College of LAS « Illinois

About LAS Honors

The LAS James Scholar Program provides the best of the liberal arts education tradition with the resources, facilities, and opportunities of a flagship state university. From studying abroad to working one-on-one with faculty members, LAS Honors provides and supports ways for our students to do more, go farther, and become their very best.

The honors advantage

Specialized faculty engagement: Form close intellectual relationships with faculty members specifically selected for their credentials and passion for teaching. Choose to take honors-only courses, complete special projects in courses, or research with a faculty member.

Individualized education: Participation in the LAS Honors Program is individualized. You will be actively involved in your education; you will select how you complete your honors credits and what you will do to earn that credit. To succeed in LAS Honors, you need to take control of your education—we will support you, but you take the lead.

Interdisciplinary education: Honors experiences are truly interdisciplinary, approaching topics from many different lenses, and asking students to think across traditional academic boundaries.

Undergraduate research: Starting with individualized honors projects to getting involved in labs and other research, LAS James Scholars research with their faculty. Not only are our students active researches, they publish in various journals and present at conferences all over the world.

Co-curricular experiences: LAS James Scholars get involved on and off campus—from Registered Student Organizations, to Community Organizations. James Scholars make a difference, get the most of their educations, and understand the importance of their contributions.

Status and recognition: LAS James Scholars apply for and receive Nationally Competitive Scholarships (Truman, Fulbright, etc).

Preparation for graduate and professional scholars: LAS James Scholars utilize their opportunities to prepare themselves and set themselves apart on applications to Graduate and Professional Schools. LAS James Scholars get noticed.

Empower, enlighten, engage

The James Scholar Honors Program in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Illinois provides rare opportunities for high-achieving, highly-motivated students to go farther.

Going farther both figuratively and literally. Our students travel the globe, our alumni reach for the stars—studying medicine with NASA or even working as astronauts. Our students get involved with world-class faculty, learning from them and with them in cutting-edge research. Our students assist in creating the knowledge that others only read about. If you are ready to get involved, to be challenged, to have a lasting impact, then the LAS James Scholar Program is the place for you.

As an LAS James Scholar, you will be empowered to find your place as a global citizen and a global steward. You will learn about core values of Sustainability and its importance to the environment, the economy, and the people of your community, your country, and the broader world. LAS James Scholars always want to know more and to have a positive impact.

As an LAS James Scholar, you will be enlightened with a deeper understanding not only of your chosen major or majors, but the critical importance of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. You will gain an appreciation for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. LAS James Scholars experience deeper levels of learning: deeper, broader, richer.

As an LAS James Scholar, you will become engaged with your chosen discipline, your College, your University, your Community, and your World. You will be encouraged to get involved with curricular and co-curricular activities; experiential learning, community service, and a wide range of other opportunities created specifically for LAS James Scholars.


Associate Director Amanda Purnell

Amanda Purnell
Prior to joining the LAS Honors team in fall 2014, Amanda worked with study abroad scholarships at the University of Illinois and nationally competitive scholarships and undergraduate research initiatives at Colorado State University. There, she also earned her master's degree in Communication Studies. With her partner, Dan, and her dog, Rosie, Amanda enjoys traveling to find beautiful hikes, locally made yarns, and new cultural perspectives. She looks forward to exchanging experiences with all of you when you stop by the office.

Assistant Director Allison Holden

Originally from Wisconsin, Allison earned a Master's degree in Educational Leadership: College Student Development from Oklahoma State University. She has moved around the Midwest, working with college students before making Urbana home. She has a strong love of her partner, two small children, coffee and travel.


LAS Honors
2002 Lincoln Hall, MC-446
702 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-1158

Spring 2018 Honors Walk-in Hours
2 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. Tuesdays
10 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Wednesdays
8:30 a.m. to noon Thursdays

Students wishing to schedule appointments with LAS Honors staff can do so online. Please be sure to select "LAS Honors" from the pull-down calendar option.