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Leveraging Interdisciplinary Nutritional Knowledge (LINK)

Leveraging Interdisciplinary Nutritional Knowledge The LINK Program is a collaboration between six Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in Southern California: two 4-year universities, California State University (CSU) Long Beach and CSU Fullerton, and four 2-year community colleges (CC) including Fullerton, Long Beach City, and Santa Ana Colleges. The LINK Program will promote the success of 26 underrepresented (UR) students in the food and human sciences professional and scientific workforce emphasizing Latino nutrition through outreach, mentoring, education, support services, research, and professional internships with community partners.


U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Award #2021-77040-34904

LINK Scholar Activities Chart

LINK Scholar Activities Chart

Program Goals

  1. Increase number of UR undergraduate and graduate students graduating
  2. Increase knowledge of nutrition, food and human sciences
  3. Increase capacity to apply nutritional science and promotion
  4. Develop leadership abilities
  5. Increase awareness of nutrition and health sciences/public health majors and careers 
  6. Align HSI efforts to support transfer student academic development and success

Program Activities

At Community Colleges


Three workshops per semester will be scheduled at each community college with information on academic majors at the CSUs, transfer requirements, and LINK Program information open to all students interested in majoring in nutrition, health science/public health or kinesiology.

Community College Liaisons

Liaisons at each community college will provide advising, mentorship, and assistance with the transfer process to students majoring in nutrition, health science/public health or kinesiology.

Coursework Roadmaps

Transfer Orientations at CSUF and CSULB

An annual one-day summer transfer orientation will be hosted at CSUF and CSULB to inform prospective transfer students of academic resources and student services, and explore the various degree options related to nutrition, health science/public health, and kinesiology. 

Coming Summer 2022. Click here to sign up to receive updates.

Undergraduate & Graduate Fellowship at CSUF and CSULB

LINK Scholar Eligibility Criteria

  1. Enrolled in a nutrition, health science/public health, or kinesiology program; 
  2. Minimum 3.0 GPA; 
  3. Incoming CC transfer or Master’s student; 
  4. U.S. citizen or national; and 
  5. Available for a one-year commitment with enrollment in at least 15 credit hours per semester.

Applications for the 2022 – 2023 Academic Year will be available Spring 2022.

LINK Scholar Activities

  • Orientation and Training – One-week summer orientation and training 
  • Learning Community – Three-hour bimonthly meetings throughout the academic year to receive additional training, professional development, advising, and mentoring.
  • Leadership Development – Participation and completion of the CSULB Leadership Academy. The Academy requires 6 workshops across one academic year focused on leadership, congruence and commitment, teamwork and communication, understanding conflict and restorative justice, ethical decision making and society, advocacy, and building communities. Scholars will be required to complete a theory-to-practice reflection paper after completing the workshops.  
  • Research – Ten hours per week of applied research with a faculty mentor during the second semester of participation. 
  • Summer Experiential Learning Placement (Externship) – Eight-week, 20-hour per week summer externship with identified government, non-profit, or private organizations to apply human nutrition knowledge in professional settings.

LINK Scholar Benefits

  • Conduct research with a faculty mentor on campus
  • Receive training on Latino nutrition and disease prevention, health interventions, and research methods
  • Engage in professional development
  • Receive leadership training
  • Enhance academic preparation
  • Engage in a summer applied field experience
  • Receive tuition and fees support for one year and scholarship stipend

Program Staff

Dr. Melawhy Garcia

Melawhy Garcia, PhD, MPH
CSULB Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Science, CSULB

Dr. Lilia Espinoza

Lilia Espinoza, MPH, PhD
CSUF Principal Investigator
Associate Professor
Department of Public Health, CSUF

Natalia Gatdula

Natalia Gatdula, MPH
Program Manager
Center for Latino Community Health,
Evaluation, & Leadership Training

Dr. Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez

Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor
Department of Health Science