The State of California has approved $5 million in funding for the Cal-Bridge Program which provides a pathway for underrepresented students in community colleges and the California State University system to pursue advanced doctoral studies. degrees through the University of California system and join California’s science and technology workforce, including as a public university professor.
The Cal-Bridge program, launched in 2014, is a statewide partnership between 9 UCs, 23 CSUs, and 116 community colleges across California that helps CSU undergraduates majoring in physics, in computer science and mathematics to enroll in doctoral programs across the state and nation. . The new budget allocation from the State of California will allow Cal-Bridge to broaden the areas covered and expand its impact, supporting Cal-Bridge scholars from their CSU undergraduate studies to their UC doctorates, creating a pathway for thousands of California students from diverse backgrounds to gain the expertise needed to fill academic and technology leadership positions in California and beyond.
“Faculty diversification will lead to growth in gender, racial, and ethnic representation in the broader tech workforce by increasing the number of students from historically underrepresented groups earning degrees in STEM fields because that they see teachers who look like them,” said Cal-Bridge’s executive director, Alexander Rudolph, professor of physics and astronomy at Cal Poly Pomona. “As countries around the world increase their investments in science and technology, ensuring that our nation uses all available talent to develop our expertise and capabilities in these areas is a matter of economic and national security.”
Maria “Katy” Rodriguez Wimberly is a shining example of the power of the Cal-Bridge approach. An Army veteran, Wimberly attended a community college level before transferring to California State University, Long Beach, where she joined the Cal-Bridge program in 2015. Wimberly earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Long Beach and later earned a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at UC Irvine in 2021. She is now NSF MPS-Ascend Postdoctoral Fellow in Astrophysics at UC Riverside.
Commenting on how the Cal-Bridge program provided the support she needed to succeed, Wimberly said, “The network of mentors and peers that Cal-Bridge has helped me create has been invaluable in my pursuit of a doctorate in astrophysics! I now have an amazing support system of equally underrepresented astronomy students and mentors who are actively working to build a more inclusive community.
Kevork Abazajian, professor of physics and astronomy, is the director of Cal-Bridge UC-South and leads the program at UCI.
About Cal Bridge: The mission of the Cal-Bridge program is to create a comprehensive, end-to-end pathway for undergraduate students from the diverse student body of the CSU system to earn a doctoral degree, postdoctoral fellowship, and, ultimately, membership in faculty and science and technology. Workforce. Students in the program are called Cal-Bridge Scholars.
The program is a partnership between 9 University of California, 23 California State Universities, and 116 community college campuses in the state, fulfilling the promise of cross-industry cooperation envisioned in the California Higher Education Blueprint. Scholars are recruited from CSU and community college campuses around the state, with assistance from local faculty and/or staff liaisons at each campus. Community college students transfer to a participating CSU to join the program.