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EPCC is Recognized for Assisting Minority Students Better Their Education Goals

El Paso Community College (EPCC) has been selected one of 30 finalists by The Bellwether College Consortium for the highly coveted Bellwether Awards. Bellwether finalists represent leading community colleges whose outstanding and innovative programs and practices were selected among competitive submissions as exemplary.

The finalists will undergo a rigorous second and final round of review at the virtual 2021 Community College Futures Assembly in January 2021.

Rosalia Ortega, Assistant Professor of Biology

Bridges to the Baccalaureate Research Training Program at EPCC-UTEP (Bridges) is a finalist in the Planning, Governance and Finance category that recognizes programs or activities that improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college. Rosalia Ortega, Assistant Professor of Biology and Dr. Carlos Amaya, Dean of Architecture, Arts, Math and Science lead a superior team of educators in this program.

“This partnership grant has existed since 1993 and serves the students in our region by focusing on providing paid internships in biomedical research labs at UTEP, providing STEM tutors at EPCC, and providing ease of transfer from EPCC to UTEP with exposure to post-graduate opportunities,” Dean Amaya said. “Students who received support from the grant were more successful than their peers in earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees in STEM.”

Bridges supports EPCC and The University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) longstanding collaborative efforts to effectively train research-oriented minority (primarily Mexican-American) undergraduate students who bridge from the community college into the university and complete baccalaureate degrees in biomedical fields.

Dr. Carlos Amaya, Dean of Architecture, Arts, Math and Science

program aims to diversify the pool of well-trained biomedical researchers and scientists who possess the requisite skills necessary to significantly contribute to the biomedical research workforce through mentored research experiences, interactive training workshops, community-building activities, and professional development opportunities. Of the 174 students who participated in Bridges from 2014 to 2019, 111 (63.8%) have completed a baccalaureate degree.

For more information, consult the Community College Futures Assembly website at

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