Last fall, the inaugural cohort of the new Berkeley Bridge Graduate Summer Fellowships visited the Lab for a welcome and a preview of their eight-week program, which begins in the coming weeks. The fellowship is designed to engage first year UC Berkeley graduate students in active research roles at Berkeley Lab.
“This program really started with a conversation about diversity — how the University of California and the Lab could collectively work together to increase diversity in our future pipeline of applicants, at one of the earliest phases,” says Deputy Lab Director for Research Horst Simon. A collaborative project between Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion and the Office for Graduate Diversity, the Bridge Fellowship draws candidates from UC’s Chancellor Fellowship, which is awarded to exceptional grad school applicants who also advance the university’s diversity goals. The initial cohort was selected from candidates in UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry, College of Engineering, and the Physics Department.
“It’s really about us leveraging the campus and campus leveraging us to target graduate students,” says Simon. “With the competition for graduate programs, this summer fellowship possibility at Berkeley Lab gives UC an added advantage, and likewise it gives us a great pool of graduate students to work with.”
This year’s five Bridge Fellowship participants will have mentor/mentee relationships this summer, supporting research projects in Berkeley Lab’s Biosciences, Energy Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Energy Technologies Areas. Fellows will participate in a fall symposium to present their research experience, and ongoing engagement of this cohort after they finish their summer fellowships will be an important aspect of this program.
“This program will introduce these students to the critical role that national labs play, with the hope that they choose a career at a national lab,” says Simon.