COSAM News Articles 2022 June Celebrating 25 Years of the STEM Summer Bridge Program

Celebrating 25 Years of the STEM Summer Bridge Program

Published: 06/28/2022

A year-long celebration to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Summer Bridge will officially begin on July 1!

In 1997, COSAM welcomed the first cohort of 27 students to the Summer Bridge Program. Developed and implemented by Dr. Overtoun Jenda, with the support of Dean Stewart Schneller, this program was designed to help students majoring in STEM fields to successfully transition to college. The program focused on academic preparedness, time management, and career awareness for students who have been historically excluded in STEM. Twenty-five years later the mission of the program has stayed the same, to provide academic and social support that will prepare students holistically for the rigors of STEM. 

On July 1st, the STEM Summer Bridge Program will host the closing ceremony to celebrate the 25th cohort of participants. Dr. TaShawna Thomas Stokes ’01 (Biomedical Sciences), will serve as the keynote speaker. Dr. Stokes, a native of Montgomery, participated in the inaugural Summer Bridge program in 1997. As a student, Dr. Stokes was incredibly involved in campus organizations and served as both a War Eagle Girl and Miss Auburn. Dr. Stokes went on to receive her medical training at the University of South Alabama and served as Chief Resident at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She currently lives in metro Atlanta with her husband and two daughters. Dr. Stokes is a practicing pediatrician and recently published her first children’s book.

In recognition of this momentous occasion, COSAM will host events throughout the 2022-23 academic year. Additionally, there is an initiative to raise $1 million dollars. These funds will be used by the COSAM Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity to support initiatives such as creating an endowed professorship, providing study abroad opportunities, and expanding scholarship availability for deserving students. To learn more about the celebration and to donate, please visit the 25th Anniversary website.

You can join the STEM Summer Bridge closing ceremony on July 1st at 11:00 am virtually at

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