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Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community

Meet the Discovery Scholars

Tristen Hafner-Eaton

Tristen Hafner-Eaton
Major: Chemical Engineering


Where did you go to high school?

Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland.

When and why did you decide you wanted to attend UMBC?

I decided I wanted to go to UMBC when my mom and I were looking for the best college in the area. During that Junior year of high school, I mostly wanted to find a place that would fit my introverted personality while also satisfying a need for a scientific community. UMBC was just the perfect fit for me.

Share one tip you wish you had known before you started your first year at UMBC?

Always know how to operate the given systems for classes, such as Learnsmart, and Connect. Learning how to use these systems early on will save you some hassle in later classes.

How did you hear about the Discovery Scholars Living Learning Community (DS LLC)?

While looking for housing opportunities, I found out about certain communities of people based on what they did and who they were, and the idea intrigued me. I prefer living with the kinds of people who are most like me, and LLC set me up with a group of people that feel like a second family.

Why did you decide to participate in the DS LLC?

I saw it as an opportunity to ease my transition from high school to college, but I later found it to be something that I had an emotional attachment to, and wanted to continue.

Did you know anyone else in Discovery Scholars when you started? Have you made friends through the program?

I knew of one person, whom I went to high school with, though we never really had much interest in talking, and did not start there. However, I did make friends with more than half of the floor, and the best of them are the ones who are going along with me to become peer mentors.

What was the most interesting thing that happened during your first year at UMBC?

The most interesting thing for me, though it may seem a little dull for others, was finding out just how much I had in common with everyone else. I don’t really go to any parties (I’m just not into that scene), so I consider the more interesting things in life to be found in people themselves, and not so much in what they do. The countless amounts of things that I have in common with the people in the LLC, as well as in general on the UMBC campus, has led me to believe with an absolute certainty, that if a student is looking to find people to connect with, Discovery Scholars will find them for you.

What was your favorite part of being part of Discovery Scholars?

Being part of a community, in which we were all heading towards one major objective, while we all had different conditions and situations that we started from. The numerous experiences we have all had gave me and others the wisdom and knowledge of what to do and when to do it, so in a way, us being together, helped others and me achieve more than we had intended.

In what ways did the DS LLC experience help you at UMBC?

I kind of answered this one in the last question, but it helped me by getting me in a community of people who know their stuff, even though no one person knows everything. And it was that community that helped keep me motivated, happy, supported, and, at times around finals, sane.

Would you recommend DS LLC to other new UMBC students?

Yes, but there is an important component to being in DS, you have to care about one another. This is crucial to being a productive member of the LLC, and I hope that anyone who joins it has a natural inclination for the care of others.

Tell us a few interesting things about yourself…?

  • I’ve lived all over the country, so I have a lot of stories to tell about traveling and living in different states, plus out of the country itself.
  • I used to speak Spanish when I was younger, so I’m up for any conversation that could help me bring some of it back.
  • I have a number of hobbies/interests like wood carving, archery, piano, politics, music history, art history, and anatomy, so feel free to strike up a conversation concerning anything like that.
  • I love drawing, and going to play pool at the gameroom.
    Movies, movies, movies. Love the plots, production, and trivia. I’m all about ‘em.
  • I am pretty interested in anything having to do with media or music. I have a taste for any genre out there (except maybe Insane Clown Posse’s music. Sorry Juggalos).