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 2021 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.

Submit your interest

 Submit a brief interest form to receive updates about the 2022 application cycle.

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

Breanna Magpantay

2020 Community-Academic Scholar
Social Work, Class of 2021

“I learned a lot about myself, more about the research process and types of research from the keynote speakers we had, and how valuable the information I have collected can be towards helping underserved populations and those in need.”

Meet Breanna

Roxanne Patino

2020 Community-Academic Scholar
Community Health and Human Development & Family Studies, Class of 2022

“Working on this project has allowed me to be more connected to the Champaign-Urbana community as it has allowed me to interact with the people, and more importantly, the kids that will make up this community in the future.”

Meet Roxanne

Prim Poshyanonda

2020 Community-Academic Scholar
Psychology, Class of 2022

“This program taught me the importance of community-based research and how it is important to understand the needs of the community."

Meet Prim

Maddie Welsh

2020 Community-Academic Scholar
Social Work, Class of 2022

“This opportunity really helped me to reach outside of my comfort zone and made me realize that I can become an important part of my community and make an impact in the lives of those around me.”

Meet Maddie