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Research

Bridges to the Future

The Bridges to the Future program was developed to recruit underrepresented students to pursue careers in biomedical or behavioral sciences. These areas include, but are not limited to, biology, psychology, nutrition, food science, engineering, family studies and human services, animal sciences, chemistry, physics, mathematics, veterinary science, applied social sciences, and social work. Students are recruited from three community colleges in southwest Kansas: Dodge City Community College, Garden City Community College, and Seward County Community College. Bridges is funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health. 

Bridges students begin their studies at one of these community colleges and transfer to Kansas State University to complete their bachelor of science degree. Students in this program participate in a week-long research experience course at K-State in late May each year. This class explains how scientists work on problems, how to use research equipment and how to use a research library. It also discusses science ethics and student life on a large research campus.

In the summer after their second year of community college studies, Bridges students participate in paid internships at K-State where they work alongside a professor on a research project for eight weeks. Students in this program are eligible for Bridges tuition scholarships at both their community college and at K-State. Once at K-State, students participate in the Developing Scholars Program, an undergraduate research program which focuses on students of color or first-generation college students of any racial or ethnic background. 

The Bridges program addresses diversity and education requirements that have a broad impact across campus and develops a well-established recruitment network. Bridges students can be incorporated into research proposals through mentoring one or more Bridges students during their grant-sponsored summer internship, in addition to sponsoring funding for their research stipend during the school year. Research team members are also encouraged to consider mentoring Bridges students in their research.

Other connections with Bridges students can be formed through mentoring or providing oversight for a group of students at one of the community colleges to assist with a research task that will be an ancillary part of your overall research project. There are also opportunities to engage in collaborative work with faculty members at the community college, thereby having an impact on their students. 

The contact for the Bridges to the Future program is Charlotte Olsen, family studies professor and extension specialist. Please contact her at colsen@k-state.edu.