How to Get Involved in Undergraduate Research

By Sarah Bransley


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is well-known for being a world leader in research. Many students attend UIUC just for the chance to become a part of a research team both as grad students and undergrads. For undergrads, the Office of Undergraduate Research was created to help facilitate such research opportunities.

If you are interested in participating in research as an undergrad, you should first investigate the current research occurring on campus in your field. This is as simple as doing an internet search on the UIUC website focusing on your field of interest. For the School of Integrative Biology, their website categorizes those in the process of research and their different interests. Many labs also have their own websites which includes current and past research conducted. It’s important to investigate labs that are testing hypotheses you find interesting, or your experience won’t be a positive one.

A second step is to talk to your TAs about their experience with research. Most are graduate students and many of them are conducting research while teaching. They are generally happy to talk about what they do! It’s an amazing feeling when you end up having a TA that works in a lab you’re interested in and can be extremely lucrative in the job hunt.

Another step in finding research is to investigate RSOs that help you find research opportunities specifically for your major. For example, Integrative Illini helps Integrative Biology majors find research opportunities. They help by explaining the process of finding a lab, teaching about the professional communication methods, and connecting undergrads with lab managers at special research meetings. Another great RSO is called Research as Students at Illinois. They perform many of the same functions that Integrative Illini does, but they focus on research in different fields instead of just one.

It may be assumed that if you transfer in as a junior or senior it is too late to try and work in research. It’s not! I am currently working at the Institute for Genomic Biology as an undergraduate researcher and was able to land my job through these methods. If you are serious about research, there are opportunities available to you.

TAG Events: Bonfires & Volunteer Opportunities

 By Sarah Bransley


It’s that time of year for falling leaves, the smell of wood smoke, and eating s’mores! TAG members braved the one of the first cold days of the season last Sunday at our bonfire event. Huddled around a warm grill, members enjoyed s’mores, hot dogs, and hot chocolate in the scenic atmosphere of Illini Grove.

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Another TAG Meeting was held and TAG members were treated to a guest speaker, Angie Armstrong, from Thomas Paine Elementary School. Angie gave TAG members insights into volunteer opportunities at the local Urbana school systems. This is the second year that TAG members will participate as volunteers in this particular program.


Following the volunteer presentation we had TAG updates. A large portion of the update was a presentation on the TAG Blog! Members were invited to contribute to the blog and were given a glimpse of the changes planned. Social events, plans for TAG, and other topics were also covered.



Thank you to everyone who showed up and we hope to see you all at our next event!

Fall 2014: Past TAG Events

By Sarah Bransley

TAG is an active community of transfer students which aims to provide both support for students transitioning into university life as well as a social outlet.

General meetings occur regularly (about once a month) and provide a variety of information to students. We have had speakers from LAS, the Career Center, and will soon have a volunteer opportunity meeting. Below is a typical meeting at Lincoln Hall.

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Beyond our meetings we also have social events! The first social event we had was a meet-and-greet at Firehaus. It was a great turn out! We got to eat some delicious bar food and get to know our fellow transfer students.


Did you know there’s bowling in the basement of the Union? TAG members got to enjoy this student benefit at our bowling event this year. As always, pizza was in abundance and apparently more than a few strikes were made!


Our third social event was a trip to Curtis Orchard. At Curtis Orchard you can pick your own apples and pumpkins, try to find your way out of a corn maze, visit the petting zoo, take a tractor ride, and eat some delicious apple fritters! The iconic big chair is where these members decided to take their photo this year.


For more information on our meetings and social events, click on the 2014 TAG Meetings link at the top of the page or email We’d love to see you there!