University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Illinois Sesquicentennial College of ACES
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Welcome to the ACES James Scholars Program

Celebrating Our Past — Building Our Future — Together

The University of Illinois established a James Scholar Honors Program in each of its colleges (including ACES) in the fall semester of 1959. Over the past 5-1/2 decades, the ACES James Scholar Honors Program has been opening doors of opportunity and windows of insight for its students through undergraduate research projects, enhanced honors coursework (including an Honors Seminar each spring), special study abroad experiences, the James Scholar Activities and Communications Team (JS-ACT), field trips, writing competitions, and much more. We look forwad to building the future of our Honors Program, the College of ACES -- and our emerging global civilization -- with our exceptional ACES James Scholars!

Meet Dr. Soo-Yeun Lee, the ACES Honors Dean

Dr. Soo-Yeun Lee serves as the Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Honors Programs with the College of ACES Office of Academic Programs. In her administrative role, Dr. Lee oversees programming for James Scholars, the development of a new online journal (i-ACES) and courses in writing for undergraduate research, the ACES Courses & Curricula Committee, the ACES Honors Council, and represents ACES on the campus' General Education Board, the Honors Living and Learning Community Advisory Board, and other campus committees. 

Dr. Lee is an accomplished scholar whose work in the area of Sensory Science within the Food Science discipline has achieved national and international stature, as recognized by the Institute of Food Technologists with the Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Outstanding Research. Dr. Lee’s research focuses on: 1) utilizing innovative sensory methodology to develop health-targeted new product alternatives so as to promote lifelong healthful eating habits; 2) determining the factors that characterize picky eating, and how it relates to the risk of childhood obesity; and 3) identifying strategies to reduce sodium in foods without compromising sensory acceptability.

Dr. Lee is also an exemplary instructor whose teaching has been recognized with the ACES Funk Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the NACTA Teacher Fellow Award, and the NIFA/USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in College and University Regional Teaching Award. She is also an active member of the ACES Academy of Teaching Excellence. Dr. Lee teaches undergraduate and graduate level Sensory Science courses in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the ACES 399: Honors Seminarcourse in the College of ACES.

Dr. Lee lives in Champaign with her husband, Dr. Youngsoo Lee, who also works in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. They have two beautiful children, Jenna and Jaden. They have recently expanded their family to a party of six by adopting two cats, Gigi and Lily.

Dr. Lee can be reached at or during the afternoons in Room 128 Mumford Hall.

Meet Rob Chappell, Assistant to the Honors Dean

Rob Chappell grew up in Edwardsville, Illinois and enrolled at the University of Illinois as a freshman in the fall of 1986. He majored in Latin and obtained his B.A. degree in Classical Philology in May 1991 with Bronze Tablet Honors. He also completed an M.A. degree in Germanic Languages and Literatures at the U of I in May 1996.

Rob began his administrative professional career in May 1997 at the University of Illinois Graduate College, where he ran its Information Office for three years. He has served as the Assistant to the Honors Dean in ACES Academic Programs since April 2000. In addition to supporting ACES James Scholars as they make progress toward their B.S. degrees,  he maintains the Honors Program's websites, produces its publications, and oversees the development of its social media outlets.

With the support of a dozen enthusiastic students, Rob founded the James Scholar Activities and Communications Team (JS-ACT) on February 3, 2006 -- and he has been serving as the club's Advisor ever since.

Rob is an enthusiastic supporter of Japan House, the Center for Children's Books, theSpurlock Museum, and the UI Library Friends. His extracurricular interests include astronomy, medieval studies, the perennial philosophy, and speculative fiction.

He can be reached at and on weekday afternoons in 128 Mumford Hall.