Bridge Program fosters success for first-year engineers

August 22, 2019

Students pose with certificates in front of a projection screen.

A total of 40 incoming freshmen participated in this year’s Bridge Program. Photo by Liz Lannin.

Transitioning to college is tough, and transitioning into a demanding major such as engineering is even tougher.

That’s why Mizzou Engineering debuted its Engineering Success Bridge Program in 2018, then expanded it to a month-long program for 2019. The four-week-long camp gives students an idea of what to expect once their college journeys begin in earnest.

The program is free to all participants thanks to campus-level support. A total of 40 incoming freshmen participated in this year’s Bridge Program.

“We do career exploration, resource exploration, connect with industry via site visits and more,” said Victor Bradford, director of the First Year Engineering Program.

The students participated in several events meant to give them a holistic picture of what life as a Mizzou Engineer will be like, including:

  • Living on campus and getting a feel for life as a Mizzou student
  • Meeting with faculty from each department
  • Taking site visits to industry partners such as Veterans United, Pepsi-Co, Aurora Organic Dairy, and Spartan Light Metal Products to learn about different career opportunities
  • Touring the facilities at the MU Research Reactor and Mizzou Athletic Training Complex
  • Reviewing course materials for several science, math and introductory elective courses
  • Taking part in the Guaranteed 4.0 program, a systematic approach to learning based on the latest research in cognitive science
  • Earning three credit hours for an elective course on public speaking
  • Being introduced to design by working on and presenting their own Rube Goldberg machines
  • Participating in teambuilding exercises

“Last year, students who participated had a better grade distribution and retention rate than those who didn’t,” Bradford said. “It was about a 3% retention increase.”

“The Engineering Success Bridge Program was just an incredible program. The ability to make new friends, have connections with companies, visit work sites, and meet engineering leaders is priceless,” said Wyatt Owens, 2019 Bridge Program participant.