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Welcome to CIM²AS! (Cultural Immersion in Monarchs and Milkweeds Advancing Science Education) Heading link

The word “cimas” is a Spanish word that translates to “top” or “peak” in English. It reflects the high goals we want our students to achieve in their education and careers.

CIM²AS provides an opportunity to for students to gain valuable research experience and to experience a curriculum that seeks to make connections between science and culture. By combining teaching, research and meaningful programs developed by UIC’s Latino Cultural Center, we offer students a unique perspective into both their scientific identify and their cultural identity.

The Monarch's Journey Heading link

Every year a remarkable migration occurs for monarch butterflies between the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico to the eastern United States and Canada. The journey, which may be up to 3000-miles, serves as a symbol of migration for many Latinx communities. What drives the monarchs north in the spring, then south in the fall? The answer is survival. Monarchs are dependent on milkweed plants for reproduction, as milkweeds are the only plants they use to lay their eggs and feed their larvae. Their caterpillars are uniquely resistant to a toxin produced by the milkweed plant and by taking up these toxins, they are able to fend off their predators. So monarchs follow the milkweeds each spring and summer, but return to the oyamel fir forests of Michoacán, which provides the ideal conditions for monarchs to survive the winter.

The complex interplay between monarchs and milkweeds is a fascinating story that spans scientific fields ranging from ecology and evolution to biochemistry and physiology. This system provides rich opportunities to weave together scientific and cultural knowledge.

2024 Summer Research Internship Application Now Closed!! Heading link

All participants for the 2024 year have been chosen and we’re excited to introduce them!

Updates from our 2020 Summer Cohort Heading link

  • Veterinary School

    I have been accepted to veterinary school!! Therefore, I am onto the next chapter in my academic career and will be starting Fall 2021. I am extremely excited and feel blessed to be getting that much closer to my career. .. wherever I go, I plan to utilize the experiences I have gained through CIMAS and my own research at UIC, and get involved in research.” – Naomi Esquivel
  • Continuing Research

    “This semester I am continuing to build up math/science prerequisites to help me in my career change to ecology research . . .  Over the fall and winter I continued to volunteer in Dr. Minor’s Urban Ecology Lab and participated in writing a review paper which is currently submitted for publication, I plan to share this work through a poster presentation at an ecology conference this spring!” – Alissa Doucet

  • Covd-19 Research

    “Currently I am participating as a research assistant at UIC’s wastewater lab which is in charge of monitoring wastewater for COVID-19 activity. Here is a link to an article about the lab and what the researchers I help are doing : ” – Prisila Alvarez