The Bridge Adventure Program at Texas Tech University has selected its inaugural cohort of eight students, representing 15 major and minor fields of study across the university.
Bridge Adventure is a new program developed by faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources to create educational opportunities designed to promote diversity and inclusion in agricultural and natural resources fields through transformative learning experiences related to the natural environment. The program was established with a federally funded Hispanic-Serving Institution grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The two-year program will feature adventure excursions, mentored research, and a service-learning trip. These high-impact learning experiences will be designed to help students build community, value diversity, develop an appreciation for the outdoors and natural environment, and connect with regional partners to develop skills for their future careers.
Nathan Gill, Bridge Adventure program director and assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources Management, said Texas Tech is particularly well-positioned to strengthen diversity and inclusion throughout West Texas and beyond.
“We hope to provide learning experiences through the Bridge Adventure Program that can truly shape students’ futures as they select a career path and develop skills that are valuable in any workplace,” Gill said. “This program will make the strengths of the university readily accessible for diverse students, ultimately contributing to a more equitable and vibrant society.”
The inaugural cohort started their experience in Bridge Adventure on October 8 with a program orientation session. Later this semester, students will participate in outdoor gear demonstrations with Lubbock outdoor shop, Mountain Hideaway, and will complete a seven-mile hike in Palo Duro State Park.
Faculty in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications will join Gill in administering the Bridge Adventure Program. Lindsay Kennedy, an assistant professor of practice in agricultural communications, will serve as assistant program director, and Scott Burris, department chair and professor, will assist with adventure excursions. Courtney Meyers, professor and graduate studies coordinator, will serve as the grant’s external evaluator. Carlos Villalobos, associate professor in Natural Resources Management, will advise research projects within the program.
The following undergraduate students represent the first cohort of the Bridge Adventure Program:
- Richard Burke – Natural Resources Management
- Martha Hodgins – Advertising and Global Studies, English and Media Strategies
- Matthew Isaac – Natural Resources Management, Conservation
- Kierstynn Melton – Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering
- Kara Montgomery – Natural Resources Management, Atmospheric Science
- Daniel Ozlowski – Natural Resources Management
- Ashlyn Sneed – Ecology and Environmental Biology, Chemistry
- Madelyn Shade – Multidisciplinary Science and Education