Bridge to Success in BiomedicineMDC program develops next generation of researchers

The Bridge to the Baccalaureate Program at MDC develops young scientists. From left are Rafael Gutiérrez, Yaima Toledo, Claudia Saborit, Kendall Campus Honors College Director Jennifer Bravo and Mario Rodríguez.

Miami Dade College has found an innovative way to inspire more students to pursue careers in biomedical research by creating opportunities for them to be involved in intriguing investigative work much sooner.

The Bridge to the Baccalaureate Program at MDC enables students to work with experts in the field long before they enter grad school. In fact, by the time they finish their first year in MDC’s associate program, they already have completed 400 hours of research in labs at the University of Miami (UM).

Rafael Gutiérrez, an MDC Honors College student and a sophomore at InterAmerican Campus, knows firsthand the value of this one-on-one interaction with top scientists from around the globe. It helped prepare him to win a national award for his research work in vascular calcification enzymes.

“Miami Dade College’s Bridge to the Baccalaureate Program gave me opportunities I never dreamed of as an undergraduate student,” he said. “I had a co-mentor at UM who is a lead researcher from China, and I partnered with a student from Haiti. The international connections brought new perspectives to our work.”

The Bridge Program is a unique collaborative effort of MDC’s School of Science, The Honors College at MDC and UM. Thanks to a generous $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the program is designed to increase the number of Hispanic, Native American and black students who pursue careers in biomedical research.

To date, 125 MDC students have participated in the Bridge Program at MDC’s InterAmerican, Kendall, North and Wolfson campuses.