Why Research?

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SIU students in lab looking at sample

One of the advantages of being at a comprehensive research university is that our students work with faculty across disciplines, pursuing research that seeks to make a difference in the world.  The Mentors in the University Honors program will help connect you to faculty and academic resources;  the local community; and  other opportunities to explore your potential and find your own path.

What is research?

  • It's finding answers to tough questions and solutions to nagging problems.
  • It's discovering new knowledge and interpretations in your field of special interest.
  • It's the ultimate exciting, challenging, hands-on learning experience. It's happening all over this campus, every day and in every department and college.

Why should an undergraduate pursue research projects?

  • Because you're motivated and genuinely excited by your studies.
  • Because you're curious ... about nature, about society, about artistic expression.
  • Because it's more fun to learn by doing.
  • Because it allows you to know your professors better and work with experts in your field.
  • Because you'll learn about the newest methods and technologies.
  • Because you're contributing new knowledge about our world.
  • Because it looks great on your resume.
  • Because it helps you make decisions about your future education and career.
  • Because it helps you learn more about your field and its opportunities.
  • Because it teaches you critical thinking skills valuable in any job.
  • Because it prepares you for graduate-level study.

  How can I become a student researcher?

  • Find a topic: think about what you are interested in, what you want to learn more about, and what your existing skills are.
  • Find a mentor: talk to your undergraduate advisor, a professor, or a graduate student about your interests, departmental opportunities, and faculty/student projects and supervisors.
  • Professors and graduate students often welcome the assistance of undergraduate volunteers on projects. Volunteering is a great way to learn skills that might get you a paid research assistant position later.
  • Talk to a professor about taking an independent research course with him or her on a subject of interest.
  • Take advantage of internships advertised in your department or college.
  • Take advantage of opportunities offered by research centers on campus.
  • Participate in the University Honors Program and/or departmental honors courses.

Student Research Highlights

Dr. Roberto Barrios (Professor, Anthropology) and Honors student Amanda Leppert Gomes are interviewed on their recent trip and field work/research as it relates to climate change.  Here’s a link to the show.  

Other Research Highlights.

Our Major Scholarship Award Winners


Madison McMinn, a Chemistry major, received an honorable mention for the 2016 Goldwater scholarship for Math, Science and Engineering.  Madison is also the recipient of the 2019 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Read more






Austin Weigle, a Biology major, received an honorable mention  for the 2016 Goldwater scholarship for Math, Science, and Engineering.



Nathan Colley Headshot


Nathan Colley, a Chemistry major from Staunton, IL, received an honorable mention award for the 2015 Goldwater scholarship for Math, Science, and Engineering.