Victoria Blair, Biomedical Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2015
Being a student in a very competitive major, it is crucial to take advantage of all of the opportunities available to you. This is why I am so grateful that I was accepted into the BRIDGE program. To me, BRIDGE was a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow academically and socially before I even started college. I learned the tools to be academically successful through the development of study habits and with the help of our very own tutors. There is no better feeling than arriving on campus and knowing 50 other students while most people didn't know anyone at all. This program allowed me to be a part of an exclusive group of engineers that go above and beyond their expectations through volunteering and reaching out to future engineers.
Akshara Thejaswi, Computer Science, BRIDGE Class of 2013
BRIDGE was such an integral part of the UConn experience for me; as someone who's naturally extroverted, BRIDGE really helped me open up and meet people who I would be taking classes with for the next 4 years.
Through the summer I got to know my fellow engineering students better and make some really close friendships before freshman year even started. BRIDGE really helped ease the transition into college - first semester was a breeze for most of the Bridgies becaues we already had covered most of the coursework during the summer! Walking into class the first day and seeing people I had already spent 5 weeks working and having fun with made my first year of college way easier and more fun than it would have been otherwise. Being able to get a glimpse of the type of work we would be doing in college and being able to get a headstart of the material was so incredibly useful, as were the super friendly and helpful tutors we had.
All the planned events (and unplanned adventures) were also really fun, and really helped us get to know each other better. Living on campus for those 5 weeks also helped us not get lost on campus when the fall semester started, which is more than can be said for most of the other incoming students. BRIDGE essentially gives you a 5-week running start into being an engineering student at UConn, and once the semester starts, you really feel ready for it.
I would highly recommend BRIDGE to anyone, it's truly an invaluable experience!
Samantha Mazur, Environmental Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2014
After deciding to come to UConn my senior year, I received a letter in the mail inviting me to do the BRIDGE program. My initial thought was why would I want to spend five weeks taking classes when I could spend it with my friends before we all went to college? As summer drew closer I realized how nervous I was to be leaving my high school and entering a huge university where I knew no one. Everything started to overwhelm me from the mere size of the campus to the enduring engineering program. I was mostly worried about making friends because I'm not very outgoing and I figured each class would have a whole new group of peers. I decided to do BRIDGE on the basis that I had nothing better to do that summer and that it might help me meet some peers and get more acquainted with the campus. However, having completed BRIDGE I realize now how much more it did for me. The biggest benefit for me was that by the first week of freshman year I already had a group of friends and I at least knew people in every single class so I never had to sit alone. I made my closest friends during BRIDGE as well as meeting some upperclassman, staff, and peers that continually help me out academically. Also, taking the four classes in the program eased my freshman year immensely. I definitely struggled with the classes we took during BRIDGE, especially calc and chem, but I spent a lot of time working on the homeworks with other students until I had a decent understanding of the topic. Plus I got to bond with other students that I otherwise might not have talked to if we weren't doing the same work. Being a student-athlete I was taking an extra 3 hours out of my daily schedule for practice which would have been a lot harder to manage if I had not been so prepared academically. The classes I have taken here are a lot more challenging than anything I've taken in high school but BRIDGE taught me study skills and provided me with extra resources to help me succeed. However, my best memories are from the different activities the tutors planned for us over the weekends. They definitely broke me out of my shell but made me have a lot of fun and I still like looking back on these memories with my current friends. Two years have past since I was in the program but I am still benefitted through the connections I made and skills I learned. Deciding to do BRIDGE was quite possibly the best decision I made after deciding to come to UConn and I would recommend it to anyone who is given the opportunity.
Gina DiGiacomo, Biomedical Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2014
I did not realize the real benefits of BRIDGE until well after the fact. No student fresh out of high school wants to spend 5 sweet weeks of their summer trapped in a classroom. Naturally, though I signed up for the program willingly, I wasn't completely psyched for it.
That being said, doing BRIDGE was probably one of the best choices I have ever made in my life. Of course, the early learning we did gave me a head start my freshman year and I excelled in all my classes during the first semester. Even today, as a sophomore, the work ethic the program taught me was necessary for my major is indispensable. Beyond the classroom though, and more importantly, the friends I made during my time at BRIDGE remain some of the closest people I have in my life. Having a supportive and genuine group of peers who are in the same boat as you throughout college is what has driven me to come as far as I have, and will no doubt drive me to go even farther in the future. I can't imagine life without doing BRIDGE, and even though so much blood, sweat and tears were shed during those long 5 weeks, I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Vincent Turnier, Environmental Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2015
Before I did not know what to expect, I thought that it was because the University was not sure if they actually wanted me to come to Uconn and by doing the program they would know wether to take me or not. Yet while in bridge I realized that it was much more than what I thought it was. I realized that BRIDGE is a community of people that are willing to help each other when needed. They give you all of the resources that you need to make it through engineering school. The network of people that did Bridge is unbelievable. My first semester was a success because of Bridge. If I did not take that chemistry course over the summer, I would have failed Chemistry for sure. I know it might be hard to give away 5 weeks of your summer, but its worth it. because when those 5 weeks are over you will wish that they never ended. Not because of the courses, but because of the friends that you will make.
Kevin Hunte, Computer Science and Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2015
Bridge meant so much to me. There is no way I would have the base of friends to depend on and the level of preparation for my first year that I have had without doing the program. It is without a doubt that if I did not spend the summer on Storrs campus, I would be lost beyond belief finding where everything is. Meeting so many engineers, within my bridge year and previous ones, has helped me in my classes tremendously. Bridge has also helped me develop a strong work ethic, and it is noticeable in other members as well. Whenever I am with other bridge students doing homework, there is always an overall drive to get work done. It is a trait that makes me want to work with bridge students much more than my other classmates. It was a wonderful experience and would encourage everyone to do it. The benefits last well over the summer, and so will the friends you make there.
Heather Fabian, Electrical Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2015
I was hesitant to make the transition from high school to college, as most seniors are. BRIDGE was extremely helpful for getting a feel for the lifestyle that I would soon be living. We were fortunate to experience four of the core engineering courses over the summer which was a great way to see how college classes differ from high school classes. There were ample lessons to be learned in five weeks that provided a cushion for inevitable mistakes that would be made. It was comforting to know that the mistakes made would not count towards your academic success. I was able to get an idea of the pace of classes, how to be okay with asking for help (a lot), dealing with stress, and adjust to living away from home. I would recommend BRIDGE to any incoming Engineering Freshman, as it provided me and so many others with the opportunity to explore "college" before "college". Overall, the adjustment period that is unavoidable when transitioning was made less daunting because of BRIDGE. It was also a great networking tool and has kept me involved on campus rather than the all-too-common feeling of being too overwhelmed to get out of my comfort zone.
Kori Salvietti, Mechanical Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2014
BRIDGE was the best college experience I have had to date. Spending five weeks with students who were in the top of their high school classes was a remarkable experience to learn new study skills before the fall semester. I gained friendships and a support group for when studying and classes got hard. Everyone had different interests, and over time, we all became friends. I am still friends with many of the friends I had during BRIDGE, and for that, I am very thankful. The Friday field trips to engineering companies is very informative. I was very intrigued by General Dynamics Electric Boat, and prior to BRIDGE, I didn't know really anything about the company. Thanks to BRIDGE for making me aware of the company, I know have an internship offer there for this summer. BRIDGE is a learning experience. College is new to everyone, and BRIDGE helps teaches you how to survive your classes, overcome the nervousness, and keep striving when you want to give up. Kevin and the tutors never give up on you, even after BRIDGE is over. Go to BRIDGE, have one of the best summers of your life, you won't regret it!
I'jaaz Muhammad, Biomedical Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2015
I honestly do not think I would be the person I am today without this program, which taught me how to learn on my own and how to maintain lasting friendships. Even though this program was, at times, extremely stressful and exhausting, it was an incredibly rewarding and exhilarating experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. If I could go back in time, it would be to do BRIDGE again.
The program is made to prepare you for college level learning in subjects such as computer programming, chemistry, calculus and physics. This workload prepared me well for UCONN Engineering. I knew that I needed people that I could talk to for this level I was smart, but I had very few people close to my age who I could talk to. I can say with absolute certainty that if I had not done BRIDGE, I would not have as close a network of friends as I do now. BRIDGE gave me the opportunity to make real friends, and I will forever thank BRIDGE for giving me this gift.
Steven Gomez, Molecular & Cell Biology, BRIDGE Class of 2015
Bridge provided me with a great college experience over the summer. At first I was nervous about dorming and living on my own until I met all the awesome and amazing people in Bridge. Once you get to know your roommate and everyone at Bridge the experience will be more joyful. One of my recommendations is to to bring an alarm clock that wakes you up if your a deep sleeper as well as your daily things you use at home such speakers, small TV, small fridge, snacks, A LOT of FANS (2-4), extension cords, clothes (professionally, daily use, all purpose), detergent & other things to clean clothes, dress shoes, ties, toiletries, flip-flops, plastic carrier to bring toiletries to shower, cash, towels, phone charger, school supplies, backpacks (small & big), flash drive, and other things that you would want to bring. Bridge also allowed me to meet students from different majors and make new friends. The tutors are awesome people as well as the entire staff. FYI be prepared for COLLEGE in general.
Good luck new Bridgies!!!!
Stephen Sam, Computer Science, BRIDGE Class of 2015
Bridge honestly was a truly special experience. In an essence it served as a foundation that can allow me to build my success. First and foremost, it provided me a network of individuals, older than I am that have been in my shoes before and know what it takes to succeed. They weren't just my tutors, mentors, and teachers but grew to be my friends. It opened me up to a pool of individuals similar to me or have similar upbringings that are striving to be engineers just like me. Those five weeks were fun no doubt, slightly stressful but nonetheless a beneficial experience. If it wasn't for those five weeks of BRIDGE, I wouldn't have achieved the level of academic excellence that I did my first semester which set me up to continue that in my second semester. I wouldn't have the friends I made through the summer that I've built a great relationship with,hung out with, and have also helped me in my studies.They are honestly the chillest people I've met here and those five weeks kind of brought us together. In a nutshell, BRIDGE was my stepping stone, to a smooth college transition by connecting with people as well as learning how to function and college and is truly and unforgettable experience.
Vernon Billington II, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2014
BRIDGE was more than a program for me. BRIDGE opened me up to new ideas, new experiences, and allowed me to establish a network of friends that would be pf help throughout college. I believe that if it was not for BRIDGE I would have struggled throughout not only my freshman year here at Uconn but throughout the rest of my years as a student. The reason for this is because during BRIDGE there were two very important qualities instilled in me, positive attitude and effort. While in the program I wasn't really to sold upon these two ideas, but as the summer progressed I found myself exhibiting those qualities. They help you a great deal when it comes to school work and preparation because as long as you have a positive attitude about the work, believing you can do it, and you put in the effort you will succeed. BRIDGE also gives you a head start on your classes for your incoming fall year which makes transitioning into college a whole lot easier on you. Now aside from all the positive scholastic aspects of BRIDGE, you will also establish an amazing group of friends. As I stated before attending BRIDGE makes you apart of a family of engineers who really do make you feel welcomed as an individual at school. The other "Bridgies" make sure that you feel at home and will go out of their way to help you if needed. That was one of the biggest things about BRIDGE that made me appreciate the program so much more. It puts you around people who also care about engineering and are trying to better themselves each and everyday, which in turn motivates you to do the same. The network of support that I got from the BRIDGE family allowed me to excel in my classes and let me know that if I was ever struggling with anything there was always someone around to help or at least try to help. BRIDGE was a very beneficial program that I would prescribe to any and everyone!
Daniel Bownoth, Computer Science and Engineering, BRIDGE Class of 2014
I really didn't know what to expect from BRIDGE. I only knew it was a summer program for underrepresented groups within the School of Engineering. I never expected that a five week program would play as big of a part in my next four years of school. BRIDGE taught me that you can't get through engineering on your own. You need to find friends that will push you and help you when it gets tough. I made those friends through the struggles that we faced together. College would not be the same without my BRIDGE family. Without BRIDGE I don't think I would still be working towards my engineering degree.