A Learning Community for 1st Generation College Students

The BioFirst program is part of a new departmental initiative focused on ensuring the academic success of first generation college students in the first critical year at TAMU.  This student learning community provides service activities for an entire academic year to all first generation college student majors enrolled in the Department of Biology.

BioFirst Faculty Advisors:  Dr. Asha Rao and Dr. Thomas McKnight
BioFirst Staff:  Christine Farris


BIOFIRST is a community of incoming first-generation college freshman in the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University.  This community is supported by Biology faculty and upper-level student peers who are committed to the academic success, professional growth, and personal development of first-generation students.

What We Offer

  • Networking with other first-generation students, faculty, and staff
  • Peer tutoring for Introductory Biology, Chemistry, and Math courses
  • Seminars and group activities
  • Faculty and staff advising
  • Eligibility for Aggie Success Scholarship
  • Social Events


Admissions Criteria

  • Freshman majoring in the Department of Biology (Biology, Microbiology, Molecular & Cell Biology, Zoology majors)
  • Identified by the University as a first-generation college student (neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree in any discipline)
  • Enrolled in BIOL 100 – Horizons in Biology, a 1 credit course
  • Not a member of the Regents’ Scholars program

Retention Criteria

  • Earn a grade of C or better in BIOL 111 – Introductory Biology course in the first semester
  • Maintain a minimum of overall GPR of 2.5  at the end of the first semester
  • Remain in good standing in BIOL 100, and participate in associated events
  • Attend a minimum of 2 tutoring/supplemental instruction (SI) sessions per week (1 for Biology and 1 for Math or Chemistry)
  • Continue in a Department of Biology major in the second semester


BioFirst students are eligible for a scholarship in the amount of $500/semester for a maximum of two semesters (Fall of the admitted year and the following Spring), provided by the Office of the Provost. Students for this Scholarship will be selected by the faculty selection committee.

Scholarship amount will be disbursed in Fall and Spring. However, the amount disbursed in Spring is contingent upon the recipients meeting the retention criteria.


If you have questions about the BioFirst program, emails may be directed to

You may also submit the following inquiry form. Please note, you should only complete this form if:

  • You have been accepted to Texas A&M University for admission in the Fall and you are planning to attend
  • Your intended major is Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Microbiology, or Zoology
  • You meet the University standard to be considered a first-generation college student (neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree)
  • You are not a member of the Regents’ Scholars program
Biofrist mentor speaking with students