well-rounded doctor in the future. I think that this project has brought me a lot of clarity and knowledge before I indulge into the Master's in Public Health and I am so excited about how I can relate this project to my future studies."

Meet Kaiya

Alison (Ali) Brandvold

2022 Community-Academic Scholar
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Class of 2024

"I started this summer with interest in studying clinical nutrition as a healthcare provider. The Community-Academic Scholars Program has helped me become even more passionate about nutrition and how it can be used as a powerful tool to improve people's health regardless of their socioeconomic background."

Meet Alison

Gabrielle (Gabby) Calderon

2022 Community-Academic Scholar
Clinical Community Psychology, Class of 2024

"Participating in this program allowed me to learn more about organizing community research, gain more research skills, and create lasting connections with other students, community members, and faculty. I also gained a lot of personal and academic growth this summer."

Meet Gabrielle