COSAM News Articles 2023 May STEM Summer Bridge alumni celebrate 25 years with fun-filled event

STEM Summer Bridge alumni celebrate 25 years with fun-filled event

Published: 05/16/2023

By: Maria Gebhardt

The STEM Summer Bridge program celebrated its 25th anniversary with a carnival-themed event. Alumni that participated in the program reflected on the impact this program made on their college experience and in their lives.

In 1997, the four-week program was created in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, to provide opportunities for historically underrepresented students during the summer before the start of their first year at Auburn University.

“OIED is a family,” said Catoria Sharp who enjoyed it when she participated in the program. “Dr. Mulligan has molded me into a young woman and a leader for tomorrow.”

The event was held on the lawn in front of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry building. Tents, balloons, and music transformed guests into an afternoon of fun and dancing.

Kimberly Mulligan-Guy is the assistant dean for inclusion, equity and diversity in COSAM.

“Summer Bridge has connected hundreds of students with opportunities that have helped them become successful leaders in STEM fields,” Mulligan-Guy said. “This program is a key cornerstone to help historically underrepresented students excel at Auburn University and beyond.”

Ashley Desilva was in the most recent Summer Bridge class.

STEM Summer Bridge 25th Anniversary Celebration

“I met people in Summer Bridge that I then had the same classes with them,” Desilva said. “I already had friends just starting my first semester at Auburn.”

Carnival attendees enjoyed cotton candy, ice cream, face painting and a catered lunch.

“The Summer Bridge program gave me a head start on my college experience,” said Michael Hudson.

The event also included family-friendly games such a giant checkers, cornhole and more. Attendees were able to play bingo to win an array of great prizes.

Katelyn Porterfield reflected on what she remembered most.

“I remember the end of the program. The fun times. The dancing. The sense of community,” Porterfield said. “I am still friends with many of those students.”

Paris Underwood talked about the importance of getting started before anyone else is at Auburn.

“Summer Bridge gives you a leg up on your first-year experience,” Underwood said. “You get all of this extra information and make connections before anyone else is even on campus.”

Sonya Wilson Jenkins ’92 is a member of the college’s Leadership Council team and attended the event.

“This was an amazing opportunity to interact with the students,” Jenkins said. “The carnival was fun and I had a great time watching these future STEM leaders here today dance and celebrate this program.”

Everyone who attended the event said it was a memorable occasion to celebrate a program that has made a difference for a quarter of a century.

“I have truly seen the impact that Summer Bridge has made in COSAM and on the entire university,” said Ed Thomas, Jr., dean of the college. “We are going to keep it going for the next 25 years!”

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