"Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another."
IMSA students are rightfully proud of participating in Student Inquiry and Research as a means of taking ownership of and direct responsibility for their own learning. Some of the important benefits of independent learning experiences gained through the SIR program may be difficult to observe or measure. However, there are also many tangible outcomes that are richly varied and exciting in their results, impact, and potential for leading to new opportunities. Results include the completed project and IMSAloquium presentation. Abstracts of past investigations undertaken by SIR students will inspire the reader with the creativity and ingenuity involved in Student Inquiry and Research.
For students who wish to extend the reach of their experience beyond the halls of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, possibilities abound. These students make significant contributions through publication in professional journals, presentation at research conferences, creation of novel programs, and discovery of innovative techniques as their external achievements demonstrate. Additional opportunities to leverage investigation skills and results are plentiful.
Completing a Student Inquiry and Research project is a noteworthy achievement in planning, investigation, review, documentation, and presentation. IMSA students have been very successful at earning broader recognition for work that they have submitted for outside review. Examples of student achievements and honors outside of IMSA, stemming from SIR projects, include:
- Finalists in competitions including the Illinois Junior Academy of Sciences (IJAS), the Illinois Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (IJSHS), the Intel Science Talent Search, the Siemens-Westinghouse Competition, and many others.
- Presentations at national and international conferences and scholarly publications. Some recent selections are available from IMSA's Digital Commons.
SIR opens doors for many opportunities to leverage the project results and experiences within the broader educational and scientific communities. Possibilities for sharing student results include submission to professionals in appropriate fields for review and publication, presentations at conferences and competitions, and opportunities for further study or travel.
Some external opportunities are appropriate for work already conducted through the SIR program. Others may build upon existing SIR projects but require additional work that specifically targets a competition theme, such as writing an essay, proposing research, or designing a web site or invention. The SIR office is currently facilitating student participation in:
- Illinois Junior Academy of Sciences (IJAS)
- International Student Science Fair (ISSF)
- MIT Beaverworks
- NCSSS Student Research Conference
Official program sponsors will have up-to-date information and requirements about specific opportunities. Information on any particular opportunity should be carefully checked through official sponsor channels. Students are also encouraged to independently identify other suitable opportunities. A partial list of summer programs and other opportunities is available here.