Students across Illinois State University’s campus will have the chance to showcase their work in a new way with the inaugural Image of Research juried competition.

The competition calls on students to create or capture one compelling, static image of their research and submit it along with a 200-word narrative. Entries will be accepted from January 19-February 19 via a portal found on the Office of Student Research website.

“This is a wonderful way to engage students in all disciplines and trigger their creativity,” said Director of the Office of Student Research Gina Hunter. “Entries can be photographs, infographics, a capture from a spectrophotometer—any compelling image that represents their research and shows a close connection to their written statement.”

Image of Research is open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Finalists will be selected and their entries displayed at University Galleries during a reception from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Prizes awarded that night will honor the top graduate and undergraduate entries, with first prizes of $250, second prizes of $150, and honorable mentions of $50. Students can also vote the evening of the reception for a $150 People’s Choice award.

The competition is sponsored by Illinois State’s Office of Student Research, Graduate School, Milner Library, and University Galleries.

A jury of local artists will decide the finalists, whose images will be on display at the reception on March 19. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be a pop-up exhibit during the Faculty Biennial exhibition at the galleries located at 11 Uptown Circle in Normal.

“We see University Galleries as a lab of creative expression,” said Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz, who noted students engage with University Galleries throughout the year with exhibitions, performances, curation, and speakers. “It is exciting to be involved in this very interdisciplinary, university-wide initiative.”

Hunter said students will gain from working with the University Galleries as well as partners in Milner Library and the Graduate School. “There are important issues to understand, like what makes an image compelling, what constitutes fair use of others’ imagery, as well as students own intellectual property rights,” she said. “We’re lucky to have wonderful professionals working with us on this competition.”

There is no cost for students to enter Image of Research. Each entry must include the name of a faculty mentor. The Office of Student Research will host two workshops to give students more information about the competition, and how to select a competitive image. Sessions will be held in Milner Library, room 614A  from 3-5 p.m. on February 5 and 7-9 p.m. on February 12.  Students do not need to attend the workshops to enter.

More information is available on the Office of Student Research website. Those with questions can contact Hunter at (309) 438-0787 or email