Bridges to Baccalaureate 

ABOUT US

Welcome! Our Manhattan-Bridge program seeks to enhance the number of Racially Ethnic Minority students in biomedical and behavioral sciences research by bridging the path from a minority-serving community college (Borough of Manhattan Community College [BMCC]) to a baccalaureate degree in a STEM field at a minority-serving senior college (The City College of New York [CCNY]).  Manhattan-Bridge is a two-year scholarship that includes a coordinated system of faculty mentoring, peer mentoring, peer support, diversity training, STEM coursework, laboratory training, tutoring, career/academic enrichment workshops, and supplemental instruction -- all evidence-based components that contribute to equity.  We provide trainees with research opportunities at BMCC and CCNY from committed experts in the biomedical and behavioral science fields to guide development of mentored research projects. Trainees will be provided with conference travel and research funds to facilitate their understanding of the conduct and dissemination of research findings throughout the academic year and summers. Our goal is to cultivate the educational, research and career self-efficacy of the trainees and to provide them with the social and academic grounding and research skills development to succeed in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

APPLICATION | Apply Now!

The deadline to apply is August 15th. Do not wait until the last minute to send your application. Now is the right time to apply. 

RESEARCHERS

Robert Melara

Robert Melara Ph.D
Grant Director
Multiple Principal Investigator

o: NAC 7/201 | p: 212-650-5716
e: rmelara@ccny.cuny.edu | CCNY Profile

Dr. Melara is the Grant Director and Multiple Principal Investigator for this Bridges grant.  Dr. Melara is a psychophysicist and cognitive neuroscientist by training.  He currently is a Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Psychology at City College, City University of New York.  Dr. Melara received his Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook and his Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research.  He has 25 years of experience as an investigator of normal and impaired processes of attention in humans.  He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles designed to identify the cognitive and neural mechanisms of inhibition, perceptual discriminability, and working memory that govern attentive focus and distraction in the visual, tactile, and auditory modalities.  Pursuit of these mechanisms has provided Dr. Melara with extensive experience using a range of laboratory attention tasks, statistical methods, and mathematical models. Over the past five years, Dr. Melara has served as Co-Investigator and Faculty mentor on a NIDA funded R25 training program (TRACC-RU; R25DA035161).

 

Lesia M. Ruglass

Lesia M. Ruglass Ph.D
Multiple Principal Investigator

o: NAC 8/132 | p: 212-650-7821
e: lruglass@ccny.cuny.edu | CCNY Profile

Dr. Ruglass is a Multiple Principal Investigator for this grant.  Dr. Ruglass is an Associate Professor in the Masters in Mental Health Counseling Program, Director of the Research on Addictive Disorders (ROAD) Lab at CCNY, and PI of the NIH/NIDA-funded R25 program, TRACC-RU (R25DA035161).  Over the past 19 years, she has served in key assessment, management and oversight roles on several NIH-funded research projects (1 NIH/NIAAA R01 and 2 NIH/NIDA funded R01s and 1 NIH/NIDA funded R25). She also served as the co-investigator of a pilot translational study examining social and non-social threat processing in PTSD, PI of a privately funded study geared towards understanding and reducing barriers to City College of New York’s (CCNY) REM students’ decisions to apply to and enter psychology graduate school, and PI on a university-funded pilot study examining racial/ethnic differences in cue reactivity among marijuana users and a NCI-funded pilot study examining racial/ethnic differences in cue reactivity among nicotine users.  She has over 40 peer-reviewed publications and has presented her work nationally and internationally.  Over the past six years, she has served as PI, education coordinator, and faculty mentor on a R25 training program (TRACC-RU, R25DA035161) housed at City College of New York.  Dr. Ruglass will also serve as a mentor to one of the trainees in the program.

 

Alexander Gosslau

Alexander Gosslau Ph.D.
Multiple Principal Investigator

o: N-698H | p: 212-220-1317
e: agosslau@bmcc.cuny.edu | BMCC Profile

Dr. Gosslau is a Multiple Principal Investigator for this grant.  Dr. Gosslau is a Professor in the Department of Science (Biology). He has more than 20 years of experience in in Cell and Molecular Biology where he has worked on identifying bioactive substances with anti-inflammatory properties (e.g., black tea extract enriched with theaflavins; orange peel extract enriched with polymethoxyflavones) to treat degenerative diseases.  He established a mechanism in bioactives to activate the mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic-signaling pathway as a possible molecular cancer target. His work is funded by grants from NSF and NIH.  He is a mentor to REM students at BMCC and has received awards to enhance the undergraduate learning experience in multidisciplinary research projects. Dr. Gosslau will also serve as a mentor to one of the trainees in the program.

 

Hawai Kwok

Hawai Kwok M.A.
Program Director

o: NAC 7/120 | p: 212-650-6777
e: kwok@ccny.cuny.edu | CCNY Profile

Hawai Kwok is the Program Director for this grant.  She has over 13 years of experience in supporting STEM students in experiential learning and placing hundreds of students in internships in NYC, Washington D.C. and internationally.  She supported REM students in STEM laboratories, some of who entered into PhD programs and continued research work post-graduation.  She serves as Director of Academic Programs in the Psychology Department at CCNY.

MEET OUR SCHOLARS
Alivya Barry
Alivya Barry | LinkedIn

Alivya Barry (Liv) is a first generation college student currently attending BMCC to get an AA in Psychology. Liv spent the majority of her adolescence training at elite dance schools around the country, but found a love for psychology after embarking through her own healing journey at age 17. A few years later she felt compelled to begin schooling with the intention to become a counselor focusing on Female Sexual Traumas and Addictions. However upon the start of her participation in the NIH-34 Bridge Program, she has found a new passion for research within the field of sexual trauma. Liv aspires to complete her first study, with a potential publication, by late spring 2023. 

Evian Pollack - Bridges to Baccalaureate Scholar
Evian Pollack | LinkedIn

Evian Pollack is a biotechnology major undergraduate student at BMCC. Evian is a past BMCC REU (The National Science Foundation- Research Experience for Undergraduates) scholar where she used literature review to identify potential antioxidant properties of five African plants. Under the Bridges to Baccalaureate training grant, Evian is working alongside Dr. José Romero at Population Council as an antiviral intern. The aim of the project is to investigate some plant extracts and their effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2. In the future, Evian would love to continue in research by being an Environmental Science Researcher. Because of her experience with plants, Evian may specifically go into botany. Throughout her tenure at BMCC this far, Evian can truly say that the college lives up to its motto “Start Here. Go Anywhere.”

Gabriel Mascagni - Bridges to Baccalaureate Scholar
Gabriel Mascagni | LinkedIn

Gabriel is a second-generation undergraduate student studying Biology at BMCC. His research interest sparked during his first year at CUNY Research Scholars Program in BMCC. Upon finishing their first year, he joined the T34 Research Fellowship program that matched with his interest in the biomedical field, offering great mentors that are currently helping him excel in his undergraduate career. Currently, Gabriel and his mentor, Dr. Giza, are investigating the role of a specific growth factor and how it affects the brain. Through this research, he has been able to apply concepts from cell and molecular biology and expand into neuropsychiatric disorders.

Jadhiel Rondon - Bridges to Baccalaureate Scholar
Jahdiel Rondon | LinkedIn

Jahdiel Rondon is a first-generation undergraduate student studying Psychology at BMCC. His interest in the program began with his curiosity about human behavior. He found that behavioral science had the answers to a lot of the questions and that piqued his interest in the field immediately. He is being mentored by Dr. Khushmand Rajendran and Dr. Sarah O'Neill who have both been very lovely and kind in helping him hone in on his future research plans. They are looking at the impacts of service utilization on youth with ADHD. With the help of his mentors and the program, he hopes that further research will enable them to find an effective treatment for youth with ADHD. In the future, he hopes to assist in creating alternative input devices for disabled youth suffering from disabilities like cerebral palsy.

Nana Wiafe Addae Owusu - Bridges to Baccalaureate Scholar
Nana Wiafe Addae Owusu | LinkedIn

Nana Wiafe Addae Owusu is a first-generation undergraduate from Ghana. He is a biology major in his third semester at BMCC. Coming from a low-income family with the dream of becoming a cardiologist, Nana noticed that to fulfill his dream, he must be supported. Apart from medical schools being expensive, they also require some research experience. As Nana got exposed to this wonderful program shortly called BRIDGE, his research experience was guaranteed as well as an “elephant” stipend that he never dreamt about. Nana is currently working with Dr. Alexander Gosslau who has been supportive as a mentor so far doing his best to help a science student who hasn’t touched pipette before. Together, they are working on the effect of black tea on chronic inflammation. Nana is following his dream to study medicine and excel on MCAT.

FAQ

All students regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender and disabilities status are encouraged to apply and will be equally considered as a prospect for this opportunity.

What is the minimum GPA required to apply?

3.2 however each candidate’s full application is reviewed and considered.

Do I have to be a science major?

No, anyone interested and curious about the sciences are encouraged apply.

Do I need a letter of recommendation?

We just need a professor’s name and email. It always helps to have one though.

Do I have to transfer to CCNY?

Yes, it is a requirement to be considered for the program.

I just graduated with an Associate’s Degree and will be starting at CCNY in the fall, do I qualify to apply?

Unfortunately, the grant requires candidates to spend their last year at BMCC (2 semesters left at BMCC)

My application is late. Will I still be considered?

Yes, please notify Hawai Kwok, kwok@ccny.cuny.edu .

How do I know if my background qualifies as under-represented?

1. Individuals from racial and ethnic backgrounds such as: Black or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.

3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the following criteria:

  • Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
  • Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families.
  • Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years.
  • Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree.
  • Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants.
  • Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child.

Do I have to be a citizen to qualify?

Trainees must be a citizen or a noncitizen national* of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. An individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence must possess an alien registration receipt card (I-551) prior to appointment on the grant.

**Individuals on temporary visas, those seeking asylum or refugees, or those supported through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are not eligible for support through NIH NRSA programs**

Still have more questions?

Please reach out to Hawai Kwok, kwok@ccny.cuny.edu

Last Updated: 10/06/2022 12:34