Student Spotlight

Main Content

Orientation 2019 students with balloons

The Student Spotlight highlights University Honors Program students for their hard work, dedication, and passion for Southern Illinois University and the University Honors Program. The students are nominated by mentors, faculty, and/or other students for displaying impressive qualities during their time in the University Honors Program. These students participate in various activities including RSOs, research, volunteer opportunities, internships, and many more while doing great work in the classroom.

Honors students part of the team selected as one of the finalists for the U.S. Department of Energy Algae Prize 2023-2025

doe-algae-research-0012-sm.jpg Honors students Morgan Ruden and Hanna Phillips are part of the team led by Professor Scott Hamilton-Brehm – one of the 15 finalists selected for the U.S. Department of Energy Algae Prize 2023-2025. And if the Carbondale team succeeds, its project could be used to grow crops in off-Earth environments such as its moon and Mars.

Read more.

Makayla Ward pursues dream of working with water animals

makayla-ward-013-sm.jpg Makayla Ward, University Honors student pursuing zoology is in the news. 

Read more.



Congratulations to our 2023-2024 McNair Scholars! 

• Paula Horton               • Hannah Phillips          • Israel Ruiz
• Aleida Iriarte                • Santino Resonno       • Dylan Sneed
• Sarah Lukavsky           • LaMya Roach             • Zeneya Scott  

Honors students win the Margaret Messer Research Award

Congratulations to Gladys Sunny, Reese Billingsley, and Jabriyel Banister for winning the Margaret Messer Research Award awarded by the Honors Council of the Illinois Region.  They won the award for the med-design research they are doing with Drs. James Lynch and Lingguo Bu, designing ring splints in the Honors Design Lab.

Israel Ruiz conducted research in a summer REU at Penn State University

Israel-Ruiz.jpg  Israel Ruiz conducted research in a summer REU at Penn State University,  investigating if there was a co-relation between salts and radioactive species in groundwater systems nearby oil and gas wells in the state of Pennsylvania.Isreal is looking forward to his internship with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Springfield in the coming school year. This interest in working in the political domain as a scientist is a hallmark of Honors education:  LEARN. LEAD. SERVE.

Aleida Iriarte and Maddy Johnson win the 2023 Above and Beyond Award

AlexisHamon-sm.jpg Maddy JohnsonAleida Iriarte (Left) and Maddy Johnson (Right),  were recognized for the 2023 Above and Beyond Award at the 2nd annual Women of Action Awards Ceremony. This award aims to recognize a current student of SIUC with a go-getter mindset and a drive that ignites her spirit to achieve beyond expectations. Read more


Alexis Hamon is the SIUC nominee for the 49th Lincoln Laureate Award!

AlexisHamon-sm.jpg“Winning this award means the world to me,” Hamon said. “I am so grateful for this incredible nomination, and I’m honored to represent SIU.”

As SIU’s Lincoln Laureate for the year, Hamon said she hopes to inspire other students to take advantage of all SIU has to offer and to encourage them to put their passion to good use in the community.  With a projected May 2024 graduation date, Hamon currently is applying to medical schools.



Katherine Held publishes her paper, Defending ESG Fiduciary Duty, in Aesthesis: The Interdisciplinary Honors Journal, Vol. 14 No. 1 (2023). The paper is based on her senior thesis, advised by Dr. Kevin Sylwester, Professor and Interim Director, The School of Analytics, Finance, and Economics.


Myla Croft is the SIUC nominee for the 48th Lincoln Laureate Award!


Chancellor Austin Lane came over to Honors to recognize Myla Croft, as the Southern Illinois University Carbondale nominee for the 48th Annual Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Award.  Myla is an Honors student who is pursuing a major in Political Science with a minor in global studies and a specialization in pre-law.  She is a McNair Scholar, features on the Dean’s List and recipient of the Senator Penny Severns Public Service scholarship and the African American Achievement scholarship.  Her goal is to practice immigration law and represent asylum seekers, refugees, and other immigrants.





Honors Students present their research at the HCIR Conference 

SIU Team in HCIRZeneya Scott and Ryan Renee Davis  HCIR Claire MorricalRyan Jurich in HCIRMeredith Hunt

SIUC Honors students attend the Honors Council of the Illinois Region (HCIR) Student Symposium hosted by Lewis and Clark Community College on February 25, 3023. Five of our students presented of various panels related to Ethics, Legislation, & Rights, Human Interactions, and Perspectives on Education.

Ryan Jurich won third place in the paper competition and Meredith Hunt recieved Honorable Mention for her presentation.

Zeneya Scott:     An analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Integrity
Ryan Jurich:       1868-1876: An Exploration of late 19th Century British Politics via Reacting to the Past
Claire Morrical:   White-tailed deer flight based on human exposure
Renee Davis:       Medium Matters: The Power of Experimenting with Different Creative Tools and Techniques
Meredith Hunt:    What’s the problem with worksheets anyway? Incorporating play into math

More highlights