Bridges to Baccalaureate

Bridges to Baccalaureate logoThe Bridging Arizona Native American Students to Bachelor’s Degrees (Bridges) is a partnership between Coconino Community College (CCC) and Northern Arizona University (NAU), and it is designed to develop a diverse pool of research-oriented undergraduates who bridge from CCC and complete bachelor's degrees in the biomedical or behavioral health fields at NAU. The Bridges program is particularly invested in increasing the number of Native American scientists from federally recognized tribes who will contribute to future community-led research efforts to address health disparities. This program is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).


This program requires a two-year commitment from Coconino Community College students (Sophomore year at CCC, Summer Bridges program at NAU, and Junior year at NAU). Selected students will receive two years of fully paid tuition, stipends to offset living costs, and research mentorship at CCC and NAU.


Please don't hesitate to email Melinda McKinney or Aaron Tabor . We are here to help walk you through the application and answer any questions you may have!



For more information and to apply visit the NAU Bridges to Baccalaureate site: .

Bridges Grant Contact

Aaron J. Tabor M.S., Ph.D.

Photo of Aaron Tabor

Co-Principal Investigator


Dr. Aaron J. Tabor is a faculty member at Coconino Community College and Northern Arizona University as well as the B2B program Co-P.I. Dr. Tabor completed his Ph.D. in biological sciences at Northern Arizona University, specializing on regenerative medicine. His prior education includes a Bachelor of Science, pre-health emphasis from Northern Arizona University, Master of Science certificate in clinical pathology from The University of Massachusetts- Lowell and a Master of Science in Biology from Northern Arizona University. He completed his commercial biomedical Post-Doc training in synthetic blood clot design for neurovascular work. He has a strong passion for educating others and loves the ideals and values of the “Bridges” program. He encourages all who are remotely interested in the sciences to apply for this great opportunity! If you would like to set-up an in-person meeting regarding the Bridges program please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Tabor

Melinda McKinney M.S.

Photo of Melinda McKinney

Program Coordinator - CCC

Melinda McKinney is a biology faculty member at Coconino Community College. She is the advisor for Students Advancing STEM at CCC, and has a strong history of community work with programs such as the Flagstaff Festival of Science and STEM City. Melinda was raised in Hawaii and attended Leeward Community College where she participated in undergraduate research projects that sparked her passion for scientific research. She obtained her B.S. in Physics at the University of Hawaii and worked with NASA to develop a STEM-based curriculum using real-time GOES satellite data. Melinda received her M.S. from Northern Arizona University. During her studies, she was able to climb Giant Sequoias and Redwoods as part of her research on limitations to water transport in trees, and to look at the effects of drought and insects on the anatomy of piñon pines. She loves working with students as they explore their passions and build connections with their peers and their community. Please send her a quick email with questions.



Hello, my name is Joshelle Tsinnijinnie. I am a Native American. Shí eí Kinłichíi’nii nishłį́, dóó Táchii’nii báshíshchiin.  Bit’ahnii dashíchei dóó Tábąąhá eí dashínáłí. I am of The Red House People Clan, born for The Red-Running-Into-Water Clan. The Folded Arms People Clan are my maternal grandfather's clan and The Water’s Edge Clan are my paternal grandfather's clan. I am a freshman attending Coconino Community College. My major is in Nursing and I am studying to become a registered nurse. My interest in nursing began in high school when I took several nursing classes. I enjoyed learning about the human body and the skills that later contributed as we handled real life situations in our CNA clinicals. Being a part of the Bridges to Baccalaureate Program, is exciting and I am looking forward to learning more about health research.

Adam Bradley attends Coconino Community College. He will transfer to Northern Arizona University as a Junior for the Fall-2014 Semester to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems degree at The W.A. Franke College of Business. Adam is also passionate about biological science and joined the Bridges 2 Baccalaureate (B2B) Program because it provides opportunities to gain laboratory experience, work under experienced professors, and collaborate with peers sharing similar interests and aspirations. “The B2B Program strengthens goal setting and conducting research. We can engage in current scientific studies and identify areas where we want to help improve life” says Adam. Adam believes humans and technology are capable of great achievements. He wants to use education to unite his interests by developing software geared toward science research and business systems.     

Eleanor Miller attends Coconino Community College as a sophomore. Eleanor is currently seeking her nursing degree at CCC. Once she completes her RN she plans on transferring to NAU for studies in forensics. Eleanor plans on taking her skill set back to her people of the Hopi Reservation for working on “cold-cases”. Eleanor joined the B2B program in the summer of 2013 at NAU because it provided opportunities for her to learn about the biosciences. 

Brittney Hornsby is from Flagstaff, Arizona. She recently graduated with my Associates of Arts degree in General Studies at Coconino Community College this past May. She plans to use this degree as a foundation to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse. She currently applying to several nursing schools within the state and across the country with high hopes of being accepted into Arizona State University’s highly competitive nursing program. She also intends to pursue a BSN degree and plan to continue her journey of discovering and applying the strengths of her talents and passions to those in need of care, comfort, hope, and inspiration at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is very fortunate to be a part of the Bridges to Baccalaureate Program because it has provided her with many opportunities to progress and gain valuable knowledge and experience. She believes her acquired research experience will benefit her in making a difference in her patients lives by providing her with the confidence to improve and promote the quality of life for many and accomplishing her goal to change the world one patient at a time.

Tiffani Becenti attends Coconino Community College as a sophomore. Tiffani is currently pursuing her AA in Business. Soon as she finishes she was to attend Northern Arizona University for her Bachelor of Science in Business administration and minor in Indigenous studies at the W.A. Franke College of Business. Tiffani also passionate about biological science and joined the Bridges 2 Baccalaureate (B2B) Program because it provides opportunities to gain laboratory experience, work under experienced professors, and collaborate with peers sharing similar interests and aspirations. The opportunity to get hands on laboratory experience and enhance their knowledge about the biology-related scientific fields.

Phyllis Coochyamptewa-Talley is currently attending Coconino Community College pursuing a degree in Pre-Forensic Chemistry and Criminalistics with a minor in Biology. While taking classes, Phyllis joined the Bridges to Baccalaureate program. This program gives Native American students the opportunity to get hands on experience and enhances their knowledge in biomedical-related scientific fields. Phyllis hopes that the Bridges to baccalaureate program will give her a more in depth knowledge and experience in forensic laboratory techniques. When she completes her degree, she hopes to better her community.