The University of California, Riverside Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program has received the 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest publication in higher education addressing diversity and inclusion.
The award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.
UCR was selected for the award because it provides support to help students make transitions at a critical stage in their development as scientists, namely, from two-year junior or community colleges to full four-year baccalaureate programs. At all stages of public education, many underrepresented minority students have less access to high-quality science instruction, resources and enrichment opportunities.
Last year, UCR and Riverside City College, or RCC, received a grant of $816,000 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to help facilitate the transfer of RCC students into STEM majors, with the ultimate goal of increasing participation of underrepresented minority groups in research-oriented careers.
The five-year grant launched the Riverside Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, a new partnership between UC Riverside and RCC - both federally designated Hispanic Serving Institutions. Byron Ford, a professor of biomedical sciences in the UCR School of Medicine, is the grant's principal investigator. Wolde-Ab Isaac, chancellor of the Riverside Community College District, is the grant's co-principal investigator.
The Riverside Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program identifies students who are committed to pursuing a career in science and facilitates their transfer and successful completion of baccalaureate degrees in STEM majors. Program elements include enrichment opportunities, research experience, and support for RCC students in collaboration with existing pipeline programs at UCR.
"We are very honored to receive this prestigious award as an INSIGHT Into Diversity Inspiring Program. It is testimony to the mission and genuine commitment of the Riverside Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, UCR School of Medicine, and Riverside City College to increase the diversity of the scientific workforce," Ford said.
Seventy-eight award winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives. All the winners will be announced in the September issue of the magazine.
"We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond," said Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
The Riverside Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is responsive to UC system-wide efforts to streamline and strengthen the transfer process for students coming to UC from the state's public community colleges.
The University of California, Riverside)is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment is now nearly 23,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.