BRiDGE – Promoting the Success of Underrepresented Students in STEM

Picture of BRiDGE students

The Institute of Diversity Sciences is dedicated to nurturing the success of under-represented students in STEM. Recognizing the broad need for professional development opportunities for these students, we aim to expand BRiDGE, an initiative spearheaded by students of color and other underrepresented identities in the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst. BRiDGE was founded by Benjamin Keisling (Ph.D. student, Geoscience), Nigel Golden (Ph.D. student, Environmental Conservation), Mariela Garcia Arredondo (Ph.D. student, Environmental Conservation), and Raquel Bryant (Ph.D. student, Geoscience) pictured above (left to right) with an invited speaker, Dr. Rosimar Ríos-Berríos (National Center for Atmospheric Research) at center. BRiDGE graduate students invite and host early-career scientists from underrepresented groups from across the nation to UMass Amherst to speak about their research, its societal impact, and discuss how they navigated their own careers. Students benefit enormously from these visits. Racial/ethnic minority scientists who visit UMass become role models and informal mentors for students. Students get career advice. They broaden their knowledge by learning about new cutting-edge research from a wide array of fields. And they learn how scientists apply their research to solve important societal problems.

Last year, BRIDGE students hosted 5 visiting scientists from the school of earth and sustainability departments -- Environmental Conservation, Geosciences, Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning and Stockbridge School of Agriculture as well as  Environmental Microbiology. Almost 200 individuals from 17 departments attended their talks and mentoring lunches.

This year, the Institute of Diversity Science is partnering with BRiDGE to increase the impact of these events by:

  • increasing the number College of Natural Sciences departments involved (including Molecular & Cell Biology, Neuroscience & Behavior, Psychological & Brain Sciences, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology)
  • doubling the number of scientists invited to campus
  • doubling the number students exposed to new role models and to professional networks

Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, we raised $4,451 from 128 donors to fund speakers this year. Thank you to all of our supporters!

If you would like to support a future visiting scientist, please consider making a gift.

For a list of BRiDGE speakers this fall, see: blogs.umass.edu/bridge/