Breaking Down Barriers

The University or Arizona, recently designated a Hispanic Serving Institution, has several programs that strengthen diversity in STEM education. One of them is the Bridge to the Doctorate program. Jim Field, assistant dean for graduate education in the College of Engineering, is principal investigator for the project, which is helping prepare its third UA cohort for competitive PhD programs.

Programs Benefits 2018-20 Cohort Fast Facts Contact

Bridge to Doctorate

Underrepresented groups make up nearly a third of the U.S. population. But only about 13 percent of U.S. citizens with science and engineering PhDs are from underrepresented populations.

Bridge to Doctorate Fosters Inclusivity

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate program supports engineering and science students through their master’s degrees and transitions into doctoral programs. The two-year fellowships for underrepresented students – African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Native Pacific Islanders – cover tuition and provide $32,000 annually, plus health insurance and a professional development stipend.

Students benefit from a community of mentors and hone their professional skills attending conferences and participating in organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and the National Society of Black Engineers.

Read more about the Bridge to Doctorate program in a recent UA Engineering news story.

National Science Foundation

2018-2020 Cohort


Zachary Binger

Zachary Binger, PhD studies

Chemical Engineering
Adviser: Assistant Professor Andrea Achilli

Jorge Alberto Castro Maldonado

Jorge Alberto Castro Maldonado, PhD studies

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Adviser: Associate Professor Jesse Little

Nathan Alexander Moreno Reiland

Nathan Alexander Moreno Reiland, MS program

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Adviser: Assistant Professor Aaron Rosengren

Joseph Moya

Joseph Moya, MS program

Civil and Architectural Engineering and Mechanics
Adviser: Professor Robert Fleischman

Erica T. Vanover

Erica T. Vanover, MS program

Environmental Engineering
Adviser: Professor Reyes Sierra-Alvarez

Andres Angel Nuncio Zuniga

Andres Angel Nuncio Zuniga, PhD studies

Biomedical Engineering
Adviser: Professor Jeong-Yeol Yoon


Joseph Anthony Agosttini

Joseph Anthony Agosttini, MS program

Adviser: Associate Professor John Konhilas

Terrance Delisser

Terrance Delisser, MS program

Adviser: Professor Roy Johnson

Danielle Johnson

Danielle Johnson, PhD studies

Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Adviser: Professor Daniela Zarnescu

Pierce Alyn Longmire

Pierce Alyn Longmire, MS program

Molecular and Cellular Biology
Adviser: Associate Professor Nathan Ellis

Anissa Y. McKenna

Anissa Y. McKenna, MS program

Soil, Water and Environmental Science
Adviser: Professor Jon Chorover

Fast Facts


Jennifer Salazar

Jennifer Salazar


“I decided to become an engineer because I wanted to learn technical skills that I could use to create positive change. With this fellowship, I could fully dedicate myself to my studies and research.”

Jennifer Salazar, biosystems engineering, 2016-2018 cohort
Daniel Lizarraga

Daniel Lizarraga


“My parents were architects in Mexico, and I always had an interest in the engineering field. This program made it possible for me to obtain my graduate degree.”

Daniel Lizarraga, civil engineering, 2016-2018 cohort
Jim Field

Jim Field


“With nearly a quarter of graduate students from underrepresented minority groups, the UA has been a leader in increasing diversity among graduate students. This grant helps relieve one of the huge barriers – the financial part.”

Professor Jim Field, principal investigator, NSF Bridge to the Doctorate project
David Lopez

David Lopez


“One of the most valuable assets of the fellowship is the sense of community. It is important to know there are people you can reach out to when things are rough.”

David Lopez, chemical engineering, 2016-2018 cohort


Danielle Johnson

Christina Douglas

Program Coordinator, Senior

College of Engineering Graduate Education

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