The organization Excelencia in Education has chosen Cal-Bridge as its 2019 Example of Excelencia in the graduate category.
Cal-Bridge is increasing the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing Ph.D.s in physics and astronomy by 50 percent nationally. Cal Poly Pomona, where the program started, is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, and more than half of its Cal-Bridge scholars are Latino.
“One of the great things about the Excelencia organization is that it’s a repository of information on what practices are having the greatest impact. Organizations can learn from each other,” said Professor and Cal-Bridge Director Alex Rudolph. Of the 166 nominations, the organization chose 14 finalists and granted just four awards.
Cal-Bridge is currently funded by a five-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to address the lack of diversity in STEM. What’s unique about the program is that it’s a partnership between nine UC and 16 CSU campuses. More than 30 community colleges are also involved in helping identify candidates for the program.
Cal-Bridge scholars receive mentoring from both UC and CSU professors and can receive up to $10,000 per year.
“The mentoring was the highlight of the program for me. I don’t think I would be where I am today without their mentorship,” said M. Katy Rodriguez Wimberly, a Cal-Bridge scholar and CSU alumna who is pursuing a Ph.D. in astronomy at UC Irvine.