The Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside has received a $750,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research to increase the number of STEM students who transfer from a community college into the engineering program at UC Riverside.
UC Riverside, one of America’s few accredited research-intensive Hispanic Serving Institutions, has active partnerships with nearby community colleges that enable students to transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering in four years. The new project, Training Undergraduates through Navy Engagement, or TUNE, will expand on those efforts to enlarge and sustain the pipeline with a series of services to students that begin in the first year of college and continue beyond their transfer to UCR.
“Bourns College of Engineering already has strong ties with local community colleges and a history of transfer success,” said Marko Princevac, associate dean of student academic affairs and professor of mechanical engineering. “Through the Office of Naval Research-funded TUNE project, we will be able to recruit more transfer students into careers of interest to the Navy and increase UCR’s presence in community colleges. The beginning of TUNE also coincides with the opening of our new Transfer Success center. Our college is set on a clear path to increase transfer portion of our undergraduate student body.”
The new financial support will enhance the existing transfer agreement program to make more students aware of opportunities to transfer to UCR in engineering or other STEM fields. Activities intended to recruit more community college students into engineering include summer bridge programs, peer mentoring of community college students by UCR engineering students, joint student and faculty events at UCR and at partner community colleges, and research opportunities.
“Increasing the population of transfer students has been a priority for Bourns College,” said Guadalupe Ruiz, transfer initiatives and professional development coordinator. “Transfer students need to feel supported and engaged by their institution. Striving toward the needs of the students is on the front end of our project. We’re really excited about the opportunity to continue to increase the number of transfer students and their development.”
TUNE will be implemented in community colleges that already have well-established relationships with the Bourns College of Engineering: Riverside City College, Norco College, Moreno Valley College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Crafton Hills College, San Bernardino Valley College, and Mt. San Antonio College. All of these two-year colleges are accredited Hispanic Serving Institutions.
Students transferring from Southern California community colleges to UCR will complete bachelor’s degrees and research or design projects based in part on current research projects sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division. The students will complete bachelor’s degrees and be prepared to move on to graduate school, careers as engineers with the Navy, or careers with technology companies.