The Freshman Research Institute

In mid-August, freshman Michael DiGiacomo arrived on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus eager to catch a glimpse of what a future in research could look like.

For one week, just before the new school year started, DiGiacomo and 20 other new honors students had the unique opportunity to participate in the Freshman Research Institute. The VCU Honors College program, now in its eighth year, is designed to introduce incoming freshmen to undergraduate research at VCU.

As a student with an undeclared major, DiGiacomo had hoped the Freshman Research Institute could open his eyes to a field of study with fascinating research opportunities.

He got that, and more.

“Before attending the Freshman Research Institute, I really had no concept of how important and simple it is to get involved with research as an undergraduate student,” said DiGiacomo, a native of Stafford, Virginia.

“I now know how integral it is to the educational experience that VCU offers. My favorite part of the institute was definitely seeing all of the facilities the school has to offer. I know many other students do not get to do that in the very beginning of their academic career.”

During the week-long program, DiGiacomo and his fellow students toured the medical campus and visited the Life Sciences laboratories and the da Vinci Center, in addition to field trips around Richmond. Additionally, there were opportunities to visit the Cabell Library, where students learned how to locate scholarly articles.

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