Jurica Scholars Program - Are YOU ready for the CHALLENGE?

    For highly-motivated, curious and high-achieving students in a biological science major

A Tradition of Learning

Since its founding in 1887, Benedictine University has challenged students to learn science by doing science.

This remarkable heritage inspires the Jurica Scholars Program at Benedictine University.  Named after Frs. Hillary and Edmund Jurica, O.S.B., whose collected specimens are the heart of the Jurica-Suchy Nature History Museum at Benedictine, this program is designed to cultivate the Jurica brothers' philosophy of "learning through doing" and is a tribute to their legacy.

The Jurica Scholars program selects students who want to challenge themselves through learning, research and service experiences. Exceptionally talented students are offered individualized attention in a unique curriculum that fosters community, builds habits of life-long learning, and introduces research in the very first Biology course.

Program Benefits

  • Take your first three semesters of Biology courses with other Jurica Scholars in small classes of less than 20 students.
  • Conduct research projects with professors as part of your coursework from the first semester onward.
  • Explore other biology topics by taking elective courses for Honors designation.
  • Serve as a peer teaching assistant for freshman courses.
  • Meet visiting scientists as part of our Tuesday night seminar series.
  • Plan and undertake a Capstone project during your last three semesters, finishing with a public presentation.
  • $2,000 Scholarship


This cohort-based program offers both a sense of community and personal accomplishment. Students in the Jurica Scholars program enroll in special sections of first-year biology courses, placing them on an accelerated path to upper-level Biology coursework. Students undertake independent projects to explore content in deeper and more meaningful ways. The program culminates with a Capstone project, presented publicly and evaluated by a faculty review panel.


Jurica Scholars are mentored by our world-class faculty who work on research projects that range from pollination studies in China, to work at the Field Museum, to research in our excellent campus facilities. Students present research at national scientific meetings, and have recently won awards for their research from physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology societies.


Our Benedictine values include service to others. Jurica Scholars pass on their knowledge as classroom or lab learning assistants and peer tutors. Others assist in our nature museum and lead our environmental club. Service fosters a sense of belonging and pride as students give back to their University and community. We invite you to bring your curiosity and commitment to enrich our campus community.

Program Requirements

Jurica Scholars belong to one of two majors - Biology and Health Science. To maintain good standing in the Jurica Scholars Program and receive the Jurica Scholars academic scholarship (currently $2,000/year), students need to:

  • Maintain continuous enrollment in biology or health science.
  • Maintain a 3.3 GPA each semester.
  • Comply with all the rules of the Jurica Scholars Program as set forth in the JSP Handbook.
  • Participate in all cohort classes, including BIOL 198 Principles of Biology, BIOL 199 Principles of Biology Lab, BIOL 297 Honors Organismal Biology, BIOL 250 Genetics, ACCA seminars (BIOL 288),“scholarized” Biology courses, and the Capstone Seminar.
  • Participate in all Jurica Scholars events and activities, including 20 hours/year Benedictine service and two peer mentoring experiences.
  • Adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity and agree to abide by the University Honor Code. Any upheld violations of the Honor Code are subject for immediate dismissal from the Program.

For More Information, Contact:


Robert McCarthy, Ph.D.
Program Director
(630) 829-6577

Jurica Scholars Program Brochure

For a copy of the Jurica Scholars
Program Brochure
Click HERE

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Jurica Scholars
Jurica Scholar Criteria*

  • Students must be incoming Biology Majors or Health Science.
  • 3.75 cumulative GPA.
  • Rigorous course of study in high school, including upper-level math, chemistry, and biology coursework.
  • Composite ACT score of >25 or combined SAT score above 1220 on evidence-based reading and writing and math sections of the Redesigned SAT.
  • Original essay.
  • Positive teacher recommendation
  • The priority deadline for applications is January 15, 2019. We will take rolling applications after that date until the program is full.

*Each application is reviewed by a committee of Biology faculty members and the JSP Director. The Committee and Director look for academic excellence, interest in addressing biological questions, promise as a researcher and/or scholar, and academic integrity. The Committee considers the whole application, particularly in cases where the applicant does not meet one of the above criteria.

BenU Pollination Project at Tiananmen
We promise our students a college experience like no other.
Our students receive an education immersed in traditional Benedictine values. They receive personal attention from faculty who make student learning their priority. They are embraced by a support system that includes academic advisors dedicated to their success. They are guided by career counselors who ensure our students are better prepared to enter the job market. Our students work at Argonne National Laboratory, conduct research in state-of-the-art facilities and assist trained medical surgeons. They are part of a diverse, caring community.

We believe an education should do more than prepare students for work.
An education should prepare students for life.

Jurica Scholars

     College of Science

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William R. Law, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Science

Tonia Rucker, Assistant to the Dean
Email: trucker@ben.edu
Phone: (630) 829-6187
Fax: (630) 829-6186

Dean's Office Hours:
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dean's Office Location:
Birck Hall Room 119