The goal of this renewal application is to support a new Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at UCLA. The ultimate goal of the UCLA Bridges Program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented minority (URM) groups who successfully transfer to UCLA, complete their baccalaureate degrees in the sciences, and pursue more advanced degrees in biomedical sciences. UCLA has partnered with three community colleges (Los Angeles Pierce College, Los Angeles Valley College, and Santa Monica College). At these community colleges, we plan to increase the average number of URM applications to UCLA with life science majors by 50% and the number of URM transfers to UCLA with life science majors from 3 to 15 per year by the end of the grant period. We propose to accomplish our goal by (1) facilitating the development of critical thinking and effective study skills that will assist Bridges students in achieving successful admission to UCLA and other four-year baccalaureate institutions;(2) encouraging and preparing Bridges students for undergraduate research;(3) increasing the likelihood that Bridges students will stay in science majors;(4) fostering Bridges students'interest in and commitment to preparing for careers in research and teaching in the biomedical sciences;and (5) creating a sense of identity, collaboration, community, and intellectual confidence among Bridges students. The first year of the program will offer a Pathway to Biomedical Sciences (PBS) seminar course at each CC partner that provides an intensive year-long course committed to promoting academic excellence and professional development and teaching effective study skills. The program will also offer workshops and tutoring to supplement learning in science courses. In the summer following the first year PBS I course, 24 Bridges "Fellows" will participate in a 6-week Bridges Sciences Enrichment Program (BriSEP) that prepares students for advanced science coursework and undergraduate research. During year 2 of the program, Bridges Fellows will participate in a second year PBS II course that will have journal club, writing workshops, an advanced biotechnology course, research talks by UCLA faculty and invited speakers, one-on- one academic counseling, assistance with the UCLA transfer application, tours of UCLA science facilities, and peer mentoring by UCLA students. Bridges students will also participate in the UCLA Transfer Alliance Program. Following PBS II, Bridges Scholars transferring into UCLA will participate in an 8-week Bridges Summer Undergraduate Research Program (BriSURP) designed to engage students early in their academic careers with an intensive introduction to scientific discovery and investigation. Finally, Bridges Scholars will participate in the UCLA Transfer Science Program (TSP), a residential 6-week intensive, academic summer program to prepare students to succeed at UCLA by exposing them to the rigor and demands of academic life in the sciences and to undergraduate programs, services, and learning resources. The new Bridges program should lead to transfer students who are not only familiar with university resources and mentors, but who have developed research and academic competencies preparing them for success in the highly competitive UCLA capstone programs.
We need to train more biomedical research scientists from underrepresented groups at both the national and state levels. Attempts to achieve this goal have been hampered by the low participation of underrepresented minorities in the sciences. In partnership with three nearby community colleges, the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program at UCLA creates a 2-to-3 year plan of well-integrated activities that should lead to increased transfer applications and increased admissions of students into science majors at four-year institutions in general and at UCLA specifically.
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