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Bridge to Success

Summer Bridge program celebrates 35 years of empowering students

Summer Bridge

Photos-Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

UC San Diego’s Summer Bridge program began in 1978 with just 30 students as a way to empower incoming freshmen to be successful at UC San Diego. Today, roughly 4,700 students from underserved high schools have completed the program. This year marks the 35th anniversary of Summer Bridge. To commemorate the milestone, the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) will host an all-day celebration Saturday, April 28.

At the celebration, students, friends, mentors, tutors, staff and others who have been involved with Summer Bridge over the years are invited to reconnect with each other and current OASIS and Summer Bridge staff and participants. Attendees can join networking sessions, tour the campus, visit the Cross-Cultural Center and more. The day will end with dinner and dancing.

“Summer Bridge definitely gave me an edge,” said Shari Ilene Bialick Rosemblat, who participated in the program in 1980 and graduated from UC San Diego in 1984. “I learned so much in that one month—study skills, communication skills—and I gained a deeper understanding of today’s social issues. Plus, I made lifelong friends.”

Summer Bridge

An intensive four-week academic and residential program, Summer Bridge is designed to acclimate students from underserved high schools—many of whom will be the first in their families to graduate from college—to the academic, social and cultural life at UC San Diego. Through academic courses, workshops, mentoring and other activities, students gain a clear understanding of the demands of a major research university and the resources available to help them meet those demands. The program also helps students develop an understanding of the complex social issues in our diverse society.

“The skills I learned through Summer Bridge not only helped me to succeed at UC San Diego, they’ve continued to help me throughout my career,” added Rosemblat, who became a teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District after graduating from UC San Diego. “I was able to take what I learned in the peer group discussions and counseling sessions and apply that to my classrooms and working with kids,” she said. “Later, when I switched careers to do financial services for the city of Los Angeles, the communication skills I developed in Summer Bridge, and throughout my college career, helped me to succeed.”

Summer Bridge is one of UC San Diego’s many outreach efforts to recruit and retain a diverse group of talented and motivated students. Programs that target grades 6 to 12 and college transfer students—such as the student-led Overnight Program, the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) and the TRIO Outreach Program—strive to eliminate barriers to accessing a university education. Once enrolled at UC San Diego, several programs are available to ensure that students have the support they need to successfully complete their degree, including tutoring and mentoring services offered through OASIS.

In a 2010 survey of more than 300 UC San Diego alumni who have participated in OASIS, respondents reported significant intellectual and personal development from Summer Bridge and other OASIS services. Yet, private support is needed to ensure that these programs continue at UC San Diego. For more information about Summer Bridge’s 35th anniversary celebration, and to support the program in honor of its milestone year, visit http://giving.ucsd.edu/SB35/.

Summer Bridge