LSU, BRCC Receive $1.3 Million NIH Grant to Establish Bridge to the Baccalaureate Program

09/24/2012 02:35 PM

BATON ROUGE – LSU and BRCC are bridging the gap to biomedical and behavioral sciences education through the “Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program from BRCC to LSU (LSU-BRCC/BB).”  The LSU College of Science and Office of Strategic Initiatives, in partnership with the Baton Rouge Community College, have been awarded a five-year, $1,333,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health in support of the LSU-BRCC/BB Program.


The joint efforts of LSU and BRCC are expected to help increase the pool of underrepresented students who go on to research careers in biomedical and behavioral sciences by providing a well-integrated institutional program that will give students from underrepresented groups the necessary academic preparation and mentoring needed to complete a baccalaureate degree, and subsequently more advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.


“A more diverse scientific workforce is in the best interest of society and has been demonstrated to enhance creativity and productivity in scientific discovery.  Currently, a relatively small proportion of underrepresented students majoring in science disciplines actually complete the undergraduate degree and go on to careers in science,” said Kevin Carman, dean, LSU College of Science, and the principal investigator of the grant.  ”The Bridges Program is designed to help students overcome the obstacles that might otherwise prevent them from realizing their potential.  I am very excited by our collaboration with BRCC, and I truly think that this could be a transformational program.”


The program will facilitate a seamless transition from BRCC to LSU by supporting individual mentoring, peer tutoring, professional development for faculty, pre-college preparation programs, and summer research opportunities.  Students will be encouraged to pursue and complete their associate degrees at BRCC and move on to complete bachelor’s degrees at LSU.  Students will also be encouraged and given guidance to pursue advanced studies in science and engineering and ultimately secure professional positions.


“Increasing the number of highly qualified professionals supports the economic development of our state. BRCC Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) faculty welcome the opportunity to bridge our underrepresented students in biomedical and behavioral sciences to LSU where they can continue their studies,” said Jo Dale Ales, dean, BRCC STEM. “NIH funding will enable us to better link with graduates from area high schools and nontraditional students and provide them a firm academic foundation in mathematics and science upon which to build a successful and rewarding career.” 


LSU-BRCC/BB co-principal investigators from LSU include Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives, Boyd Professor and Philip W. West Chair of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Isiah Warner; Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives Su-Seng Pang; Office of Strategic Initiatives Executive Assistant Zakiya Wilson; and from BRCC, JoDale Ales, Science Department Chair Laura Younger, and Engineering and Mathematics Department Chair Dennis Taylor.


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Dawn  Jenkins 
LSU College of Science
Ashley  Berthelot 
LSU Research Communications

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012