The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) offers first year students the opportunity to initiate and engage in authentic research experiences with faculty and graduate students in areas such as chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, molecular biology and computer science.
FRI spans three semesters of integrated coursework and laboratory research in newly renovated, dedicated research labs. Students move through the program in cohorts of about 30. Students emerging from FRI have experience with experimental techniques, lab work, and a deep understanding of the scientific process and sometimes publications.
Students are ideally situated to
- Join a research group for the rest of their time as undergraduates
- Find a job
- Get into graduate school
- Have a lifelong career in the sciences
- More than 800 freshmen are recruited each year to participate (including 50% women and 50% underrepresented groups)
- The core of this program is a year-long, potentially publishable research project working on faculty research that fulfills degree requirements for the student.
- Students are members of a 30-student cohort – a Research Stream – in which they conduct independent, but parallel projects under the guidance of faculty, graduate students and peer mentors.
- FRI students learn techniques as a team, but have their own independent projects with the potential to publish their work.
- Since 2005, FRI has involved more than 2000 freshmen in faculty research in biology, biochemistry, mathematics, physics, textiles & apparel, chemistry, computer science and astronomy.
Students who do research through FRI
Do better in school
- Higher overall GPAs, even among students less well prepared for college
- Higher GPAs than their peers in advanced science courses in their major
Stay in college and graduate
- 35% higher graduation rate
- 30–35% higher retention among all FRI participants
- 43–51% higher retention among Hispanic FRI students
Go on to graduate degrees
- 32% of students who entered FRI in 2006 went to graduate school, compared to 9% college-wide
- 3 fold increase in graduates pursuing PhD, MD/PhDs and MPH degrees