You help Binghamton rise above the rest
Donors ensure student research doesn't have to wait
First-year Research Immersion (FRI) is a program Denise B. Birnbaum ’73 said she would have loved to have experienced as a Binghamton University student.
So, she made a gift to support it, establishing the Denise (Frank) Birnbaum FRI Science Endowment to enhance the program and give students opportunities to conduct hands-on, scientific research right away, during their first year at Binghamton.
With this support, students could receive invaluable summer research grants, travel resources to present at regional and national conferences or critical funding to buy supplies or equipment for their projects, to name some examples.
FRI is special: It empowers first-year students to dive right into igniting their passion for learning and discovery — without having to wait until later in their undergraduate careers or until they’re graduate students to have authentic research experiences alongside top faculty.
Birnbaum’s Binghamton degree is in chemistry. Although she stayed on that path as a graduate student at another university, she said she “felt unwelcome.” “I had professors say, ‘I don’t know why there are women in my class.’” She switched to library science and made a career of it, retiring from the field in 2012.
FRI students recently sent their appreciation to Birnbaum in the form of a Shutterfly “thank-you card shower” that she received in the mail. The interdisciplinary topics of their research stood out, she said.
“I hope more students get the opportunity to participate,” Birnbaum said. “It really seemed to have changed their lives. The students I knew when I was at Binghamton would’ve loved to have done this (FRI) but didn’t have the opportunity.”
Megan Fegley, MAT ’13, PhD ’14, First-year Research Immersion program director —
Students exit our FRI program with so many vital workforce skills, clarification of their future path, valuable connections with faculty and fellow students, and much more. We are so grateful to donors for enabling us to continue providing students with this unique and highly mentored experience.