The World of Biology Photo Competition 2013

An exciting opportunity for the SIB community has come forth this spring: The World of Biology Photo Competition! Anyone affiliated with SIB is eligible to submit up to three photographs in any of three categories: Nature, Biologists at Work, and Biological Imaging. Cash prizes will be awarded to 1st ($200), 2nd ($100), and 3rd ($50) place in each category.

Nature: Any photograph showing some aspect of the natural world.

Biologists at Work: Any photograph showing one or more biologists working in the laboratory or in the field.

Biological Imaging: Any photograph taken through or with the aid of a microscope or other imaging device.

To ensure that your photographs are in the competition, please mount each photograph on 11” x 14” quarter inch foam core backing, and drop them off along with electronic copies to the School of Integrative Biology office (286 Morrill Hall) by 5 PM Friday, April 19, 2013. There will also be an exhibit of the photographs at 612/614 Institute of Genomic Biology the following week from 3-5 PM on April 25, 2012.

Please feel free to download both the entry form and full instructions for the competition from this post by clicking on the following links:

SIB Photo Contest 2013 Instructions and Entry Form

SIB Photo Contest 2013 Flier

2012 World of Biology Photo Competition Winners

Insect Fear Film Fest T-Shirt Design Contest

This is being sent on behalf of Michelle Duennes

Hello Everyone,

EGSA is officially announcing the T-Shirt Design Contest for The 30th Annual Insect Fear Film Festival! The theme this year is: “The InsX-Files: The Truth (about insects) Is Out There” because creator/director/producer of The X-Files, Chris Carter, will be a special guest this year! We’ll being showing two episodes of The X-Files TV show and the feature film will be “The XFiles: Fight the Future.”

Designs are due to Audra Weinstein in 320 Morrill Hall by 5pm on Friday, January 25th and voting will be from Jan 28-Feb 1. The winner receives a $50 cash prize and their design will be immortalized at the IFFF30 T-shirt!

Below are a few rules and guidelines for the contest. Please spread the word about IFFF (#IFFF30 on Twitter, via Facebook, etc.)!

“The InsX-Files: The Truth (about insects) Is Out There”
IFFF T-Shirt Design Contest Rules and Guidelines:
1. “Insect Fear Film Festival” must be present in the design.
2. The number of the festival (30) must be present in the design.
3. The date of the festival (February 23rd, 2013) must be present in the design (this can be in any notation).
5. The theme of the festival, “The InsX-Files: The Truth (about insects) Is Out There,” must be present in the design.
6. NO weapons (guns, knives, bombs, etc.) can be present in the design.
7. The design can contain a MAXIMUM of three colors (not including the T-shirt color/background).

Here is a link to winning designs from previous years for inspiration.

Below are links to the shirts we order every year, and the color choices. Instead of letting the designer of the winning T-shirt pick the colors after the contest, we’ve decided to present you with the available colors beforehand so you can pick them as you design and so you can incorporate the “background” color into your submission.
Please pick a color(s) that can be found in each of the different styles (or something very similar).

Women’s Cut

Elementary Outreach

Most people think all flowers smell beautiful.  Students at Frank Hall Elementary certainly thought so when they entered the “Pollination Celebration” classroom to learn about different kinds of pollinators, and how flowers work to attract them.  “Much of the diversity in plants arises from evolutionary responses to animals, which are sensitive to sensory cues such as color and scent,” said PhD candidate Katherine Chi (Plant Biology), one of the creators of this activity.  “These clues are not only useful for a field botanist who is identifying plants, but also to pollinators, and we wanted the kids to come away understanding this concept.”  Students filled in pages of a “field notebook” by identifying colors and habitats at the different displays they visited. While they loved sampling the sweet and musky smells of species pollinated by moths and bats, everyone was surprised by the foul stink of the skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), which attracts flies and other carrion-loving insects.  “Some of the faces they made were priceless, but it was definitely the student’s favorite,” Katherine recalled.

On December 5th, a Wednesday before the last week of classes, 31 SIB graduate students trekked three hours north to host a science night for Frank Hall Elementary, a low-income school in Aurora.  The event was put together by the outreach coordinators for Plant Biology Association of Graduate Students (PBAGS), Graduates in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (GEEB), and the Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA).  Over the course of the evening, we provided interactive biology education on topics ranging from DNA and cells to animal behavior and human ancestry to over 350 elementary school students and their families.  This was one of the largest outreach events ever undertaken by graduate students in SIB.

Hall Elementary’s science program is currently lacking due to budget cuts, and many of the students do not have much of a connection with science or scientists.  Activities such as “dress like a scientist”, in which students were able to get their pictures taken in field equipment such as waders, as well as interacting with the graduate students, aided in dispelling the myth of the “mad scientist”.  In another room, students made birdfeeders and learned about the birds they can find in their own backyards, while in another, they got to touch insects and learn that they are not so scary after all.

In one of the classrooms, PhD candidate Rhiannon Peery (Plant Biology) showed students how to extract DNA from strawberries.  Previously, most of the students had no background with DNA, and of those that did, many were not aware that plants contained DNA as well as animals.  When the extraction was finished, students could attach their finished product to a string and take them home.  “We were told that our students wore their DNA necklaces to school the next day as a fashion statement,” Rhiannon said. “I think that’s awesome!”

Parents were greatly appreciative of the effort and enthusiasm shown during the event. “I have been receiving a swarm of e-mails from principles and teachers asking if we can put on this event at their schools,” said Julia Ossler, PhD student and outreach coordinator for PBAGS.  Another parent told us that her son has started asking for books on science and wants to be an entomologist, a word he learned at the science night.  In addition to generating interest among students, teachers, and parents, this event was covered in two local Aurora news publications.

At the end of the night, students created a “twitter wall” where they wrote about their favorite experience and what they learned.  Favorite lessons ranged from “When there is too much carbon dioxide, plants close their stomata” to “different animals have different mouthparts to eat different things.”  One “tweet”, however, was something that we SIB students have known all along: “I learned that science can be better than plain old learning.  Science is sweet.”

All pictures used with permission by the participants.

Graduates in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Plant Biology Association of Graduate Students
Entomology Graduate Student Association

Welcome Back! – Fall 2012

Welcome Back! – Fall 2012

Thursday, September 6th, 5:00-7:00 PM

Illini Union Room C

  • Meet Faculty and IB Advisors
  • Free Food
  • Free T-shirt
Crowd at Picnic

Find out what SIB is all about and meet other IB majors!!

Are you interested in learning more about the Integrative Biology Major? Do you want to meet our faculty in an informal setting? Want to hang out with other IB majors? Do you just want to mooch a free meal? Come on out and join us!

Anyone with even a potential interest in the Integrative Biology Major is invited to join us September 6th for some picnic fun. We welcome IB majors, undeclared or those who just want to check us out.

Spring Convocation Saturday!

Saturday, May 12, 2012, 10:00 AM
Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana

The School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony is for graduating seniors, Master’s and doctoral candidates in curricula under the auspices of the School of Integrative Biology. A reception will immediately follow the Ceremony in the KCPA lobby. This Ceremony is in addition to the campuswide Commencement Ceremony in the Assembly Hall.  Doctoral candidates may be hooded at either or both ceremonies.

Tickets ARE required for this event.  Tickets are free and limited to eight per student. Tickets may be picked up in 286 Morrill Hall, Monday through Thursday, May 7-10, between the hours of 1:00 and 4:30 PM.  Additional tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis on Friday, May 11, from 8:30 AM to noon or 1:00 to 4:30 PM.

Eligibility: August and December 2011 graduates and May 2012 degree candidates are eligible to participate in this formal Ceremony. August 2012 B.S. or M.S. degree candidates are also eligible to participate. Please note that Ph.D. candidates must have their dissertation on file in the Graduate College Thesis Office by April 20.

To register to participate in the School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony please come to 286 Morrill Hall as soon as possible.

All graduates and degree candidates participating in the School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony are required to wear appropriate academic attire. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduates wear custom regalia designed specifically for the campus. Academic attire consists of a blue mortarboard, blue gown and, in the case of a doctoral degree, a hood. (View custom regalia here (.doc).) Academic attire may be ordered at If you are unsure of your plans at this time, but are considering participation in either the campuswide Commencement Ceremony or the SIB Convocation Cermony, you should place an order to rent academic attire. You will not be charged the rental fee if the academic attire is not picked up during the distribution period.

A professional photographer will be taking pictures. Proofs will be sent to the email address provided by the graduate with no obligation to purchase. Additional pictures may be ordered online.

Instructions for the day of the ceremony.

Questions concerning the School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony should be directed to, or you may stop by our office, 286 Morrill Hall.

SIB Spring Picnic

Posted on behalf of Jo-anne Holley,

Spring is here and it’s time for the annual SIB picnic! All staff, faculty,post-docs and graduate students are welcome. We will again be at Pavillion at Hessel park on the afternoon Sunday April 22nd.

The event will be catered by Black Dog for meat eaters and BBQ also provided by Red Herring for vegetarians. We’ll have soda as well, but please feel free to contribute sides for everyone to share.

We’ve also got some games and activities planned — frisbee, soccer, bocce, among others. I’m even going to bring my Australian Rules football.

**Here are the precise details**:
When: Sunday April 22nd
Time: 2-5pm
Where: The pavilion at Hessel Park, Kirby Ave, Champaign
Catering: Black Dog and vegetarian options from Red Herring
What to bring: Side dishes and special food requirements, lawn chairs, loved ones.

I hope to see lots of people there!



Illinois Science Olympiad Tournament needs volunteers

Volunteers needed! The Illinois Science Olympiad Tournament will be held on campus on April 14. High school and middle school students will compete in 46 events in the disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics and technology. No experience needed to volunteer. Contact Bob Coverdill at for more information.


29th Annual Insect Fear Film Festival

The 29th Annual Insect Fear Film Festival will be held on February 25, 2012 in Foellinger Auditorium (UIUC Campus). Admission is free and the doors open at 6 PM. In addition to the films, there will also be the traditional IFFF activities, including face painting, the insect petting zoo, and Bugscope. We look forward to seeing you at the 29th Annual Insect Fear Film Festival!