image of hands, wearing purple gloves, and holding instruments. A microscope is in the picture.

Photo by Russell Bailey

July 27, 2022

SIU undergraduate student researchers to show off their projects

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale undergraduate students preparing for careers in research will present their work at the 19th annual McNair Summer Research Symposium on Friday. 

The symposium, set for 10-11:30 a.m. in the first-floor rotunda at Morris Library, will include 17 poster presentations from students participating in the McNair Scholars and SI Bridges to the Baccalaureate undergraduate research programs.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health, respectively, students will showcase projects from a variety of disciplines, including social sciences, humanities, and STEM fields, said Rhetta Seymour, program director. Both programs host an 8-10 week Summer Research Institute, which introduces students to research, problem solving and professional development.  Students pair with SIU faculty members on their respective research projects.

Named for the late Ronald E. McNair, a physicist and astronaut who died in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion, the SIU Carbondale McNair Scholars Program helps students realize their full potential by providing enriching educational experiences for low-income, first-generation college students and members of underserved groups in higher education.

Beginning with a strong mentoring network, the students receive full support and engagement in educational and professional development activities, laying the foundation for stellar research and academic skills.

“SIU’s McNair Scholars Program promotes academic excellence, success in graduate school and the earning a doctoral degree, confirming there is no such thing as too much ambition when it comes to educational goals,” Seymour said.

Since receiving its first McNair grant 2003, SIU has provided opportunities to 237 students. Those students have gone on to earn 119 master’s degrees and 17 doctoral degrees. SIU’s program serves 29 students each year.

In the SI Bridges program, students from Southern Illinois community colleges spend the summer working with the scientists and researchers at SIU Carbondale to help them earn their bachelor’s degrees.