We attend Paul College to become the best professional representatives of UNH we can be. To help us achieve these results, a team from Paul College put together the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience Program, also known as FIRE. They conceived FIRE as a comprehensive program to proactively shape students to achieve the highest levels of success in their college and professional careers. Although in its first year of existence, FIRE is already providing first year students with extensive, valuable opportunities.
FIRE is an expansion of the peer advising program which helps address impending gaps in school and social curriculum, with focus on the transition from high school to college, time management, study skills and more. The experience includes key components of points, class time, and research. The system of points and prizes is used to encourage Paul freshmen to get involved on campus. Classes with qualified upperclassmen peer advisors teach us essential academic and professional skills. And finally, a competitive project called, “The Grand Challenge” introduces us to UNH as a research institution. By gaining this widespread exposure through FIRE our freshman class is made significantly stronger.
FIRE improves our individual brand by heightening the professional identity of our entire Paul graduating class. When you get out into the real world and someone sees Paul College-UNH, you want them to think you are one of many intelligent and qualified individuals. But this only holds true if every UNH student achieves this high standard. As one of 670 Paul freshmen you could get lost and underachieve. This would affect all of us negatively. This program makes us 670 strong because we are only as successful as our weakest representative. A better student body reflects well on our school and makes our degrees worth more. We all have to take advantage of FIRE to achieve these results.
FIRE is essentially an awareness program. We are learning, hands on, all of the skills we need to be successful students and therefore successful professionals. We’re taught about UNH so we can utilize our resources. We are motivated to get involved to access every opportunity. Most importantly, we focus on professional and personal development so we can excel beyond schooling. FIRE is valuable. The Paul freshmen class is given incredible opportunities through it. I’m here to absorb what I can to be a better student for Paul and I hope my classmates can develop in the same way.
About Kate Aiken:
Kate Aiken is an ambitious first-year student at the University of New Hampshire where she studies Business Administration. Aiken completed her education at Manchester Central High School in the top fifth percent of her class as a New Hampshire scholar and received the prestigious Mayor’s Award upon her graduation. After an extensive high school career in DECA, she boasts several leadership and competitive awards for her business and professional skills. Kate also served as managing editor of the Little Green school newspaper and chaired the Manchester Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.
Kate presently serves as CEO of Project PLAY NH, a non-profit organization she help found that sponsors children to play sports in Manchester, NH. Aiken attributes her success to and continues to support Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership as a seminar speaker and facilitator. In college, she enjoys being a part of the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi where she serves on her class executive board.