This renewal application to the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program seeks to continue a partnership between Allan Hancock College (AHC) and California Polytechnic State University (CPSU) to increase the number of underrepresented minority students successfully completing a baccalaureate degree in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. AHC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Hispanic Serving Agricultural College or University in a semi-rural area on the central coast of California and CPSU is the only university within 40 miles of AHC. This program gives Bridges students the academic skills, research experience, and support network necessary for success in these rigorous fields of study. An overarching goal of this renewal application is to implement improvements to better prepare students for careers in research by teaching them to think like scientists. Student development activities are designed to increase students' interest and motivation (engagement), enhance their knowledge and skills (capacity), and provide the resources needed for successful transfer from AHC to CPSU (continuity). The following student development activities will be continued: 1) a Strategies for Success online tutorial that prepares students for content-heavy coursework in science; 2) a monthly topic- focused seminar series with featured guest speakers; 3) an Advanced Human Gross Anatomy lab with CPSU students as teaching assistants; 4) a student-faculty mentoring program; and 5) summer research internships in which Bridges scholars work on original research at CPSU and then present their findings at a fall symposium. Five new student development activities will be developed and implemented: 1) a Research Skills Boot Camp, a rigorous 2-week pre-internship workshop to expose students to basic concepts in research, including the responsible conduct of research; 2) a Peer Scientist program that will match Bridges students with a CPSU peer scientist who will serve as a resource; 3) an enhanced Faculty Mentoring program to disseminate best practices in coaching/mentoring for both AHC and CPSU faculty to foster stronger mentor-mentee relationships between faculty and Bridges students; 4) bimonthly meetings during the summer research internship to foster a sense of inclusivity and pride in the program, to discuss the research they are doing, and to provide a venue for speakers about graduate school and health professions; and 5) establishing a biomedical science student club at AHC. Over the past 5+ years, the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program has strengthened the AHC- CPSU partnership and our joint capacity to remove institutional barriers that have limited the success of underrepresented students pursuing the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
This partnership program between Allan Hancock College and California Polytechnic State University is relevant to public health in that it will increase te number of underrepresented minorities in biomedical and behavioral careers, including research, academic, and clinical fields. It is important to increase minority representation in these fields because they are currently disproportionately underrepresented relative to the population, and because minority scientists are more likely to study topics of particular significance to minority populations, thereby broadening the diversity and scope of biomedical and behavioral inquiry.