University of Central Florida
Dr. Talat Rahman
Department Chair/Pegasus Professor
Esperanza Soto Arcino
UCF's Physics Department became a Bridge Site in 2015 with a goal to recruit and prepare under- represented minority (URM) students for admissions to a Physics PhD program of their choice. UCF is the second-largest university in the USA and is located in the 2.3 million-strong metropolitan area of Orlando. Bridge Program (BP) Fellows not only join the department with their cohort, they are also fully integrated into the graduate program from the very beginning. BP Fellows at UCF are formally full- fledged graduate students, with the same financial support and departmental research opportunities as any graduate student, while also having the BP's specialized mentoring and advising designed to help them achieve professional success both in the classroom and in a research group. Depending on their preparation, BP Fellows take either core graduate or a mix of graduate and undergraduate courses. Each BP Fellow is also assigned a faculty mentor for enhanced research experience. We offer a veritable cornucopia of research topics in both experimental and theoretical physics to choose from (e.g. Condensed Matter, Atomic/Molecular/Optical Physics, Biophysics, Planetary Science, Quantum Information, Physics Education). Further research opportunities are offered by our affiliated faculty from related units, such as the College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL), the Nanoscience Technology Center, the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center, Florida Solar Energy Center and the Florida Space Institute. Our BP Fellows are also expected to participate in professional development workshops offered by the College of Graduate Studies. At the end of their first year, BP Fellows have the option of continuing in the PhD program at UCF or seeking admission elsewhere, both through the normal process.