Welcome to BUILD PODER!

Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research (PODER) is a large undergraduate biomedical research training program established in 2014 by a $21.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Under the auspices of the NIH Diversity Program Consortium (DPC), BUILD PODER is one of ten NIH-funded BUILD sites that train undergraduates to become biomedical researchers. Along with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC), BUILD sites coordinate their activities and data to develop a national database of best practices.

PODER stands for Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research. Poder also means “power” or “to be able to" in Spanish. Through the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT), we focus on social justice and reducing health disparities in communities. CRT is the basis for many programmatic activities including the student Summer JumpStart program and faculty mentor training. At BUILD PODER, we believe that when we diversify the biomedical workforce, researchers will generate innovative and relevant research questions, methods, and interpretations that will lead to health equity. 

BUILD PODER is sustained by the formation of a new Health Equity Research and Education (HERE) Center that supports 4 cluster-hired faculty members and postdoctoral scholars in engaging undergraduates in biomedical research.


In 2014, CSUN was awarded $21.3M to create an experimental undergraduate research training program to increase the diversity in the biomedical workforce. The result was BUILD PODER, a training program for undergraduate students, faculty mentors, research faculty, and our community college partner institutions, guided by critical race theory (CRT, Solórzano & Yosso, 2002) and community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005). In 2019, we were awarded another $18.1M aimed at disseminating and institutionalizing our evidence-based practices. Over the past 8 years, our BUILD PODER team has been working towards these goals. And we wanted to share some student highlights with you.

We are launching the first of the student infographics about the impact of BUILD PODER. You will find five infographics an overview of all CSUN trainees, and one for each of the Biomedically-related Colleges. More infographics on faculty and student-related activities is forthcoming! 


#MyBUILDMentor Spotlight - CSUN Biology Professor David Bermudes

January 17, 2018

David Bermudes CSUN bio professor headshot

"In an effort to help the public and members of the Los Angeles Mycological Society (LAMS) identify what they find when they go mushroom hunting, California State University, Northridge biologyprofessor David Bermudes and mycologist Florence Nishida are co-teaching a monthly “Beginner Mushroom Identification” course, every third Monday at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. LAMS is a non-profit group whose purpose is to foster and expand the understanding and appreciation of mycology — the study of mushrooms and fungi." Read more

BUILD PODER Continues to Fight Inequity at 2017 Youth Empowerment Day

December 19, 2017

8th grade students give a poster presentation

“There are five times more alcohol advertisements in Latino neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods. I think you should know that,” said Johnny, an eighth grader who shared his poster presentation with a crowd of 150 during the inaugural BUILD PODER Youth Empowerment Day at California State University, Northridge.

Johnny was one of 120 eighth graders at Nueva Esperanza Charter Academy in San Fernando who received in-class science lessons from BUILD PODER undergraduate scholars, as part of their “K-12 STEM Outreach” capstone course. BUILD PODER seniors give back to the community through the course, teaching concepts of science, critical race theory and health equity. Read more

BUILD PODER Scientist of the Week: Jessica Yamauchi

November 14, 2017

Jessica Yamauchi headshot

When BUILD PODER Scholar Jessica Yamauchi was growing up in Santa Clarita, California, she loved to be outdoors. She enjoyed hiking, fishing and camping, but nothing made her happier than when she learned about and observed animals in the wild. She said her interest in animals inspired a scientific curiosity that fueled her through high school, community college, and lead her to California State University, Northridge. Read more

BUILD PODER Scientist of the Week: Paulo Sitagata

November 8, 2017

Paulo Sitagata

Cruising across campus on his pennyboard, BUILD PODER Scholar and kinesiology major Paulo Sitagata is always on the move. From class, to BUILD PODER student meetings, to his research position at the CSUN Center of Achievement Through Adapted Physical Activity, Sitagata is known by his friends and community as a positive individual who always progresses toward his goals.

Few would guess that the smiling and energetic co-president of the BUILD PODER student body club has traversed a long, difficult road to get to where he is today. Born in Orlando, Florida, Sitagata moved back and forth between his hometown and North Carolina before his family packed their belongings on a Greyhound bus chartered for California. It took five long days to travel over 2,000 miles across nine states, to the opposite side of the country. Read more


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