IPRH–Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Internships in Bio-Humanities

Are you a life science or bio-engineering major interested in philosophy, politics, history, and literature? Are you a humanities major who also dabbles in biochemistry, molecular biology, endocrinology, or neuroscience? Are you interested in exploring how the sciences and the humanities are together generating new areas of research?

The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH), with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is looking for undergraduate interns to work with its Bio-humanities research group for the academic year 2017–2018.

The IPRH-Mellon Bio-Humanities Research Group is composed of professors, post-doctoral scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates who aim to appropriate findings in the life sciences to re-imagine what humans are and to reconfigure our understanding of society and culture.

The research group seeks three undergraduate interns who will work with the group on their seminars, workshops, and programs. Interns will also work with the research group director, Professor Samantha Frost, to develop their own research projects as well as a research symposium for undergraduates at the end of the spring semester.


The position is open to current University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign undergraduate students in good academic standing. Applicants for the internship should anticipate being juniors or seniors for the year of the internship and should demonstrate some familiarity with and/or curiosity about the intersections between sciences and the humanities.

Terms of Internship

Duties of the yearlong internship include:

  • Attendance at weekly research-group meeting (10 am to 12 pm on Fridays);
  • Weekly meeting with research group director to talk over research projects;
  • Assisting with research group workshops and program activities; and
  • Organizing an undergraduate research symposium.

Interns will work approximately 10 to 11 hours per week, paid at the rate of $15.75 per hour (up to $5000/year), and will have up to $600 to support their research.

Application Guidelines

Applicants should send:

  • A completed Application Cover Sheet (Download application cover sheet here);
  • An unofficial transcript; and
  • A 750 word essay explaining their interest in work at this intersection of the humanities and the life sciences. The essay should address the following questions: Why is this conjunction interesting? Important? Productive? What could thinking and working at this conjunction provide that would be missing if one did research in just the sciences or just the humanities?

In addition, applicants should arrange for two letters of recommendation from instructors or professors to be sent directly to the IPRH@illinois.edu email address. Letter writers should indicate clearly the candidate whom they are recommending. Letters are also due by 5 p.m. on March 1st.

All materials should be sent to IPRH@illinois.edu by 5 p.m. on March 1, 2017. Late applications will not be accepted. We are happy to answer general inquiries about the application process, but because of the volume of applications IPRH receives, we are unable to offer specific feedback on individual applications.

Selection Criteria

The applications will be reviewed by the Mellon Faculty Fellow in Bio-Humanities, the IPRH Director and Principal Investigator on the Mellon Emerging Areas in the Humanities grant, and Members of the IPRH Advisory Committee, who will make their selection recommendations to IPRH. The IPRH Associate Director serves on the committee in an ex officio capacity. 

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • the quality of the essay,
  • the strength of the academic record, and
  • the letters of support.

Application Deadline

Complete applications must be received by 5 p.m. on March 1, 2017 at the IPRH@illinois.edu email. Late or incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the selection committee for consideration.


All applications will be acknowledged via e-mail, and all applicants will be notified in the latter part of the spring 2017 semester, when the search has concluded.

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Questions about this internship opportunity may be addressed to IPRH Associate Director Nancy Castro at ncastro@illinois.edu or (217) 244-7913.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.