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A group photo of physical sciences summer bridge program students with Dean Miguel Garcia-Garibay and Instructor Bon-Soon Lin BRIDGE students after a lecture with their instructor Bon-Soon Lin, Physical Sciences Dean Miguel Garcia-Garibay, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Al Courey, PIC Director Michael Andrews (PHOTO CREDIT: Britney Robinson)

Summer BRIDGE Program Prepares for its Second Year

This program for low-income, first generation, and underrepresented minority students welcomes incoming freshmen to the Division of Physical Sciences.

Adjusting to college can be hard. You meet new people, have a less rigid schedule, and are often on your own for the first time. With the added challenges often faced by low-income, first generation, or underrepresented minority students, it can be overwhelming for freshmen from these groups to feel at home. At UCLA, the six-week summer BRIDGE (Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue, Growth and Empowerment) program prepares these incoming freshmen for success in college. 

UCLA alumnus and Physical Sciences DEI coordinator Britney Robinson, a first generation Afro-Latina, designed the program to help freshmen connect with other students in their cohort. Participants receive advice from older students and have unique opportunities to get to know some of their professors ahead of the Fall quarter. The goal is to provide a better experience and stronger support for students through mentorship, training, and a sense of community and belonging within the Division. “As someone who experienced firsthand what a lot of these students are going through, I know how important a program like this can be,” said Robinson. 

I was terrified to enter the new world of UCLA, and this program put my mind at ease and allowed me to excel in my current studies.

Damian Ojeda

In its inaugural year, the BRIDGE program hosted 27 students as part of the larger Academic Advancement Program’s Freshmen Summer Programs (FSP). These students worked together to learn fundamental skills that help them succeed in college courses, and earned some course credits in the process. Incoming freshmen were introduced to the writing and math curriculum, UCLA’s culture, and academic and student support services. 

A testament to first year’s success, many BRIDGE students have kept in touch throughout their freshman year. These students have become a support system for each other, and even enjoyed a program-sponsored trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) earlier this spring quarter. As Damian Ojeda, a 2023 BRIDGE participant, recently reflected on his experience in the program, “I was terrified to enter the new world of UCLA, and this program put my mind at ease and allowed me to excel in my current studies,” said Damian Ojeda, a 2023 BRIDGE participant and rising sophomore studying biochemistry.  

This summer, the BRIDGE program hopes to host more students from the incoming freshmen class. Robinson is particularly excited about Introducing another group of new students from diverse backgrounds to UCLA. “I look forward to showing them that success in the Physical Sciences, and in college as a whole, does not always look the same. There are many different avenues to achieve the same goal.” 

Interested? Learn more about the summer BRIDGE program here and by contacting Britney Robinson at If you are an admitted freshman at UCLA with a low-income, first generation, or underrepresented minority background, you can apply to the summer BRIDGE program through the FSP application. Additional financial aid beyond that described in the normal FSP process is available for BRIDGE participants.