Freshman Innovation and Research Scholar Training (FIRST) Fellowship

“Nurturing your curiosity from day one”

The Freshman Innovation and Research Scholar Training (FIRST) Fellowship offers an opportunity for select, highly motivated first-year students to participate in original research experiences coupled with a focus on innovation. FIRST fellowship recipients are awarded $1000 stipend, disbursed in two installments, to compensate for their time spent on research.  

FIRST Fellowship Structure

  • In the fall semester, students are required to attend a seminar that introduces them to academic research and provide tools needed to navigate the complex landscape of research. This seminar will be approximately one-hour per week. With respect to proper social distancing procedures, this seminar might be hosted online.
  • During the fall semester, students work to identify a faculty or graduate mentor. Students will work with their mentor to identify a research topic, formulate a hypothesis, and identify research objectives by the end of the semester.
  • In the spring semester, students will participate in up to 4 hours of faculty-mentored research. Depending on the nature of the research and the limitations of the lab, research may be conducted remotely.
  • At the conclusion of spring semester, selected students may receive funding to continue working with the faculty mentor and participate in an innovation workshop.
  • Students conclude their fellowship by presenting their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted at the end of April.



Applications for academic year 2020-2021 open August 7th, 2020 and close September 11th, 2020. (The application deadline was changed from Septemeber 4th, 2020 to September 11th, 2020 in order to give incoming students ample time to apply.) Accepted applicants will be announced by the end of September.

Within the first few weeks of being selected, awarded applicants will begin identifying their mentors and projects of interest.

Upon the announcement, selected students will begin attending the once-a-week required fall seminar. This seminar will take place at a time to be determined and will likely be hosted online via Zoom and Canvas. Presently, the proposed times for the seminar are Tuesday 12pm-1pm or Wednesday 11am-12pm. Even if you are unable to attend either of these times, we still recommend you apply. These proposed times are not yet concrete.

If you have questions, please contact us at

2019 Testimonials

Participating in research as a freshman taught me a lot about topics in my field that may not even be directly covered in class. I was also able to have the opportunity to learn about every step of a research project – from the hands on sampling to addressing issues in lab meetings. Lastly, I found amazing mentors that have helped me significantly throughout my time at Mines!

Sarena Ngyuen
Chemical Engineering, Class of 2022
Dr. Junko Munakata Marr
Project Title: 
Impact of Lanthanides on Wastewater Treatment

The research I conducted as a freshman provided me with a fair bit of learning opportunity; both in concrete skills and more abstract soft skills. […] I learned about a variety of scientific tools such as x-ray synchrotrons and programs like ImageJ, Avizo, and Dragonfly. Additionally, conducting research obligated me to manage my time effectively […] as well as improve my ability to communicate with others professionally.

Olivia Bird
Chemistry, Class of 2022
Prof. Svitlana Pylypenko
Project Title: 
X-ray Tomography of Solid Cell Batteries