California approves $5 million to fund diversity in science and technology education

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The State of California has approved $5 million in funding for the Cal-Bridge program, which provides a pathway for underrepresented students in California’s community colleges and the California State University (CSU) system to pursue careers. advanced doctoral studies through the University of California system and join California’s science and technology workforce, including as professors at public universities.

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 students majoring in physics, computer science, and in 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 expand the areas covered and expand its impact, supporting Cal-Bridge scholars from their CSU undergraduate studies to their UC doctorates.

“The new state funding will provide more young Californians from historically underrepresented communities the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies and access the support needed to complete the degree and thrive in the professions of their choice,” said Lori Kletzer, campus provost and executive vice chancellor. at UC Santa Cruz.

Bruce Schumm, a physics professor at UC Santa Cruz who co-directs the Northern California Cal-Bridge program, said expansion plans include developing a comprehensive program of support and professional development throughout the years of graduate studies. “This generous state funding will allow us to complete a unique end-to-end journey that can support students at our various community colleges and CSU campuses from the earliest stages of their college education through their entry into academic careers and industrial. ,” he said.

The expanded program will enable 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.”

“I’m so proud to have secured $5 million in the California state budget for the Cal-Bridge program to diversify the state’s science and technology workforce,” the congresswoman said. Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), who was the lead sponsor in the effort to secure funding for the initiative in the state budget. “Removing barriers to entry into STEM fields for historically underrepresented groups and diversifying the faculty of California’s public universities will help California continue to thrive as a world-class hub for innovation. .”

UCSC graduate student Rene Padilla is a Cal-Bridge Fellow who credits the program with paving the way for a Ph.D. Padilla began her studies at Modesto Junior College, before earning her bachelor’s degree in physics from Stanislaus State in 2019.

“Making the transition from a community college to a CSU campus was tough,” Padilla said. “However, making the transition from a CSU to a Ph.D. was even more challenging and complex. Nonetheless, the Cal-Bridge community gave me the tools to successfully transition and move forward to my dream school. Now , after several years I am a candidate for a PhD in Physics at UC Santa Cruz I never imagined I could get this far but the support of a program like Cal-Bridge has made a big difference in my life. I am sure that the increased resources of the Cal-Bridge program will increase the chances of students like me to access higher education programs.

Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee and Nancy Skinner (D-East Bay), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, together helped guide the allocation in the budget of state and are both excited to support the Cal-Bridge Initiative. Ting commented, “Cal-Bridge is a unique California treasure, ensuring fair and equal access to all of the opportunities offered by our state’s excellent higher education system. Cal-Bridge opens doors for everyone in our state to the most exciting, highest-paying careers in science and technology, regardless of where they begin their education. I’m thrilled to support Cal-Bridge, to see it funded in this year’s budget, and I look forward to seeing it grow to benefit thousands of Californians over the next few years.

Skinner added, “California has made progress in diversifying our public colleges and universities, but there is still a lot of work to do. Black and Latino students, in particular, remain underrepresented on our CSU and UC campuses. The Cal-Bridge program is critical to closing this racial gap, which is why I’m proud that the Legislature and Governor have agreed to fund it in this year’s state budget. Cal-Bridge is not only effective in attracting underrepresented students in STEM fields, but also in ensuring that our cohort of future college professors in physics, computer science, and mathematics is equally diverse.

For more information, visit www.calbridge.org.

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 (UC), 23 California State Universities (CSU), and 116 community college campuses across California, fulfilling the promise of cross-sector cooperation envisioned in the California Master Plan for Higher Education. . 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.

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