2 female students examining a human lung sample

SPARK: Students Pursuing Applications, Research, and Knowledge

Welcome Invited SPARK Freshmen

Congratulations on your admission to Illinois and the opportunity to apply for the AHS SPARK Undergraduate Research program!

SPARK provides a gateway for creating a comprehensive educational experience for students. High-caliber freshmen are paired with faculty members who will integrate the freshmen into their research programs. SPARK students can earn up to a $2,500 work stipend by participating in undergraduate research. It is a great opportunity to discover the field of research and earn some money at the same time. No prior research experience is required or expected. Faculty are looking for curious, motivated and hard-working students that are excited to learn and be trained. Based on interests and career goals, we try to match students appropriately with a research group.

SPARK strives to help students:

  • Build a solid academic foundation
  • Develop effective research skills
  • Improve interpersonal communication skills
  • Prepare for the workforce, graduate school, or professional school.

If you would like to speak with the SPARK Undergraduate Research Program coordinator, Dr. Tonya Pulley, please attend one of the following information sessions via Zoom. The meeting ID is 979 116 4929 and the password is 976974 for all meetings.

Tuesday, March 22 at 5 p.m. (Central) Zoom link

Wednesday, March 23 at 5 p.m. (Central), Zoom link

Wednesday, March 30 at 5 p.m. (Central), Zoom link

Thursday, March 31 at 5 p.m. (Central), Zoom link

Are you ready to apply for SPARK?

To participate in SPARK, invited students must:

• Accept the Offer of Admission to the University of Illinois: Accept offer

• Complete the Online Interest Form by June 1. Interest Form


SPARK Research in Review

The culmination of SPARK is the presentation of slides on each student's research efforts. We are thrilled by the hard work completed by all the SPARK students. Below the Showcase you can see more information about the SPARK students and the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Congratulations SPARK students!

Message from the Dean

SPARK Research in Review

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2021

We are thrilled to also note that 5 of our SPARK students also participated in the Undergraduate Research Symposium! Here are the students and the titles of the research they presented.

Brooklyn Clough
“Maintaining Sexual Health and Wellbeing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Maya Dye
“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: An Age Friendly University”

Madison Lamphear
“Serving on the Evaluation Team of Asthma Home Visiting Program”

Holly Panfil
“Cognitive Control in Persons with Mild Cognitive Impairment”

Meghan Vanasco
“The Impact of Covid-19 on Lifestyle Behaviors Among Children Living in Champaign County”


If you have any questions about the SPARK program, please contact Dr. Tonya Pulley, tonyap@illinois.edu.