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