Undergraduate Opportunities

Participate in Research with EaES Faculty

We recommend that all interested students try to participate in a research experience while at UIC.  Working on a specific project, under the guidance of a faculty member can help you determine your own scientific interests, allow you to develop your lab skills, and give you a better sense of what type of career you might want to pursue.

Students participating in research can often earn credit or receive funding through a number of different university options.  Students may elect to enroll in EAES 396, entitled Independent Research, which allows students to work one-on-one with faculty.  Additionally, funding can be applied for through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Initiative and the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Award.

Get Involved in Research - How to Contact A Professor

This text was adopted and slightly modified from information provided on the UIC Undergraduate Research Experience webpage.

Search: Look through the faculty webpages to find out more about their research.  Find a professor (or perhaps identify a couple of professors) whose research interests you. If you enjoyed a class with a faculty member, that may also indicate a strong partnership for undergraduate research.

Contact: Reach out to a professor.  Typically the best way to contact a professor is via email.

  • In the subject line of the email indicate that you are a current undergraduate seeking undergraduate research experience.
  • Within the body of the email discuss your own interests and include any experience you have working in a lab, with various computer software, or in the field.  While many faculty will be willing to help train undergraduate students in specific research techniques, it can be helpful if you highlight previous experience you may have collecting soil samples or working with spreadsheets.
  • Close your email by suggesting to meet with the faculty member in person.  You may want to provide them with times when you could stop by their office to talk more about your shared research interests.

Wait for Responses: Don’t get discouraged if a faculty member does not write back immediately. Just send your email message again or, better yet, go see the researcher during his or her office hours. If the faculty member is interested, she or he will most likely ask for an interview with you. Be prepared to explain why you want to be a research assistant and why you are interested in that person’s project.

Understand Expectations: If the faculty member accepts you as a research assistant, make sure that you clearly understand her or his expectations to avoid any misunderstandings.  Communication is key in any relationship.