Building Bridges


The Building Bridges Mentoring Program matches historically underrepresented first-year students with faculty from the departments that the students wish to explore as possible majors. The foundation of the program is built upon the work of faculty mentors who play an integral role in the academic development of the students. As a result of these early interactions with faculty, many Bridges students find opportunities for research and internships within their first two years.

Students must apply to the program the summer prior to their first year. If accepted the student will meet regularly with his/her mentor throughout the year. Students will also be assigned to a peer mentor and grouped with other first-year students in the program who share the same academic interests. After the first year, the program will continue to assist students with finding opportunities for academic growth and career discernment. Building Bridges is cosponsored by the Office of the Provost. The Building Bridges Brochure in pdf format is available for download.

Chemical engineering major Anel Terron ’13 (near left) served as the President of the Hispanic Engineers and Scientists club. She joined Dow Chemical Company after graduating. Prof. Mayland Chang (far left) helps students like Anel explore career opportunities. 

Some notable achievements by the class of 2014:

  • 71% of the 65 STEM majors participated in undergraduate research.
  • 91% of business majors interned with a company before senior year.
  • 29% of the entire class earned a summer fellowship.
  • 15% will enter graduate school.
  • Six published papers in a peer review journal.


*******************************PRESS RELEASE*******************************

Mayor Julián Castro to address Latino civic engagement


San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro will visit the Notre Dame campus on Monday, April 7, 2014 for an event titled, American Politics in the 21st Century: Latino Civic Engagement. Joining the mayor on stage will be his former Stanford faculty mentor Luis Fraga. The two will discuss the Mayor’s journey into the world of politics. The event will be held in 101 DeBartolo Hall and begins at 7:00 pm.

This is the third collaborative event of the American Politics series between Multicultural Student Programs and ServicesBuilding Bridges Lecture Series, the Institute for Latino Studies Transformative Latino Leadership Lecture Series, and the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy.

A 39-year-old San Antonio native, Mayor Julián Castro is the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city. First elected on May 9, 2009, Mayor Castro was handily re-elected to a third term in 2013.

Throughout his tenure, Mayor Castro has focused on attracting well-paying jobs in 21st century industries, positioning San Antonio to be a leader in the New Energy Economy and raising educational attainment across the spectrum.

Mayor Castro created SA2020, a community-wide visioning effort turned nonprofit that has galvanized thousands of San Antonians around a simple, but powerful vision for San Antonio— to create a brainpower community that is the liveliest city in the nation.

Under his leadership, the city established Café College, a one-stop center offering high-quality guidance on college admissions, financial aid and standardized test preparation to any student in the San Antonio area. Since opening in 2010, Café College has served more than 25,000 area students.

During his tenure, San Antonio ranked No. 1 on the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities list, graded A+ for doing business by Forbes and ranked as the nation’s No. 3 new tech hotspot by Forbes.

In November 2012, Mayor Castro led a voter-approved public referendum that will expand high-quality Pre-K services to more than 22,000 San Antonio four-year-olds over the next eight years. Mayor Castro also has brought a sense of urgency to revitalizing the city’s urban core, including the underserved East Side of San Antonio, by initiating the “Decade of Downtown” and approving a series of incentives to encourage inner city investment. These efforts have spurred plans for the construction of more than 2,400 housing units in the center city by 2014.

In March 2010, Mayor Castro joined executives from Google and Twitter in being named to the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders.  Later that year, Time magazine placed him on its “40 under 40” list of rising stars in American politics.

Mayor Castro also is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue, an Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellow and serves on the board of the LBJ Foundation. Mayor Castro earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University with honors and distinction in 1996 and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2000. In 2001, at the age of 26, Castro became the youngest elected city councilman at that time in San Antonio history.



Luis Ricardo Fraga, PhD, is Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, Russell F. Stark University Professor, Director of the Diversity Research Institute, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington.

His research and teaching interests are in Latino politics, the politics of race and ethnicity, immigration politics, education politics, and voting rights policy. In 2011 he was appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and serves as co-chair of the Postsecondary Education Subcommittee.  In 2011 he was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential in the country by Hispanic Business Magazine. He has received fifteen awards for his teaching, advising, mentoring and service.  In 2012 he was recognized as a Champion of Catholic Education by the Fulcrum Foundation and in 2013 he was the first recipient of the Juan Diego Award for his work to establish the first Spanish-English, two-way immersion school in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Fraga has authored and co-authored numerous books including Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior, and Policy Preferences (Cambridge University Press 2012), Latino Lives in America: Making It Home (Temple 2010), American Government: Principles in Practice (Holt McDougal 2010), Multiethnic Moments: The Politics of Urban Education Reform (Temple 2006) and Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do About It (Brookings 2005). He is currently completing the coauthored book Invisible No More: Latino Identities in American Politics.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required to enter and will be available at LaFortune info/box office starting at 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 29th. The limit is one ticket per person.

This event will be streamed live.


The Building Bridges Lecture Series Speakers

  • April 7, 2014 San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro with political scientist Luis Fraga
  • February 5, 2014 Political scientists  Michael Jones Correa, Ricardo Ramirez, Sophia Wallace, Christina Wolbrecht
  • October 31, 2013 TED speaker and Acumen CEO Jacqueline Novogratz
  • March 6, 2012 Physicist and mathematician Brian Greene
  • April 18, 2011 Playwright Richard Montoya
  • September 22, 2010 Political scientists Matt Barreto, Michael Jones Correa, Dianne Pinderhughes, Ricardo Ramirez, and Latino Studies Professor Maria Torres
  • April 14, 2010 Co-Founder and Executive Director of Andean Health and Development, David Gaus, MD
  • March 29, 2010 NIAID and NIH Program Officer Capt. Phillip Coyne, USN
  • April 1, 2008 Director, Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (Catholic Campaign for Human Development) Ralph McCloud