For underrepresented and underserved (UR/US) Americans, community college serves as a critical gateway to eventually completing baccalaureate degrees and graduate programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences. Long Beach-area CCs are some of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the nation, and represent an outstanding pool of potential talent upon which to develop professionals and leaders in biomedical and behavioral sciences. California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is also one of the most diverse universities in the nation, and is well recognized for its academic excellence. By partnering with Long Beach City College (LBCC) and Cerritos College (Cerritos), the proposed LB3 Program takes advantage of this special opportunity to pursue mechanisms that are effective in promoting, supporting, and preparing students from UR/US groups to be successful in the key developmental stages between CC and successful attainment of baccalaureate degrees. Using a highly student-oriented and vibrant research environment at CSULB as a center-point, and substantial experience in effective student development programs (including two prior Bridges programs), this partnership's overall objective is to increase the number of UR/US students choosing and successfully completing baccalaureate degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, and to foster their pursuit of related advanced degrees and career goals. The LB3 Program has four specific aims, as follows: (1) Actively recruit and engage LBCC and Cerritos students and their families to provide them essential information about educational pathways and career opportunities within biomedical and behavioral sciences, and facilitate their approach and success in university transfer;(2) Develop research and academic science skills and interests in UR/US students, beginning at the CC level, to enhance their success in transitioning to university and in completing baccalaureate degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences;(3) Strengthen the relationship between the CSULB, Cerritos and LBCC science programs, to improve integration of curricula and training opportunities for students pursuing biomedical and behavioral degree areas, facilitating a more "seamless" transition to the university;(4) Increase the number of UR/US students from LBCC and Cerritos applying and transferring to CSULB or other baccalaureate programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences, and increase their retention and graduation rates. Examples of the activities undertaken to meet the aims include: [a] providing up-dated information and assistance on university admissions and transfer, course requirements and articulation, student services, and educational and career opportunities in biomedical and behavioral sciences;[b] development of a website that enhances outreach to UR/US students and which also disseminates our data and findings from LB3 Program activities and methods;[c] providing funded, in-depth "Summer Research Experience" internships for UR/US students from the CCs that engage them in the excitement of research, opening new horizons;[d] training LB3 students in a variety of scientific and academic skills, from laboratory procedures/methods to responsible conduct of research (RCR), to understanding and evaluating scientific literature, to data analysis and preparation for use in professional science venues, among others;[e] providing close advising and mentorship systems that help students navigate through their degree objectives and which can identify "at risk" students for possible intervention;[f] enhancing broader understanding of biomedical science and career opportunities by inviting family members of LB3 students to visit research laboratories (including using a bilingual format to enhance communication) and by holding biomedical and behavioral research seminars and presentations at the CC campuses;[g] expanding communication and coordination among all three institutions to provide straightforward (seamless) pathways toward baccalaureate degree completion and coordinated student programs. The LB3 Program is acutely aware of the national need for production of scientists who are outstanding and prepared for future challenges, and the additional critical need to develop such human capital that will represent a leadership and technical workforce that reflects the growing diversity of our nation. We recognize Long Beach as an "incubator" in this respect, and the LB3 Program is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of existing strengths, a strategic plan based upon prior findings, and tremendous potential to expand on its successes.
The Long Beach Bridges to the Baccalaureate (LB3) Program addresses the national need to produce outstanding scientists prepared to advance biomedical and behavioral research, and the additional critical need to develop such human capital that will represent a leadership and technical workforce that reflects the growing diversity of our nation. Capitalizing on the highly student-oriented and vibrant research educational environment at California State University, Long Beach, the LB3 Program is a partnership of three of the most culturally and ethnically diverse institutions of higher learning in the nation (includes Cerritos College and Long Beach City College), designed to increase the number of underrepresented and underserved students choosing and successfully completing baccalaureate degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, and to foster their pursuit of related advanced degrees and career goals. We recognize Long Beach as an incubator, highly effective in contributing to this national need, and the LB3 Program is an excellent opportunity to build on proven productivity and enhance the valuable impacts of this partnership.
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