Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the SI Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program?

The Southern Illinois Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program (SI Bridges) is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) program that provides services and opportunities for underserved community college students to complete the associate degree and transfer to SIU Carbondale to finish a baccalaureate degree. It is an established, successful collaboration between Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), John A Logan (JALC), and Shawnee Community College (SCC). The training is in biomedical and behavioral science (BBS) research and is not intended to support students interested in pursuing a professional degree in health sciences such as a Medical or Dental Degree.

What is biomedical and behavioral science (BBS) research?

Scientific research in any field that informs and improves human health such as biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, psychology, math, biochemistry, microbiology, plant biology, etc.

What kinds of jobs are available for those who study BBS?

The jobs are plentiful and generally pay very well. Visit our Career Opportunities page for more information about careers in BBS research.

What is the timeline for the SI Bridges Program?

The SI Bridges students will participate in a two-year program while working on their Associates Degree at JALC or SCC and the second year while transferred to SIUC. During the two years, students will receive stipend up to $12,000 while they participate in the program.


Year 1- While at Community College

Fa1— Application and Selection of Scholars

Sp1— Connecting Life Course- 4 hrs per week
Total Earned: $1380 ($15 x 4 hrs/wk over 23 weeks)

Su1— Summer Research Institute- 37.5 hrs per week
Total Earned: $5625 ($15 x 37.5 hrs/wk over 10 weeks)

Year 2- Transferred to SIUC

Fa2— Reasoning to Research & STEM Research
Total Earned: $2925 ($15 x13 hrs/wk 15 weeks)

Sp2— STEM Research 10 hrs per week
Total Earned: $2250 ($15 x 10 hrs/wk over 15 weeks)

Su2— Summer Research Institute 37.5 hrs/week
Total Earned: $5625 ($15 x 37.5 hrs/wk over 10 weeks)

 How can I apply for the SI Bridges Program?

The application form can be downloaded from our website- Prospective students can submit their completed application to their respective community college representatives:


Hannah Henson, JALC

Lori Armstrong, SCC

You can also email the application to our SIU representative- Dr. Laxmi Sagwan-Barkdoll at

How do I know if I am eligible to participate in the SI Bridges program?

You are eligible to apply if you meet the following qualifications:

  • You are a US citizen or US permanent resident
  • Meet one or more of the following eligibility criteria
    • You are a first-generation college student because neither of your parents has a bachelor’s degree
    • You have a demonstrated financial need based on FAFSA
    • You have a documented physical or mental disability
    • You are a member of an underrepresented minority group (African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska Native or Pacific Islander)
  • Will transfer to SIUC to complete the Baccalaureate
  • Full-time student (minimum of 12 hours) enrolled in a BBS degree program
  • Have completed one year of community college by the time of acceptance to SI Bridges
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.7 at the college level
  • Have a career interest in biomedical or behavioral sciences.

 What documents do I need to apply?

  • Application
  • Essay
  • High School and Community College Unofficial Transcript
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Copy of FAFSA

If I join SI Bridges, what should I study while I am at John A. Logan College or Shawnee Community College?

A: There are many paths to becoming a BBS researcher, and we encourage you to pursue an academic path that best fits your interests and goals. Generally speaking, we strongly encourage you to take as many advanced science and mathematics courses as possible. These courses will help you succeed in the SI Bridges program and in your career as a researcher. Contact us for help with academic planning.

Can I participate in the SI Bridges program as a freshman?

No. Freshmen can apply for the SI Bridges program for their upcoming sophomore year.

 What is the Summer Research Institute (SRI)? 

The Summer Research Institute is an 8-10-week, full-time experience that solidifies technical and communication skills, while developing analysis, troubleshooting, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities. Participants are not allowed to work during the 8-week time frame.

 Where will the program activities be held?

All program activities related to the SI Bridges Program will be conducted at SIUC. Based on all the participant's class schedules, the activities may take place after school or on Saturdays.

 I am traveling more than 50 miles away from SIUC. How does that work?

SI Bridges students while at Shawnee Community College will receive travel reimbursement each week during the academic year to the SIUC campus. Those same students will also receive university-authorized housing during the Summer Research Immersion, year 1.

 What are the expectations of a SI Bridges Scholar?

  • Maintain a GPA of 2.75 or higher in a science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) or behavioral science major
  • Participate in all scheduled learning experiences and events
  • Participate in recruiting events for future SI Bridges students
  • Mentor new students in the program 
  • Participate in all program assessments
  • Communicate reliably with SI Bridges staff 
  • Ask questions and seek assistance as needed
  • Complete a baccalaureate degree in a STEM or behavioral science discipline

 What are some of the benefits of the SI Bridges Program?

  • Paid professional training through seminars, innovative courses, and authentic research experiences
  • Strong multi-faceted mentoring, academic advising, tutoring, and counseling
  • Professional development activities that include enhancement of communication and academic skills, success strategies, career planning, and exposure to BBS disciplines.

What should be my major at SIU?

Your two years at SIU will be when you specialize and focus on your major, i.e. your main field of study. There are many paths to success in BBS research. However, we encourage students interested in BBS research to obtain a strong background in what are known as STEM disciplines, i.e. Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Mathematics. Because the behavioral sciences are also important in the program, psychology and related disciplines are also appropriate.

Essentially one can study many fields in a manner that focuses on informing and improving human health, which is the essence of BBS. For instance, if you study human biology, physiology or microbiology, you are studying a BBS field. However, studying biology with a focus on zoology or ecology would not be considered BBS.

Other disciplines are similar. If you study general computer science, you probably won't be studying a BBS field. However, if you focus on bioinformatics - an interdisciplinary scientific field that develops methods for storing, retrieving, organizing, and analyzing biological data - then you are studying a BBS field. Studying biological physics or biological engineering would be BBS-focused approaches to physics and engineering, respectively.

Visit this link to explore majors of study at SIU.

Will I have the opportunity to make a difference as a BBS researcher?

Absolutely! As a BBS researcher, you could potentially be involved in finding cures for diseases, understanding psychological disorders, developing medical devices or new pharmaceuticals, and more!