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UVU’s Latino Scientists of Tomorrow program to be duplicated at universities across US

By Ashtyn Asay - | Jun 28, 2022

Courtesy UVU

UVU graduates pose with their diplomas.

Utah Valley University announced Monday that their Latino Scientists of Tomorrow summer bridge program will be duplicated at six different universities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

The LST summer bridge program began 13 years ago at UVU. The program was created to help 10th and 11th grade Latino students pursue their dreams of becoming scientists, business leaders and engineers. Every summer, 50 students participate in the program, exploring different scientific fields from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. every day, Monday through Friday, for seven weeks.

Through the LST program, students can earn up to six college credits. As of Tuesday, more than 450 students have completed the program, and in 2021 alone 134 students from 42 high schools across Utah — and two out-of-state high schools — have completed the program.

According to Yudi Lewis, Latino program initiative director at UVU, and co-creator of LST, 85% of those who graduate from the program go on to attend college, and the success of students who attend the program has surpassed her expectations.

According to statistics provided by UVU, students who enroll in the LST program are also more likely to continue their education in Orem. UVU currently leads Utah’s four-year institutions with the highest Latino student enrollment, and the number of graduating Latino students at UVU has increased by 425% in the past 15 years.

It was Lewis who introduced the LST program to national leaders at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

“After observing it in action at UVU for the last five years, the leaders were so impressed that they applied for a grant at the Dominion Energy Foundation to duplicate the program at colleges and universities across the United States.” reads a press release from the university. “HACU and DEF, with the help of UVU, will manage the national LST pilot programs.”

The following six schools were selected to participate in the program by this summer:

  • The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • George Mason University
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Sampson Community College
  • The University of Connecticut at Stamford
  • University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguaz

UVU will receive part of a $2 million grant from Dominion Energy to help expand and run its current program. The grant will pay out over the next three years from the Dominion Energy Foundation.

“All students should have access to a quality education and be provided with the skills to achieve exciting new career opportunities,” said Carter Reid, executive vice president and chief of staff for Dominion Energy, in a press release. “This is a step toward improving equity for Hispanic students and increasing diversity in STEM careers.”

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