Re:Search, The Undergraduate Literary Criticism Journal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Inaugural Issue

This year marked the inaugural publication of the first issue of Re:Search: The Undergraduate Literary Criticism Journal at the University of Illinois. Re:Search is an undergraduate-produced, peer-reviewed journal designed to annually publish articles exclusively authored by undergraduate Humanities students. It seeks to create a venue for undergraduate students to showcase and publish literary criticism within a greater academic discourse while nurturing a collaborative community between faculty, administration, and undergraduate students.

Cover Art for the journal, designed by freshman undergraduate Graphic Design student, Madison Ross-Ryan

Cover Art for the journal, designed by freshman undergraduate Graphic Design student, Madison Ross-Ryan

A particular feature that distinguishes Re:Search from other undergraduate journals is that it supports students throughout the research and publication process. Particularly, this journal offers a faculty mentorship, where students work closely with a faculty advisor while drafting their article. While the publication of the journal is certainly an accomplishment in its own right, what this journal also strives to do is foster a culture of collaboration amongst the undergraduate student body, faculty, and university departments across campus (including the Scholarly Commons at the University Library, the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), and the English Department) with the collective vision of encouraging undergraduate research.

Re:Search site

Open Journal System online platform for Re:Search

In addition to offering hard copies of the journal available to print on demand through the Espresso Book Machine in the Illini Union Bookstore (and generously funded by the English Department), the University Library and OUR both funded and assisted in the founding of an online, fully-indexed platform through an Open Journals Systems (OJS) to showcase the completed work of undergraduate students. By working alongside University Librarians and Graduate students in the Graduate Library and Information Sciences (GSLIS) program, we have established an online platform that is accessible to a wide audience, including: current university students, instructors, administration, alumni and prospective students. This OJS platform will continue to be instrumental in future publications as it enables us to regulate the peer-review, copyediting and proofreading processes in one localized site.

Example of an article

Example of an article on the online platform

The increasing recognition of the value of undergraduate research in the University of Illinois is empowering for us undergraduate students, and I believe signals towards a transformative shift in the research culture here on campus.

We invite you to explore the online platform of the journal:

We are also on Facebook:

To learn more about Re:Search and opportunities to be involved, please visit our microsite:

Nick Millman, Editor in Chief of Re:Search

Undergraduates Present Original Research at EUI Conference

Undergraduates enrolled in Ethnography of the University Initiative affiliated courses presented their original research to an audience of peers, professors, and community members on April 15. As an audience member, I was thrilled to hear from the researchers about their semester-long projects, which spanned a wide variety of topics related to the University of Illinois and Parkland College. The buzz of conversation and animated exchanges between presenters and attendees during the poster portion of conference exemplifies the valuable opportunity that is conference participation. Though many were nervous, and indeed many had never presented at a conference before, students beamed with satisfaction as they answered questions and comments about their projects.

The students’ confidence and passion for their research projects could be felt in the oral presentations as well. Presenters prepared brief panel presentations about their research questions, methodologies, and findings. Topics included academic parking habits, student healthcare knowledge, recruitment practices in university programs, personal benefits derived from volunteerism, and individual aesthetic choices and the construction of social meaning of body adornment. Audience members appreciated the quality of projects, and also offered new angles of analysis that could lead to further, more in-depth research. Some conference participants described their EUI-affiliated course as “eye-opening” and “good practice” for their future academic career. Another student said her EUI experience had left her feeling more responsible and an active agent in her undergraduate education.

EUI’s Spring 2014 conference exemplified the importance of undergraduate research at the U of I and its sister college(s), undergraduate engagement with the university or college as subject and agent, and the excitement undergrads have being able to participate in the research process.

More information on EUI can be found on our website.

Noelle Easterday, EUI Graduate Assistant

Image of Research – UR Edition, 2014 Winners

The Image of Research – UR Edition is a multidisciplinary competition celebrating the diversity and breadth of undergraduate student research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All undergraduate students are invited to submit entries consisting of an image and brief text that articulates how the image relates to the research. Entries will be judged by a multidisciplinary panel for:

  • Connection between image narrative and research
  • Originality
  • Visual Impact


First place ($300 award): JunYoung Gwak, “Vision based construction site surveillance for efficient utilization of resources and safety monitoring,” Computer Science

JunYoung Gwak                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative: My passion lies in computer vision, a field of study which makes computer see and understand what people can. Since humans heavily rely on visual information, building a computer system which has the same visual sense has a significant meaning. With computer vision, computers can smartly interact with the environment and perform various tasks that could only be done by humans before. The goal of my project is to automatically detect and track workers and equipments from video cameras and localize their position in 3D purely based on computer vision techniques. In this image, 3D position of the workers are displayed on the point cloud model of the construction site. Based on this information, computer can automatically alarm workers walking into a dangerous area. Also, managers can make better decisions about utilization of workers and equipments. I hope small gains in efficiency through my research could lead to an enormous cost savings on the $900 billion construction industry.


Second place ($200 award): Aimee Gottlieb, “Inclusivity through Sport,” Recreation, Sport, and Tourism

Aimee Gottlieb                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative: I took this picture at a wheelchair track practice last fall. It tied in perfectly with the research I had been doing on sport and inclusion. Previously, people with disabilities have been excluded from mainstream society and sports, with a mindset where sports were a tool primarily for rehabilitation. Recently, there has been a global push to be more inclusive through sport in order to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals laid out by the United Nations. To be more inclusive through sport, a greater effort needs to be made to not only include people with disabilities in adaptive sports, but also through mainstream sports. Sport has this unique power of uniting people and making differences in ability seem nonexistent. Being inclusive through sport can create awareness of different disabilities, make participation have meaning for everyone, and encourage opportunities to play together. This picture encompasses the power of inclusivity through sport. The disability appears nonexistent and the competitive drive and love for the sport is central to the image.


Honorable mention ($50 award): Le Wang, “Reading Physiological Signals from Faces,” Electrical and Computer Engineering
Le Wang                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative:My research is on non-contact heart rate detection using temporal analysis of face video captured by ubiquitous RGB webcams. The cyclical movement of blood causes the color variations on the face, and the pulse via abdominal aorta and the carotid arteries. Heart rate is a critical vital sign of physical condition in medical diagnosis. There are also emerging needs for non-contact, low-term and accessible cardiac pulse estimation with wide applications in health monitoring, emotion assessment, and human computer interaction. To investigate the relationship between temporal color signals on the face regions, I use cross-correlation to measure the similarity between color variations on different face regions. The image on the left is the cross-correlation coefficient map with respect to the signal extracted at the forehead. The image on the right is the overlaid result of a single face video frame and the correlation coefficient map. We temporally band-pass filter each signal to reduce noises. From the resultant map, we could see high similarity between color signals on skin regions and the spatial pattern emerged as caused by the underlying blood flow. Our main research goal is to develop robust heart rate detection in unconstrained environments


Honorable mention ($50 award): Tayana Panova, “Phone Attention Social Psychology,” Psychology

Tayana Panova                                                           (Click photo to enlarge)

Narrative: This image is a combination of drawings I have done that reflect what I see on campus every day. I have observed that students on campus are constantly looking down at their phones and engaging with them, and my hypothesis is that this behavior can have negative social and psychological consequences. I am currently doing research on this topic as part of the psychology honors program, and my results have shown high correlations between maladaptive phone and Internet use with anxiety and depression. Previous research has shown that cell phone and Internet use is also associated with lower GPAs, unsatisfactory interpersonal interactions, sleep issues, and general psychological distress. This image attempts to convey some of the problems related with technology usage and propose a solution to set the phone down a little more often and look up, thereby engaging more with the world around us.


We’d like to thank our judges:

  • Karen Rodriguez’G, Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Sarah Christensen, Visual Resources Curator, University Library
  • Elizabeth Brown, Graduate Assistant, GSLIS

Competition coordinated by Merinda Kaye Hensley, Scholarly Commons Co-Coordinator, University Library with special thanks to the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. For more information, please visit:

We will be creating an online exhibit for all of this years entries. Watch this blog, “Undergraduate Research at Illinois” for an announcement.

Welcome to “Undergraduate Research at Illinois”

The Undergraduate Research at Illinois blog is a collaboration between the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Scholarly Commons, University Library.

This blog will focus on events and research help related to formal undergraduate research programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Posts will include highlights of Illinois undergraduate research (see “Headlines: UG Research at Illinois” below), undergraduate research conferences and symposia from all disciplines, library resources and services addressing the needs of students and faculty, and occasional announcements including national conferences for undergraduate students. The blog also includes a calendar of events that will feature campus events, library workshops, deadlines for research opportunities, and national conferences (Calendar submission form).

Call for Submissions

“Headlines: UG Research at Illinois” are posts featuring undergraduate research happening on the Illinois campus. Submissions are accepted from undergraduate students and faculty mentors involved in formal undergraduate research programs across all disciplines.

Guidelines for submission:

  • Please include a title (250 characters or less).
  • Your narrative could consider the following: Tell us about your experience with undergraduate research. What have you learned? What is the impact on your field? How has your relationship with your students/faculty mentor changed the way you do research? We will consider any original writing about undergraduate research happening at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (up to 500 words).
  • You may include up to three (3) images to be included in your post. These images can be of your research or of the people involved (e.g. JPEG, TIFF, or PNG preferred).
  • “Headlines” will be published 2-3 times per month.
  • Posts may be edited for clarity. Authors will retain copyright of their work. Please contact all of those involved in your narrative before official submission.
  • Must be submitted by a current undergraduate student and/or faculty mentor involved in undergraduate research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Open call for submissions: (Must login with your NetID and password).