|What is the "Bridges" Program?
DESCRIPTION OF THE BRIDGES TO
THE FUTURE PROGRAM AT NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY:
“BRIDGES TO NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENTS IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES”
The National Institutes
of Health has funded a Bridges to the Future Program at New Mexico
State University at Las Cruces (NMSU) since October of 1992. The
program at NMSU is entitled: “Bridges to Native American Students
in Community Colleges.” This program has the goal to develop and
implement mechanisms that introduce Native American students at four
regional community colleges in New Mexico and Arizona to baccalaureate
degree (BS) career opportunities in the biomedical sciences. Participating
community colleges include Dine' College (formerly Navajo Community
College) at Shiprock, NM, Dine' College (formerly Navajo Community
College) at Tsaile, AZ, the University of New Mexico Gallup Branch
in Gallup, NM, and San Juan College at Farmington, NM. Collectively,
these four institutions annually enroll more than 6,000 Native American
students. This is the highest enrollment concentration of Native
Americans in post-secondary education in the USA. Formal programmatic
activities were first initiated in January 1993 and have continued
Features of the program have included the following activities: Twenty
faculty members from the molecular bioscience disciplines at NMSU provide
biweekly seminars/lectures/workshops at each community college campus
as a means to introduce Native American students to biomedically-related
research programs being conducted at NMSU. This seminar series also
serves to introduce students to active research-oriented faculty who
are prospective mentors for students. Students who are interested in
a full-time summer research position visit the NMSU main campus during
the academic year for a two-day orientation program in early March.
This visit introduces students to potential faculty research mentors,
the campus environs, research facilities, campus Native American support
groups, actual classroom and laboratory experience, and academic advisement
mechanisms. Sixteen to eighteen students are selected from these audiences
to participate in summer research projects on the campus of NMSU during
the summer months. These full-time summer research positions pay $2,000
per month plus housing costs while at the Las Cruces campus for nine
weeks (through July 31st). Students are also given the opportunity
to attend and present their research results to a science symposium
of some type, either the annual meeting of AISES, SACNAS, or MBRS/MARC
(ABRCMS) Programs. When these students transfer to BS degree programs
that are allied to the biomedical field at NMSU (Biochemistry, Molecular
Biology, Biology, Microbiology, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science,
Plant Sciences), they are immediately assimilated into active, ongoing,
successful research-oriented programs that can guide them to completion
of a BS degree. Students also receive advisement for progression into
post-baccalaureate graduate or professional schools.
Collectively, two-hundred twenty three (223) Native students have participated
in summer research projects at NMSU during the summers of 1993-2009.
These students have included representatives from the Choctaw, Cherokee,
Navajo, Zuni, Mescalero Apache, Laguna, Isleta, White Mountain Apache,
Ute, and San Juan Tribes. Seventy percent (70.4%) of these students
have subsequently matriculated to BS programs at major universities.
Sixty-seven percent (67.4%) of those who have transferred have completed
BS degrees in the science disciplines. Forty percent (40.3%) of those
completing BS degrees have entered graduate schools where they have
completed 21 MS degrees, 6 PhD degrees, and 8 PhD degrees are in progress.
This BRIDGE Program has recently been refunded with a five-year grant
from NIH through January 2015. For more information, please contact
Vanessa Fisher in the Bridge Program Office at phone number 575-646-5092,
Chemistry & Biochemistry BuildingRoomW377, or Dr. Glenn D. Kuehn, Regents
Professor of Biochemistry at phone number 575-646-1015.
Glenn D. Kuehn, Ph.D., Regents Professor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Director and Principal Investigator, NIH-Supported Bridge Program.
July 28, 2010