December 31, 2019

Mesa Bridges Students' Success

By Office of Communications

Bridges to the Baccalaureate Scholars, 2019

With the passing of each academic year, Mesa College continues to be honored by the academic and professional achievements of our past and present Olympians. Those include the merits and accolades of our developing scientists in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, which supports scholars from historically underrepresented backgrounds as they plan to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree in biomedical or behavioral science.

This past fall in Anaheim, CA, one of Mesa College’s Bridges Scholars, Kevin Cortez competed alongside nearly 2,100 undergraduate and graduate student researchers at the 2019 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). His research, entitled “Inhibitory Effects of Fatty Acid Ester Vitamin C Derivatives on Rabbit Muscle Phosphofructokinase-1,” earned him a top award in Biochemistry at the Conference, making him one of five Mesa Bridges scholars to receive a research award at a National Conference in the past five years.

Our other Bridges Scholars who had their research abstracts accepted and presented at ABRCMS 2019 include Pixie Rose, Daniel Woerner, Stephanie Osuocha, and Francheska Salazar.

Previous Conference winners include Carolina Castaneda at ABRCMS in 2017, Emmanuel Gutierrez at SACNAS in 2016, Samantha Barrera at SACNAS in 2015, and Adam Abdi at ABRCMS in 2015. Like Cortez, these students worked with Program Director, Dr. Edward Alexander, to research the synthesis of fatty acid derivatives of Vitamin C and analyze the compounds’ inhibition properties. Recognizing that these compounds inhibit the enzymes that metabolize glucose, the students’ work implicates Vitamin C derivatives as a component of a potential anti-cancer drug.

Many of our students who have benefited from the Bridges Program’s academic enrichment and support in research have gone on to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies at institutions across the nation. They are researchers, doctors, psychologists, biologists, chemists, and always, our Bridges Scholars. Their accomplishments are a great honor for Mesa College and our Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program.


The Bridges to the Baccalaureate program is currently recruiting talented science undergraduates who are committed to pursuing an advanced degree in the biomedical or behavioral sciences. The program includes faculty mentoring, possible summer salaries for research training in a science laboratory, funding to attend professional conferences, networking opportunities, and more. Visit the Bridges to Baccalaureate page on the Mesa College website to learn more and see if you meet the eligibility requirements to apply, or contact Mesa Bridges’ Program Director, Dr. Edward Alexander ( with any questions. 

Tags: STEM, Student Research, Bridges to the Baccalaureate