Funding provided by the Dominion Energy Foundation


OREM, Utah — Utah Valley University’s (UVU) “Latino Scientists of Tomorrow” (LST) summer bridge program will be duplicated at six universities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico thanks to The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and a three-year $2 million grant from the Dominion Energy Foundation (DEF).

The LST summer bridge program, now in its 13th year at UVU, is designed to assist Latinos and other select students to become scientists, engineers, and business leaders. Each summer approximately 50, tenth and eleventh grade students from across Utah participate in the seven-week course annually on weekdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. where students explore science fields such as biotechnology and geology.

Students can earn three to six college credits by participating and are surrounded by success teams, which include parents, mentors, and faculty. To date, more than 450 students have completed the program.  In 2021 alone, 134 students from 42 Utah high schools and two out-of-state schools have graduated from the program.

Yudi Lewis, Latino Program Initiative director at Utah Valley University, and co-creator of the bridge program said, “The success of the students far surpassed our expectations. Eighty-five percent of the students who graduate go on to attend college.”

Encouraged by the results, Lewis introduced the summer bridge program to national leaders at HACU. After observing it in action at UVU for the last five years, the leaders were so impressed that they applied for a grant at the Dominion Energy Foundation to duplicate the program at colleges and universities across the United States. HACU and DEF, with the help of UVU, will manage the national LST pilot programs.

The six schools selected to participate in this program are:

  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • 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 Mayaguaz

UVU will receive part of the $2 million funding to expand and run its current 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.”

Statistics show that once students experience the summer bridge program, most of them continue their education at UVU, which leads the state of Utah with the highest Latino student enrollment as a four-year institution. The Latino graduation headcount has increased 425% in the past fifteen years.

The Summer Bridge Program will be available at the other institutions by the summer of 2022.


About Utah Valley University
At Utah Valley University, we believe everyone deserves the transforming benefits of high-quality education — and it needs to be affordable, accessible, and flexible. With opportunities to earn certificates to master’s degrees, our students succeed by gaining real-world experience and developing career-ready skills. As we celebrate the milestone of our 80th anniversary in 2021, we continue to invite people to come as they are — and leave ready and prepared to make a difference in the world. For more, visit or follow us on Instagram or Facebook.