About IURA:

Illinois Undergraduate Research Ambassadors (IURAs) are a collaborative cohort of accomplished and experienced students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

IURAs help to promote undergraduate research at the U of I and help the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) develop and maintain student-focused programs that represent the U of I’s diverse array of disciplines. As representatives of OUR, IURAs will be responsible for promoting undergraduate research to peers by holding informational workshops on undergraduate research, serving as a liaison between OUR and academic departments, and being knowledgeable about the resources that the U of I offers its undergraduate students interested in research and creative inquiry.

How to schedule:

Ambassadors will be on hiatus during the summer and will resume accepting meetings in September 2024. To have your questions answered during the summer, please contact the staff at the Office of Undergraduate Research.

curtis althaus portrait

Curtis Althaus

Major: Chemistry and Astrophysics

Experimental Battery Research through Electroanalytical Chemistry

Advice: Open your field of vision when it comes to looking for opportunities! I didn’t start out my search knowing I wanted to do work with batteries and I had no idea what electrochemistry was when I joined my lab. Embrace the unexpected, be open to new ideas, and go with the flow!

emilee bates portrait

Emilee Bates

Major: Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

Relationships between self-tracking health behaviors, literacy, and well-being in college students with disabilities

Advice: Don’t be afraid to be seen trying! We are all trying our best in our different journeys. There is nothing shameful about struggle or failure, as these experiences are part of the process that makes you great.

kira martin portrait

Kira Martin

Major: Materials Science & Engineering

Thin films for electronics

Advice: Research helped me explore my interests while developing useful skills. Reach out to me to talk about your research journey. I’d love to help you get started, connect you to resources, or answer questions you have!

anwesha mishra portrait

Anwesha Mishra

Major: Computer Science + Economics

Using NLP, AI, and Data Parsing to Create an Interactive bot for Patients

Advice: Research was one way that I was able to explore my interests that went beyond the classroom setting. Navigating through the endless opportunities on campus may seem daunting but definitely don’t be scared to try out different things and it’s okay if you end up not liking it!

holly panfil portrait

Holly Panfil

Major: Speech & Hearing Sciences / Minor: Spanish

Aging and cognition of individuals with mild cognitive impairment

Advice: While the research world may seem daunting, it is truly such a valuable experience. I have learned all sorts of skills that just can’t be taught inside a classroom. Additionally, I have gained some incredible mentors. Don’t be afraid to get involved!

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Emma Prybylski

Major: Animal Sciences

Impact of Cecal Starch Infusion on Rumen in vitro Digestibility

Advice: If you want to get involved in research and need help figuring out where to start or need advice on balancing school with research, please feel free to schedule a meeting with me!

roqaya sahib portrait

Roqaya Sahib

Major: Chemistry

Animal behavior, and interpersonal vulnerabilities stemming from trauma

Advice: Do not be afraid to get involved in research! It never hurts to try! You can discover something new you enjoy. There is research available in all areas and majors.

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Vani Sharma

Major: Molecular & Cellular Biology / Minor: Public Health

Women’s health, metabolism, and lung cancer

Advice: Engaging in research can be a fruitful yet daunting opportunity whether you have a lot or no experience. Take advantage of the research opportunities to find an area that you are passionate. OUR is here to help you find those connections.

ananya subramanian portrait

Ananya Subramanian

Major: Mathematics

Statistical brain modeling during neurological disorders

Advice: Research has helped me gain experience that I never would have gotten in a classroom. It may seem a little scary at first, but it something that you will enjoy. If you need any help on getting started, I would love to help you.

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Jingyi Xiang

Major: Electrical Engineering

Perceiving and Tracking Deformable Linear Objects from RGB-D Camera Streams

Advice: Don’t be afraid to try new things! Sometimes it can be hard to find a lab or project that matches your interest exactly, but don’t let that stop you from entering research. Research is all about trying new things.