First Year Research Experience. Photos of students presenting their research posters to peers and faculty


Contact Us About FYRE

Martha Weber
Coordinator of Undergraduate Research
King Library Suite 122

First Year Research Experience (FYRE) Program

The FYRE program provides students with authentic, hands-on research experiences in small teams led by research-active faculty during a two-semester course sequence. Student researchers review their topic, design a study, and complete necessary training during the fall semester; they implement the study, analyze data, and present the results in the spring. This experience prepares students early for subsequent research opportunities such as  summer research positions across the nation and independent research supervised by Miami faculty.  REQUIRES BOTH UNV 171 (fall semester), UNV 172 (spring semester)

Residence Life offers a FYRE Living Learning Community (LLC) as an option for students to engage in a close community of learners outside the classroom.  students living in the FYRE-LLC must select one of these three two-semester course sequences offered for academic year 2018-2019. 

FYRE Application Deadline Open through Sep 5, 2018 for either UNV171D or UNV171E.


UNV 171D Computational Text Analysis and Digital Media

Course Instructor: Collin Jennings, department of English

Course Meeting Dates/Times: 
BAC 154 [Tuesdays] 11:40-12:35  UPH 209 [Wednesdays] 12:10-2pm
Enrollment is open to students of all majors.  

Course Description: How does Amazon know what books to recommend you? How does Google return accurate search results? How are websites always presenting advertisements that seem uniquely suited to you? The algorithms of digital media have transformed the way we relate to language in our everyday lives. This course will pair insights into how language operates across contexts from literary studies with new research methods from the burgeoning field of natural language processing. Students will learn the fundamentals of computer programming in the Python language as well as literary critical approaches to language. As students master computational techniques of text analysis, they will produce innovative, collaborative research projects that examine the relationship between language and digital media.

UNV 171E Museum exhibits: From concept to creation

Course Instructor: Steve Sullivan, Hefner Museum Director  [ Meeting Day/Time: TBD]
Enrollment is open to students of all majors.  

Course Description: 
Are you a creative student who wants to apply your skills in a scientific way?  Perhaps you are a technical person looking for ways to communicate complex ideas to broad audiences.  Do you love learning, creating, and story-telling?  Diversity like this is necessary to create museum exhibits that engage and promote learning by people of all backgrounds.  Our team of passionate students will learn how to distill research and write for different audiences, develop prototypes, adapt exhibit components for people of all abilities, and quantitatively test products.  Then, we will create graphics, interactives, and other specialty components, and install the exhibit. 

UNV 171A Effects of stress on human behavior

Course Instructor: Joseph G. Johnson, department of Psychology

Course Meeting Dates/Times: 
Psychology building room 227  [Mondays and Wednesdays 9-9:55am]
Enrollment is open to students of all majors.  Suggested Majors: PSY, KNH, Pre-Med, University Studies

Course Description: Across many situations we are required to perform any number of tasks under stress or pressure. Why do individuals respond to stressors in different ways? Why are some tasks affected more than others? What are the physiological and psychological processes underlying these stress responses? Students in this research track will answer these questions by designing and conducting their own behavioral studies with the opportunity to include physiological measures such as eye-tracking, electrocardiogram, skin conductance, and cortisol assays.

Who Can Participate?

FYRE Program invites first year students in any department or major to apply. Students who join MUST agree to a year-long commitment which includes UNV 171 in the fall semester (2 cr.) and UNV 172 in the spring (2 cr.) FYRE Research Track (RT) project themes vary by semester depending on the faculty involved and the resources available. As part of these courses, students are expected to dedicate 2-4 additional hours per week to their faculty-mentored team research projects. 

What is Expected of FYRE Students?

  • FYRE students must enroll in UNV 171 (fall) or UNV 172 (spring) and meet together twice a week in a 2-credit hour course. The weekly seminar meeting introduces the students to concepts necessary to conduct undergraduate research (e.g., research design and analysis), whereas the weekly team project meetings allow students to apply these concepts to their own projects (e.g. designing their own study and analyzing the data they collect.
  • Depending on the nature of the research project, students will need to contribute to their team-based projects outside of their weekly meeting times. This might involve library research, writing, development or preparation of project materials, data collection, data analysis, or other relevant tasks. 

What Does a Typical FYRE Research Track look like?

FYRE Research Tracks are conducted by a combination of faculty, graduate assistants, and peer mentors. Students thus benefit from a constant, open line of communication with both faculty and students. Furthermore, students are not simply engaged in prescribed research experiences, but rather play a central and equal part with faculty and graduate students in developing and implementing the research projects.

The faculty lead is responsible for developing the overall theme of the RT, providing project guidance, and leading the weekly seminar meeting. During these meetings, students are introduced to the general nature of the research enterprise as well as the basic concepts necessary to conduct research in the discipline of the RT. For example, students might learn the difference between an independent variable and a dependent variable.

The graduate assistant is responsible for supervising the weekly project team meetings, where FYRE students work in teams to apply the basic concepts introduced in the seminar to their own research projects. For example, students might determine what the independent and dependent variables will be for their project, and how they will be measured. A peer mentor with extensive undergraduate research experience is assigned to each student team to assist in all aspects of project development.

It is common for representatives from other university offices (e.g. University Libraries, Howe Writing Center) to contribute to instruction in UNV 171 and UNV 172. Additionally, there are several workshops, colloquia, and other professional development opportunities that are offered, some of which are exclusive to FYRE students.

Why Join the First Year Research Experience Program?

  • Develop important skills
    • Learn new techniques, analytic methods & communication and professional skills
    • Attend monthly colloquiums on research-based careers or a departmental seminar in any discipline
  • Break new ground
    • Work with your peers in small teams, directly with faculty on their current cutting edge research project
    • Incorporate the framework of research and inquiry into your college experience
  • Forge lasting relationships - build academic and social mentoring relationships
    • Get to know your professors outside of the classroom for sustained interaction over your college career (and beyond)
  • Present and publish as a student
    • Support for travel to present research at national conferences and possibly co-author with faculty mentors on papers in academic journals
    • Students can get involved in enriching educational opportunities, such as workshops, trainings, and field trips