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Funding, Grants & Awards

UC Riverside, Riverside CC Win $800,000 to Support Students Underrepresented in STEM

The University of California at Riverside (UCR) and Riverside City College (RCC) have partnered on an initiative designed to support RCC students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in STEM majors.

The program, dubbed Riverside Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) and supported by a $816,000 five-year grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, aims to identify about 200 students at RCC who are pursuing careers in STEM and help them transfer to UC Riverside. Up to 10 students each year will be chosen as B2B scholars and awarded a stipend and travel allowance to attend a scientific conference.

"Undergraduate underrepresented minority students at UCR represent 38.1 percent of the total student enrollment and 26.7 percent of students enrolled in STEM-relevant programs," according to a news release. "In the last 5 years, 2,720 students at UCR graduated with undergraduate degrees in STEM-relevant sciences and 27.2 percent of those students were underrepresented minorities. However, underrepresented minorities made up only 11 percent of students receiving doctoral degrees in either general or STEM-relevant sciences in the last five years. Over the past 10 years, only 16.7 percent of UCR alumni pursuing advanced degrees were underrepresented minority."

"While higher than the national average, which is less than 10 percent, these data indicate a clear need for programs like Riverside B2B to attract and retain underrepresented minority students to complete graduate training in STEM-relevant sciences," said Byron Ford, professor of biomedical sciences at UCR and principal investigator on the grant. "Our program will identify students at RCC who are committed to pursuing careers in science, and facilitate their transfer and successful completion of baccalaureate degrees in STEM majors — hopefully, at UCR."

"The program has and will continue to play an important role in the development of students in STEM fields," said Wolde-Ab Isaac, president at RCC and co-principal investigator on the grant, in a prepared statement. "I am personally excited about the partnership generated between two institutions of higher learning, and the opportunities it presents to our students."

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences is part of the National Institutes of Health. For more information about its Bridges to Baccalaureate program, visit

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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