Texas Tech Institute Earns $1.08 Million NIH Grant
July 11, 2008
“Plains Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program” partners with South Plains College to
encourage science education within underrepresented minority groups.
Jaclyn Cañas, director for the Plains Bridges to Baccalaureate Program, hopes to encourage
more minority students to pursue science-based graduate degrees.
Three researchers at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health recently received
a $1.08 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to implement the Plains
Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program with South Plains College.
Institute researchers Jaclyn Cañas, Stephen Cox and Trey Brown received the five-year
grant. The program will partner with educators and minority science students at South
Plains College to help those students transfer successfully from the college to Texas
"Our goal is to help minority science students succeed in college and stimulate them
to the point where they want to pursue a career in science," said Cañas, who will
serve as program director. "We want them to go to South Plains College, come to get
their bachelor's degrees at Texas Tech and continue on to graduate school."
Cañas said institutes for higher education must develop programs to help minority
students overcome the challenges they face in pursuing university degrees - especially
in the sciences.
While African-Americans, American Indians and Hispanics comprised 13 percent, 1.5
percent and 12.5 percent of the 2000 U.S. population, the 2005 Graduate Enrollment
and Degrees Report found that they comprised only 12 percent, 1 percent and 7 percent
of all graduate degrees.
Cañas hopes to encourage more minority students to pursue science-based graduate degrees.
They hope to have 48 students pass through the program in the next five years. The
first 12 students in the program will begin this fall at South Plains College.
Jay Driver and Philip Anderson, professors at South Plains College, and Texas Tech
faculty members John Zak, Jorge Salazar-Bravo, Juan Muñoz and Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz
also aided in securing the funding.