college students comprise an important source of talent. Because minorities are more likely to attend two-year colleges than are other students, a high proportion of minority students attend community colleges (Chacon, Cohen, and Strover 1986; NCES 1992b; O'Brien 1992a). A consortia approach, through participation in a bridge program, is well-suited for increasing the number of talented and well-prepared community college students who transfer to four-year college science programs. Bridge programs should operate on the same principles and premises that govern the National Scholars Program, including faculty leadership and student participation in research.
For community college students who transfer to the National Scholars Program, a multicomponent workshop—The Research Enterprise—might be presented during the scholars' first week of their first summer in the program. Prior to the students' participation in laboratory research, under the direction of the faculty members throughout the rest of the summer, the trainees would be exposed to topics such as the philosophy and ethics of research; experimental design; the literature of the physical sciences, including computerized databases; and safety in the research laboratory.
In 1992 three two-year community colleges joined with California State University at Los Angeles to establish a bridge program to increase the number of well-prepared community college minority students who could transfer to four-year institutions and successfully complete a bachelor's degree in the biomedical sciences. The long-term goal is to increase the pool of talented minority students who enter and complete a Ph.D. degree in the biomedical sciences. The program trains four freshmen and four sophomores at each of the three community colleges. The Bridges to the Future Program includes a solid science curriculum that is enhanced through participation in seminars and workshops and strong research opportunities.
The program is coordinated by a biomedical faculty researcher at California State University who is assisted by an advisory committee, which includes a faculty member from each of the three community colleges and the chairs of the Cal State departments of chemistry and biology. Faculty-to-faculty interactions have been emphasized in establishing these institutional partnerships.
At each of the community colleges there is a Biomed Bridge Faculty Mentor or Coordinator responsible for the operation of the program at that campus. These faculty mentors or coordinators have been key to the success of the program, serving as advisors, mentors, and intermediaries between the institution and the Biomed Bridge Fellows at the community college. These individuals are committed to student success and have been selected because of their experience in student advising. Furthermore, chemistry faculty have been selected because success in freshman chemistry has traditionally been a major barrier to students pursuing science-based disciplines. These faculty mentors are talented teachers and are in the best position to monitor students ' academic progress and to suggest strategies to improve their success.