Latino Scientists of Tomorrow Summer Bridge Program Leads the Way in STEM

Utah Valley University’s Latino Scientists of Tomorrow Summer Bridge Program (LST) is now a model for the nation.


Utah Valley University’s Latino Scientists of Tomorrow Summer Bridge Program (LST) is now a model for the nation.

The program provides outreach to high school students to promote higher education equity and create a source of STEM-oriented students to meet the job market’s needs. Dominion Energy recently announced its support of a three-year, $2 million initiative that will allow 1,250 students at seven colleges and universities nationwide to benefit from Summer Bridge Programs in their hometowns.

The program’s expansion is a dream come true for Yudi Lewis, UVU’s program director and director of the university’s Latino Initiative.

“I want to make sure that every student has the opportunity and support to achieve their educational dreams of graduating with a college degree or certificate,” Lewis said.

UVU’s Latino Scientists of Tomorrow Summer Bridge Program has a track record of success, encouraging high school students to move beyond summer courses and into college classrooms.

“About 85% of the students who complete the LST Summer Bridge Program come to UVU for at least one semester after graduating high school,”  said Daniel Horns, Dean of UVU’s College of Science and co-administrator of the LST program. “About 40% of those students are majoring in a STEM field.”

Once at UVU, those students are likely to stay. UVU leads the state with the highest Latino student enrollment as a four-year institution. The graduation headcount has increased 425% in the past 15 years.

The partnership between Dominion Energy and The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), which will manage the national LST pilot program, was formed due to the success of UVU’s initiative. HACU has observed the summer program for the past five years. The program serves 50 students from across the state every year. Since its inception, 134 students from 42 Utah high schools have completed the program.

"All students should have access to a quality education and be provided with the skills to achieve exciting new career opportunities," said Carter Reid, executive vice president and chief of staff for Dominion Energy. "This is a step toward improving equity for Hispanic students and increasing diversity in STEM careers."

Dominion Energy has agreed to provide funding to UVU and the other institutions for three years (2022-2024) with the opportunity to ask for another three years of funding (2025-2027) at the end of 2024.

“Our new partnership with Dominion Energy is a substantial investment in the success of our Hispanic students in the vital field of energy development and services, an undeniable necessity in ensuring the prosperity of our nation,” said Antonio R. Flores, HACU President and CEO. “We are excited to launch this new initiative at seven higher education institutions to foster skilled professionals able to meet the needs of the energy industry.”

The seven schools selected to participate in this program are:

  • George Mason University
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Sampson Community College
  • University of Connecticut at Stamford
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  • Utah Valley University


As the model institution, UVU will assist the other universities in bringing their programs online. The Summer Bridge Program will be available at the other institutions by the summer of 2022.