Summer is an exciting time for the School of Integrative Biology – many of our faculty and students use this time to travel to their study sites across the US and around the world to set up their experiments, collect data, and gain new experiences that will guide their work.
Student researchers are critical to the success of SIB, and the collaborative relationships that they develop with our faculty prepare them for exciting careers in all kinds of industries, such as health care, biotech and bioinformatics, agriculture and plant biology, ecology, sustainability and conservation, and more.
Over half of all of SIB undergraduates gain some form of research experience during their time at Illinois, which provides them with hands-on skills developed in the field and the lab. Using these skills, our undergraduates are uniquely poised to tackle complex, interdisciplinary problems.
Faculty benefit immensely from having these dedicated, creative students working with them full-time during the summer. This mentor-mentee relationship goes far beyond a set of extra hands in the laboratory. Students bring with them fresh ways of looking at long-standing problems, boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm. These research-based connections transform the way that our students engage with their undergraduate experience and the relationships are often maintained long after the student has graduated.
Beginning this summer, you’ll be hearing from some of these student researchers through a new series on our blog – The SIB Student Research Experience. They will be telling their stories to put a face and a name behind their data and results. Their accounts show in a very tangible way how their professional journey relates to their research goals, and highlights the wide range of backgrounds and interests we have here in SIB.
From microbes to ecosystems, our students are training to develop and apply their extensive technical knowledge to our most pressing issues as a global community, addressing the challenges of 21st century biology. I hope you enjoy their stories, and be sure to check back for each new blog.
Carla Cáceres, Director, School of Integrative Biology