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Caltech Connection began in 2018 under the leadership of professor Scott Cushing in the division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. It is an outreach and mentorship initiative that pairs Caltech graduate student and postdoctoral mentors with mentees from local minority-serving two- and four-year colleges. With guidance from their mentors, mentees build their science acumen, confidence, and learn tangible technical skills to strengthen their academic and career paths in STEM fields.

Students have access to world-class resources and can partake in experimental and/or computational activities to gain experiential knowledge (depending on their mentor's capacity).

Mentors hone their skills in teaching, training and leadership while championing for STEM education. Faculty are available to provide additional guidance and input.

In addition to building invaluable relationships among a cohort of mentors, mentees, and faculty supporters, Caltech Connection hosts supplemental activities, such as meetups and lab tours by members of the Caltech community.

Partner institutions include: Compton College, Charles R. Drew University of Science and Medicine, East LA College, Pasadena City College, Santa Monica College and Cal State LA.

Student Success

It is our goal that every student feels more confident and inspired to continue studying in a science or engineering field. Some former Caltech Connection mentees have gone on to participate in immersive summer research programs at universities across the country. Some students have transferred into a 4-year degree program to continue their education. Other students have attended and presented at conferences, been nominated for prestigious scholarships, or have become more involved in research.

Additional Program Details

The program runs from November through May.

  • Mentor-mentee pairs meet weekly or twice monthly for 1-2 hours
  • Flexible schedules
  • Lab shadowing/work takes place during the second half of program
  • Interim reports and final poster presentations required
  • Small stipends available for mentees and mentors