Kansas continues to become more diverse with the influx and increase of Hispanics. Over 25% of Southwest Kansas is Hispanic and the school systems in three of the largest southwest cities are over 70% Hispanic. At Kansas State University we have observed a steady increase in both Hispanics and African-Americans as the percent of college age students who are majority declines and those from under-represented minorities increases. Our previous Bridges program has been very successful in bring Hispanic and African-American community college students to K-State to complete their BS degree. Ten students have receive their BS degrees in 5 years since inception, 8 more are scheduled to graduate this year, and 44 of the students total have transferred to K-State. The partnering community colleges and Kansas State University offers each Bridges student full tuition and fee support to complete their BS degree through Bridges. A culture of change and welcoming has transformed the K-State community from administration to faculty to staff. In the previous awards, we have had 5 community colleges, two from Kansas City and 3 from southwest Kansas. We propose to continue to work with the 3 southwest community colleges to comply with the new program announcement and to build on our greater success with these 3 community colleges. We will continue and enhance some of the building blocks of our previous success: 1) potential Bridges students and their families will visit K-State during the Bridges Open House in April of each year to meet with K-State professor and advisers, Bridges students who have already transferred to K-State, 2) After their first year at the community college, Bridges students will come to K-State and attend a one week intersession class for credit where they will learn about responsible conduct in research, the scientific method, research conducted at K-State, and live in the dormitory to learn about campus life;3) allowing Bridges students to complete an 8 week research internship in the laboratory of a K-State professor after year 2 and prior to matriculating at K-State. In this application we propose two new elements at the community colleges: 1) allow potential Bridges students to be under-graduate assistants to help in the preparation of laboratories to sharpen their lab skills and 2) participate in community research using a cooperative learning based model. All students will be prepared in a rigorous foundation of science, chemistry, and math to help assure their later success at a 4 year institution. When they transfer to K-State, we will continue to facilitate their research experiences by providing them with a stipend to enable them to work as research assistants for 2 years under K-States'Developing Scholars Program and provide them with ongoing academic support. The overall goal is to increase the pool size of Kansas minority students with a BS degree in the biomedical, biobehavioral sciences and long-term to increase the numbers pursuing PhDs or MD-PhDs in the biomedical, biobehavioral sciences.
Kansas State University has successfully developed a Bridges to the Bachelor's degree program over the last 5 years. We propose to work with three southwest Kansas community colleges to develop enrichment activities and research internship experiences to enhance their success to obtain ad BS degree when they transfer. All Bridges students will receive full tuition and fee support by their community colleges and K-State.