The CIRM Bridges program at CSUSB has been by all measures a resounding success. CSUSB is a Hispanic serving institution that serves the largest and one of the poorest counties in California. The majority of the Biology students who are attending our institution only see professional schools as a preferred career choice. In reality only a small percentage of our students gets admission to these programs. Work force development is one of the key missions of the school along of course with the vision of providing educational opportunities to the region that it serves. In the three years that the grant has been in operation, we have awarded internships to 28 students and we have definitely realized outstanding outcomes. All students became highly trained in stem cell biology,they were trained to present their data in public venues and had either a six month or twelve month internship opportunity.
The reports that we got both from the host labs and the students themselves have been nothing but positive. From the first year cohort, two of the interns went on to graduate schools (UCR and Stanford) and the rest got positions as technicians both in small biotech companies or academic research lab. The second year cohort of ten also had also great outcomes. They got admitted to medical school, graduate school or were hired in some of the forefront stem cell labs in Southern California. Third year cohort just finished so we don’t have any data at this time. The program director, the faculty involved in the training and the host lab observations have been that we have a solid training program that enables the student to be very competitive in this burgeoning research area. All the student who were hired as research technicians this last year, were hired by CIRM grantees.