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October Newsletter

BRDG's mission is to create a bridge to success by enhancing first-in-family college students' opportunities in the technology field. We aim to level the playing field for first generation college students who enter the workforce through our wraparound mentorship program. We are always open for more mentors, coaches, advisors, and organizational partners to join our team. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you are interested!

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Welcome Dr. Timothy Wei to the Board of Trustees of Bridge to Connect

On behalf of the students whom we serve as well as our mentors, advocates, and sponsors, it is my honor to welcome Dr. Timothy Wei to the Board of Trustees of Bridge-to-Connect (BRDG).

Tim’s visionary pursuits across multiple scientific disciplines, combined with his compassion and commitment to create a better society through the ethical exercise and application of technology, will help guide our organization toward fulfilling its mission of helping underserved, first-in-their-family college graduates achieve successful careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Among the many positions of thought leadership Tim presently exercises, perhaps the most intriguing is his role as founder and principal of the Transformational Food Manufacturing Initiative (TFMI), a public private partnership at the intersection of advanced manufacturing and food production.

Tim holds an adjunct professor appointment in Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University and his educational profile includes a B.S. from Cornell and an M.S. from Lehigh in Mechanical Engineering, and a doctorate in Aerospace Engineering from Michigan. He has held numerous senior leadership positions at prestigious universities across the United States, as well as international associations, and recently concluded his tenure as the Richard L. McNeel Professor and Dean of Engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Wherever Dr. Wei has applied his talents and shared his vision, passion, and expertise, the benefits to people, process, and place have been remarkable and long-lasting.

Dr. Wei is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). He served on the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and is currently a topics editor for the on-line journal, Fluids. Across his many affiliations, he often nurtures the next generation of leaders through STEM outreach and support, including support of the Native American community and other under-served populations.

It is with great excitement about the prospects of what Tim’s talents will bring to BRDG that I welcome him onto our Board of Trustees.

By John Misselwitz

Member, BRDG Board of Trustees


A mother’s dream to a student’s success

A first generation college student’s success story

By Ruby Galindo

Ms. Figueroa is very passionate about the education of her daughters; she steered Melissa Martinez in the direction that resulted in her success today. A recent graduate from the California State University, Fullerton and a member of the BRDG Bridge to Connect organization, Melissa is now a computer engineer and an analyst at Accenture.

I watched Melissa’ testimony in BRDG’s September newsletter and I wanted to find out about the woman behind Melissa’s success. So I interviewed her mother (Ms. Figueroa) on her point of view about her daughters’ journey from her educational years to getting her first professional job.

Ms. Figueroa is a Hispanic mother with very few years of education but she always told her daughters that they could be and do anything they desired in the world… but only if they go to college. Ms. Figueroa was always hovering over Melissa to ensure that she completed her schoolwork and even bribed her with money when Melissa received A’s on her report cards. Ms. Figueroa is a hard worker and also a strict mother; providing for her family while ensuring that Melissa exceled in her education.

In her junior year, Melissa discovered the Bridge to Connect (BRDG) program through a flyer she found at school (California State University, Fullerton) and thought it was a great idea to join. At that time, Melissa was still a procrastinator and Ms. Figueroa was right there to make sure that Melissa did her work. There were times when Melissa said she didn’t have time to go to BRDG’s meetings and wanted to drop out, but Ms. Figueroa knew that what the program offered was the best tool and opportunity for her daughter’s success.

Ms. Figueroa appreciates the help that BRDG offered her daughter; the program taught Melissa responsibility and allowed her to be someone with a bright future. The Figueroa family is very proud of Melissa, and Ms. Figueroa will always be willing to help encourage and guide other young students in her community.

I know how easy it is to give up, but the outcome of Melissa’s journey is astonishing. Ms. Figueroa’s role in Melissa’s education is what a passionate parent looks like. Ms. Figueroa and her family are amazing people and hearing what she had to say inspires me to strive to be better. Her story touched me; the way she expressed her story to me with compassion made me believe she was my own mother! She uplifted and encouraged me with her experience, her good judgment, and her wise efforts. I feel a connection to Melissa; she has come a long way and her experience makes me see a brighter perspective in my own future career.

Ruby Galindo is a student at the California State University of Fullerton majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Advertising. She is acting as a Public Relation Consultant to BRDG as part of her Student PR agency assignment.


Meet Linda Lockwood a BRDG Mentor

Over the years, I have volunteered for a variety of organizations doing anything from menial tasks to leadership roles. It seems no matter the level of involvement, I came away with a deep sense of satisfaction, a broader skill set, and a stronger sense of what it takes to successfully serve the needs of a diverse population.

Most recently I have been mentoring students who are potentially the first in their families to graduate from college. These students come with not only youth and energy, but a drive to achieve beyond their dreams. They also bring with them a unique set of needs to achieve those goals.

Frequently struggling with a second language, they are coming from culturally different backgrounds where resources are often limited. Exposure to social and educational experiences in their communities are infrequent and sometimes even discouraged. They plan to make a better life for themselves but may struggle with leaving their family and community behind. They may face fears of entering the new and unfamiliar. Awareness about what could be may be narrow in scope. Preparing for the social and economic changes in that dream have now become a part of the challenge.

What an honor it is to meet and work with these incredible people! I never struggled with such crucial issues in achieving my goals. I do remember being so young, so full of energy and wanting to grow up so fast. Along the way, I learned important, valuable lessons that make up my wisdom. My wisdom is my wealth and now I have the chance to use it for a very noble cause. As a mentor, all I have to do is listen, encourage, guide, plant a few seeds for thought. I do not have to be a parent or a tutor. I can just be a friend.

Mentoring these students has become my favorite volunteer job ever! Their youth has kept me more up to date with current trends and technology. The unstoppable energy fills me with awe and renewed enthusiasm to be actively involved in my own world. Watching them learn to navigate through their challenges is inspiring and signals there is hope for the future. I embrace the opportunity to be a part of their journey.


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