BioFIRE Welcomes Class of 2027

BioFIRE’s living-learning program hosts welcome activities to kick off the fall semester

Housed on the sixth floor of Easton Hall on the University of Maryland’s north campus, the BioFIRE living-learning program offers incoming students a home away from home with peers who share their interests in the life sciences. 

Living-learning programs make campus feel smaller, allowing new students to join a built-in community when they enter their first year of college. Students in BioFIRE participate in the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) and pick focus areas (or streams) to concentrate on in the biological and chemical sciences. While they’re embedded in the three-semester FIRE program, students participate in faculty-mentored research experiences.

This year's 62 BioFIRE students joined a strong community of students who take classes, study and live together while engaging in hands-on research and career exploration. 

Kaci Thompson and Na'eem Allen Stills
Credit: Katie Bemb. Click image to download hi-res version.

BioFIRE Program Director Kaci Thompson (left) and graduate assistant Na'eem Allen-Stills (right), along with academic advisor Jennifer Carrion spent the summer preparing for BioFIRE's annual fall retreat, which Thompson says is a "really important part of creating community from the jump."

Parents taking move-in photos
Credit: Katie Bemb. Click image to download hi-res version.

New roommates Betiel Amanuel and Abigiya Ararsa met on the @umd2027 Instagram account and decided to become roommates. Their parents took photos of the two of them as they moved into their room on the sixth floor of Easton Hall. 

Students at BioFIRE welcome dinner
Credit: Ife Iworah. Click image to download hi-res version.

After a long day of moving in, BioFIRE students gathered for dinner in the Nyumburu Cultural Center.

Students in classroom
Credit: Katie Bemb. Click image to download hi-res version.

To kick off the BioFIRE retreat, Thompson led a session introducing students to the structure of the program and explaining the benefits of the FIRE program's emphasis on research. Each of these students will choose a stream, or research focus area, and engage in the process of creating new knowledge.

"Research is important for everybody—it's how we know what we know," Thompson said. "Scientific knowledge accumulates over time, and you all will have the chance to contribute to potentially groundbreaking discoveries."

She shared about the makeup of this year's cohort: 53% are women, 95% are from the state of Maryland and 39% are the first generation in their families to earn a college degree.

Students pose with Testudo in front of McKeldin Library
Credit: Katie Bemb. Click image to download hi-res version.

As part of the retreat, first-year students split into groups for a scavenger hunt to explore campus and take fun group photos at iconic UMD locations—including the Testudo statue in front of McKeldin Library.

Group of students pose on steps outside near McKeldin Mall
Credit: Katie Bemb. Click image to download hi-res version.

Ready to take on a new semester, this BioFIRE cohort will now begin exploring strategies for a successful transition to college and career options for biological sciences, biochemistry, chemistry and neuroscience majors.

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and six interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.