California State Budget Allocates $5 Million Toward Ph.D. Pathway Program

The State of California has approved $5 million toward Cal-Bridge, a program that offers a pathway for underrepresented students to pursue advanced Ph.D.s and join the state’s science and technology workforce, including as public university faculty.Dr. Alexander RudolphDr. Alexander Rudolph

“The new state funding will provide more young Californians from historically underrepresented communities with the opportunity to pursue a doctorate degree and access the support needed to successfully complete the degree and thrive in their chosen professions,” said Dr. Lori Kletzer, campus provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The program, launched in 2014, provides a pathway for students in California Community Colleges and the California State University (CSU) system to pursue advanced Ph.D. degrees through the University of California (UC) system. It is a partnership among UC and CSU campuses designed to help students majoring in physics, computer science, and mathematics go into Ph.D. programs across the state and nation.

The $5 million, part of the new California state budget, will enable Cal-Bridge to expand subject areas covered and extend its impact.

“Diversifying the professoriate will lead to a growth in gender, racial, and ethnic representation in the technology workforce more broadly by increasing the number of students from historically underrepresented groups completing degrees in STEM fields because they see faculty that look like them,” said Dr. Alexander Rudolph, Cal-Bridge director and professor of physics and astronomy at Cal Poly Pomona. “As countries around the world are increasing their investment in science and technology, making sure our nation uses all of the available talent in developing our expertise and capabilities in these fields is an issue of economic and national security.”