Building Bridges

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The nationally-awarded 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. Building Bridges is cosponsored by the Office of the Provost. The Buidling Bridges brochure in pdf format is available for download.


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The University of Notre Dame and the Building Bridges Mentoring Program received the NASPA (Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education) 2015 Promising Practices Award at its annual conference in New Orleans last month. The award was presented by the Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Knowledge Community to recognize the Program for its collaborative work between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. Arnel Bulaoro (right), an assistant director at Multicultural Student Programs and Services, was on hand to receive the award.

Housed in Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) and cosponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Building Bridges Mentoring Program matches first-year students with faculty from the departments that students wish to explore as potential majors. Since 2009 seventy-two external awards have been offered to first-year students participating in the Program. "Building Bridges provided me with extensive resources that were instrumental in developing my NIH application,” says Christina Mayuga, a first-year biological sciences student. “My pairing with [Prof. Mark] Olsen, my mentor, allowed me to make a personal connection with a faculty member." 

 


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Senior political science major Madelynn Green (far left) won first prize at the Undergraduate Library Research Award ceremony for her research skills. Green received the award for her senior thesis work titled, “From Decay to Cool: Street Art and Urban Renewal in Kreuzberg, Berlin and the East End of London.” Her research advisor was Ricardo Ramírez, associate professor of political science.

During her tenure at Notre Dame, Green received multiple research grants from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, as well as a grant from the Kellogg Institue for International Studies and CUSE. As a sophomore, Green received an award to participate in the Public Policy and Leadership Conference (PPLC) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
 
As a Bridges peer mentor, Green was a very influential figure to her first-year students, as four of the six started undergraduate research.“Building Bridges was a constant source of inspiration and a crucial academic resource during my time at Notre Dame. I loved being able to serve as a mentor for first years and I would encourage any student involved with Building Bridges to dive into the program. Do not be intimidated by your faculty [mentors], go see the phenomenal guest speakers, research a topic you are passionate about and apply to as many study abroad, internship, service and research grant opportunities as you can. You never know where you will find your calling.”