FYRE Pre-Orientation Program

FYRE aims to provide first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented first-year students with the resources and community to feel supported, celebrated, and ready to take ownership of your Harvard experience.
 

fyre students

Why start Harvard with FYRE?

The First-Year Retreat and Experience Program (FYRE) strives to bolster the strengths and skills you already have and complement them with the confidence and community needed to kickstart your Harvard experience. Throughout FYRE, you will connect with faculty, staff members and administrators, and upper level student leaders who will welcome you and help you become more familiar with the many college resources and offices available to support you throughout every step of your educational experience. 

At FYRE, you will join a tight-knit community of 100 other first-years and 20 Team Leaders who will become a key part of your support network on campus. Each and every activity and event at FYRE is designed to help you understand how to navigate your Harvard experience, including topics such as academics, financial aid, social life, health and wellbeing, networking, work study, and other on-campus opportunities. 

We hope to provide students with a genuinely positive and supportive community that allows first-years the space to ask any and all questions related to transitioning to Harvard. The FYRE community strives to provide a strong base of support for each of our students well beyond our pre-orientation program.

What's included in the program?

This year, we will provide a completely virtual and extended FYRE Program experience. To accommodate students’ schedules and time zones, we will hold a two-week program with 4-5 sessions per week starting on Monday, August 3, 2020 and ending on Friday, August 14, 2020. We plan on making our remote programming accessible to all participants and will work to support students who may have technology difficulties or limited internet access. Participants can indicate any accessibility needs via the Pre-Orientation registration form.

During FYRE, students will get to participate in workshops and presentations from student support offices (like the Office of Career Services and the Academic Resource Center) to learn about how they specifically support first generation, low income, and underrepresented (FGLI/U) students. You’ll get to hear from and talk with professors from a variety of disciplines at Harvard. In addition, our twenty amazing FYRE Team Leaders will run panels about academics, finances, and social life at Harvard, and host an empowering open mic session about challenges and resilience at Harvard. 

Lastly, the core of our program, which makes FYRE so special, is the community. All FYRE students will be placed into FYRE families — a tight-knit group of 10 students led by 2 Team Leaders, which will be your home base throughout the program. You’ll get to know your families personally through small-group reflections, fun activities, and direct mentorship from your Team Leaders. Throughout the program, you’ll also get to know the other students and the rest of the Team Leaders through community mixers and evening activities. Team Leaders will host virtual Office Hours each day of the program for students to ask questions and speak individually with the Team Leaders. We hope that by the end of our program you will feel equipped, empowered, and excited about starting your Harvard educational experience. 

Who is eligible?

FYRE is a pre-orientation program geared towards students who are the first-generation in their families to go to college, students who are from low to modest income backgrounds, and students whose high schools are under-represented in the Ivy League. In partnership with the staff from the Office of Diversity Education & Support, our FYRE co-chairs and 20 FYRE Team Leaders will welcome 100 incoming first-year students into the Harvard community and help them prepare to transition into college life.

FYRE will leverage the incredible diversity of experiences found among the student community at Harvard, and we are excited to welcome you to our community on campus. Whatever your background, you are eligible to attend this program and we hope you will consider participating. Harvard is full of amazing resources for you to use to your advantage and we want to show you how!

Can I Attend FYRE and Another Pre-Orientation Program?

The majority of incoming Harvard students choose to participate in pre-orientation to build a social support network before the year begins. Descriptions of all Pre-Orientation programs are included in your admission packet and online. All pre- orientation programs occur simultaneously, and therefore participation is limited to one program.

How do I apply?

Registration for all pre-orientation programs begins on Monday, July 6, and closes on Wednesday, July 15. You may rank order up to two programs of interest. On Friday, July 17, you will be notified of your program placement, and you have until Monday, July 20 to confirm your spot in the program. Pre-orientation programs are free for the Class of 2024.

Access the Pre-Orientation Application

Connect with our Community!

The best thing about Harvard is its people—the students, faculty, staff, and alums who make living and studying at this institution so remarkable. Everyone here is unique, with their own stories, interests, and talents. You are unique, too!

You have special qualities and characteristics that make you perfect for Harvard. We really hope you choose to come here. As you’re thinking about joining this community you may want to connect with some of the folks who will soon become your peers, mentors, and friends throughout your first-year at Harvard.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, all under @HarvardFYRE.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about FYRE, please email our FYRE Co-Chairs at harvardfyre@gmail.com or our FYRE Director at fyre@fas.harvard.edu, or call the First-Year Experience Office at 617-495-1574.

Staff

Co-Chairs

Nadya's portrait

Nadya Nfaoui (she/her/hers) 

nadyanfaoui@college.harvard.edu 

Hi! My name is Nadya Nfaoui and I am a rising Junior concentrating in History of Science on the Mind Brain and Behavior Track. I’m a first-generation, low-income Moroccan who has spent most of my life in the Mile High City (Colorado reppin’!!). On campus, I am involved in the Society of Arab Students, the Harvard Foundation and FYRE! FYRE is my life *In the Vine Chipotle Boy Voice.* My weaknesses are dark chocolate, iced coffee and true crime documentaries. If you wanna know where to find the best coffee in the square, know more about navigating and adjusting to Harvard or just want a friend coming into college please reach out! [Please reach out, I swear I'm funny :)]

Dani's portrait

Dani Pérez (they/them/theirs) 

adperez@college.harvard.edu 

Hello amazing FYRE family! My name is Dani, and I study History and Literature and Art, Film, and Visual Studies— it's a mouthful, but I focus mainly on photography and Latinx studies. My family and I are from Valencia, Venezuela, but I grew up in a Minnesotan town with 983 people. On campus, I spend most of my time taking pictures, watching movies and TV shows, making really specific Spotify playlists, teaching theatre to elementary students through a PBHA program called STAGE, working at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, crying about cute animals, spending time with the queer community, and gushing with Nadya about how much we love FYRE.

Steering Committee

James's portrait

James Garavito (he/they)

jamesgaravito@college.harvard.edu

Hi everyone! I'm a rising junior at the college from Dover, New Jersey concentrating in Neuroscience with a secondary in Art, Film, and Visual Studies. On campus I am involved in the beautiful FYRE community, Colombian Students Association (COLSA), Indigo Peer Counseling, and the Harvard Radio Station (WHRB Jazz Department). I like to journal, cook, watch Netflix, discover new music, decorate my room, and build community. Some of my favorite artists include Bad Bunny, Solange, Lorde, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, and Kali Uchis. So excited to welcome everyone into this family!

Aisha's portrait

Aisha Abdelhamid (she/her/hers)

aishaabdelhamid@college.harvard.edu

Hey everyone!! My name's Aisha (Ayyy-shah) and I'm an Egyptian from Long Island, NY. I am currently undeclared but I will probably concentrate in History and Science (with a focus in Social Psychology) or Psychology with a secondary (i.e. minor) in Educational Studies and a citation in Arabic! At Harvard, I'm involved in PBHA (volunteering organization), the Society of Arab Students, Harvard Islamic Society, and Palestine Solidarity Committee. I would say that 80% of my language is from vine and 90% of my music is from the early 2010s! I can't wait to meet you all :)

Haeyun's portrait

Haeyun Lee (she/her/hers)

hlee5@college.harvard.edu

I'm a senior in Winthrop House studying Neuroscience. I am from Houston, TX, but I was born in Chuncheon, South Korea. On campus I am involved with the Advanced Leadership Initiative, Primus, and Women in Computer Science, and I am also a coxswain on the Men's Heavyweight Rowing Team. I work term-time at the Office of Career Services, and I also take jazz piano lessons in Boston at Berklee. I have studied abroad through the Harvard Summer School in Trento, Italy, and I will be working this summer as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at J.P. Morgan.

Birukti's portrait

Birukti Tsige (she/her/hers)

btisge@college.harvard.edu

Hiya! I'm a first-year from Malden, Mass intending to concentrate in Neuroscience. On campus, I'm involved several cultural groups including African Student Association, dance groups *the ones with no tryouts who accept all*, volunteering at a student-run homeless shelter and I travel to my church where I direct the choir and teach Sunday Class. In my free time, I write on Wattpad, listen to sad folksy music, and say "butt" to my baby sister to make her laugh. Contact me for anyyything at btsige@college.harvard.edu (I check my email obsessively and I'm currently working to curb that addiction).

Team Leaders

Abraham's portrait

Abraham Castañeda (he/him/his)

abraham_castaneda@college.harvard.edu

Hi! My name is Abraham Castañeda and I’m a rising Junior in Leverett House concentrating in neurobiology (also a premed lol). I’m from Bakersfield, California but both of my parents originate from Jalisco, Mexico so I love spending my summers there. I’m first-gen, low income, and Latino so I’ve had a great time being involved in Primus and Latinx organizations at the College. Aside from that I’m also a Peer Advising Fellow for first-years. My hobbies include playing sports, video games, board games, and watching the Dodgers choke in the World Series annually. But seriously, if it weren't for the quarantine, this year would’ve been ours #WestCoastBestCoast. I love meeting new people and I’m an open book, so please feel free to reach out to me about absolutely anything!

 

Adelson's portrait

Adelson Aguasvivas (he/him/his)

aaguasvivas@college.harvard.edu

Hello Everyone!!! My name is Adelson Aguasvivas. I am a senior in Pforzheimer House concentrating in computer science with a secondary in ethnicity, migration and rights. I was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Newburgh, New York when I was ten. I am a first-generation low-income student and I come from a Black and Indigenous (Taino) background. While at Harvard, I have spent my time being involved in the Black and Latinx communities, as I have been Vice President of Technology and founder of Latinxs in Finance and Technology and Vice President of the Dominican Student Association. I love coding, music (Drake, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Jhene Aiko, Lil Uzi, Frank Ocean...), basketball (Lebron James, that is all), video games and shoes! Hit me up if you are interested in CS, music, basketball, being first-gen at Harvard, or anything else :-)

Alyx's portrait
Alyx Britton (they/them/theirs)

alyssabritton@college.harvard.edu

Hi!! I'm Alyx, a rising senior in Leverett House earning a joint concentration in Environmental Science & Public Policy and Studies of Women, Gender, & Sexuality. I'm a first-generation, low-income, queer, and nonbinary student, and I've worked with multiple on-campus organizations to advocate for women, LGBTQIA+ folks, and first-generation and/or low-income students. Outside of my roles as a student and activist, my passions are my plants (19 and counting!!) and my ever-growing collection of teas (incalculable). In my free time, you can catch me writing, working on one of my many unfinished pieces of artwork, making oddly specific Spotify playlists, taking non-credit dance classes, or rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender for the millionth time.

Claire's portrait

Claire Hoffman (she/her/hers)

clairehoffman@college.harvard.edu

Hi! I'm Claire and I'm a senior in Leverett House from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I study Neuroscience with an English Secondary, and I'm also pre-med and applying to med school right now! On campus, I'm on the Cheerleading Team, I write for Flyby Blog, and I volunteer with Project Sunshine as well as a few other things. Outside of that, I love coffee, Grey's Anatomy, and music - I'd love to chat so feel free to reach out!
 

 

 

 

Lisette's portrait

Lisette León (she/her/hers)

lisetteleon@college.harvard.edu

Hi everyone! My name is Lisette León and I am going to be a senior studying Government with a secondary in Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights. I grew up in Los Angeles (ish) and my family is from Jalisco, Mexico. I hope to one day become an immigration lawyer. During quarantine, I'm spending most of my time learning how to run and playing Animal Crossing! I've had a couple of different jobs on campus but my favorites have been working as an intern at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and as an Undergraduate Pedagogy Fellow at the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. In the past, I've been on board for quite a few Latinx orgs so you can ask me about any of them, and I've been involved with some at the Institute of Politics as well. I love trying different restaurants in Boston or playing mario kart with my friends. I also love listening to music so tell me some artists you like and I might make you a playlist <3!!

Sammie's portrait

Sammantha Garcia (she/her/hers)

sammanthagarcia@college.harvard.edu

Hi y'all!!! I am a rising junior (and returning FYRE TL!) studying Sociology and Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights. I have been involved in severalllll avenues at Harvard, but I am currently the Vice-President of Latinas Unidas and Social Chair of Act on a Dream. Although I am lowkey on my way to retirement, I consistently hold 2 jobs on campus while running between the library, dining hall, and the gym. If you have any questions about running an entire conference as a sophomore (subtle flex!), listening to Frank Ocean, or liking makeup a lil too much, plz reach out <3

Vi's portrait

Vi Weeks (she/her/hers)

ogweeks@college.harvard.edu

Hi everyone! I’m a rising Junior from rural southern Illinois. I concentrate in Social Studies and I speak Russian (poorly). I love country music, The Ezra Klein Show, and women’s memoirs. On campus I’m involved with the political consulting group and the radio station and I tutor at a local youth detention center.

aaron

Aaron Shirley (he/him/his)

aaronshirley@college.harvard.edu

What's up y'all my name is Aaron, I'm from Chesapeake, Virginia and I'm a sophomore living in Quincy House. I stay out of trouble on campus by hurdling and sprinting for the varsity track team (#GoCrimson), researching at the Radcliffe Institute, co-directing the Deaf Awareness Club and napping during any free-time I have! I'm a pre-med student planning to concentrate in History and Science with a citation in American Sign Language. I'm too indecisive to have a favorite color, but I do know my favorite food is lasagna and although I'm nearly 20 years old, I still hate raisins.

Alondra's portrait

Alondra Ponce (she/her/hers)

aponce@college.harvard.edu

Hello lovely people :) I'm from Palm Springs, CA and I'm a junior studying neuroscience with a secondary in Latinx studies. I've been involved in a number of different activities throughout my three years, but I am currently heavily involved in organizing for ethnic studies through the Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition (HESC). I am almost always listening to music, so if you have any recs, please hit me up! Current quarantine mood has been either Miles Davis or Ms. Nina. I have a dog named Wilfred who I can guarantee is the cutest dog you will ever see. I will die on this hill! He is my life!!

Avery's portrait

Avery Robinson (he/him/his)

averyrobinson@college.harvard.edu

HEY Y'ALL! My name is Avery Robinson and I am so excited to be one of your FYRE TLs! I grew up in Tampa, Florida and Grand Rapids, Michigan. I love dancing, playing pick up sports games, and trying new food. On campus I am currently the Public Service chair for the Black Men's Forum and the co-captain of my dance team, Omo Naija. I am undecided, but I am really interested in social innovation and entrepreneurship. Once we are back on campus, I am always down to go do something so hit me up whenever. But for now feel free to reach out to me about anything :) Hope to meet all of you soon!

Celine's portrait

Celine Cuadra (they/them/theirs, she/her/hers)

celinecuadra@college.harvard.edu

Hey y’all! I’m Celine and I’m a sophomore at Mather House, concentrating in both History and Literature as well as Art, Film and Visual Studies. I’m from Los Angeles, California and am  involved in various latinx and first-generation organizations on campus, including serving as a board member for LEAD (the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference) as well as Primus, established in 2013 as the First Generation Student Union. I’m a student worker at Houghton Library as well as an organizer with SLAM (Student Labor Action Movement, like us on facebook!). All I know is speak Romance Languages, make Art, drink boba milk tea, charge her phone, twerk, be bisexual, eat hot chip and lie.

Dumebi's portrait

Dumebi Adigwe (she/her/hers)

dadigwe@college.harvard.edu

Hi! I'm Dumebi Adigwe and I'm from Howard County, Maryland. I'm planning on concentrating in Applied Math and Economics and probably going into finance after graduation. On campus I participate in Consulting on Business and the Environment (CBE), HU Women in Business (WIB), BLK Capital Management, Club Lacrosse, and the Nigerian Student Association (NSA). Uhhh I've watched nearly every interesting tv show that exists but I don't really like movies, oh and sushi is my fave food.

Esther

Esther Xiang (she/her/hers)

estherxiang@college.harvard.edu

HELLO FYRE BBS !!! I've moved around the world but Harvard = home <3 I’m hoping to concentrate in Social Studies and Global Health and Health Policy. I LOVE meeting new people and I’m on a mission to connect with those around me! On campus, I’m also involved with the Undergraduate Council, Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations, Harvard Undergraduate Capital Partners, and the Franklin Fellowship. In my free time, I love to learn norwegian, go on spontaneous trips, film Youtube videos, and watch Korean dramas!!

Jessica

Jessica Dias-Jayasinghe (she/her/hers)

jdiasjayasinghe@college.harvard.edu

Hi y'all! I'm from Bentonville, Arkansas, but I was born in Australia, and I'm from Sri Lanka. I am a proud Winthrop resident in the Class of 2022, concentrating in Government with a secondary in Psychology. My hobbies include reading, hiking, and annoying my pets to death  (THEY'RE SO CUTE OF COURSE I WANT TO PET THEM ALL THE TIME!)

Julia's portrait

Julia Welsh (she/her/hers)

jwelsh@college.harvard.edu

Hey FYREflies! I'm Julia, a rising sophomore in Quincy House. I'm from Philadelphia, where I attended a performing arts high school as a violinist. Apart from my love for music, I am very passionate about health equity. I plan to study Neuroscience and Global Health & Health Policy before becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN). My hobbies include listening to a wide range of music styles, wasting time on TikTok, and fueling my body exclusively with bubble tea.

Oswaldo's portrait

Oswaldo Ambrosio (he/him/his)

oswaldoambrosio@college.harvard.edu

Hey everyone! I’m Oswaldo and I’m a sophomore who was born in a tiny town in Mexico and raised in a tiny town in Iowa. I’m studying History with a secondary in Government. Outside of the QuOffice, I’m involved with the Harvard Dems, Act on a Dream, and various Latinx and queer orgs!