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


The State of California has approved $5 million in funding for the Cal-Bridge Programwhich offers underrepresented students from California community colleges and the California State University (CSU) system the opportunity to earn advanced doctoral degrees through the University of California system and join the workforce California scientific and technological work, 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 students majoring in physics, computer science, and in mathematics to enroll in doctoral programs across the state and nation. The new California State budget allocation will allow Cal-Bridge to broaden the areas covered and expand its impact, supporting Cal-Bridge scholars from their CSU undergraduate studies through 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 industry,” 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,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), which was the main sponsor of the effort to secure funding for the initiative from 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 his studies at Modesto Junior College, before earning his 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 harder and more 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), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, have helped guide the allocation in the state budget and are both pleased to support the Cal-Bridge initiative. Ting commented, “Cal-Bridge is a unique California treasure, ensuring fair and equal access to all 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 am 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 much work to be done. 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.

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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 through to doctoral degrees, postdoctoral fellowships, and ultimately , faculty membership 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 all 116 community college campuses across California, 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.

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