NOAA 2001-R245
Contact: Bob Hopkins

Florida A&M Chosen to be Home for Environmental Sciences Cooperative Science Center

The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
has targeted $2.5 million to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Fla., as the lead institution in establishing an Environmental Sciences Cooperative Science Center. The award is part of NOAA's new Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI). The new initiative will award approximately $15 million in FY2001 funds for programs aimed at atmospheric, environmental and oceanic sciences and remote sensing research and educational programs.

The new Environmental Sciences Cooperative Science Center at Florida A&M will work with partner MSIs to develop methods and models to predict responses to perturbation of coastal ecosystems and communities and, to improve coastal resource management, and facilitate community education on the function of coastal ecosystems. Another primary focus for the center will be to promote education, research and advancement opportunities in environmental science for students in traditionally underrepresented groups. Other Cooperative Science Centers will be established in the areas of remote sensing, living marine resources and atmospheric sciences.

"This new education initiative is a special partnership effort between NOAA and several academic institutions to expand education, research and professional opportunities in NOAA-related sciences," said Commerce Secretary Don Evans. "I thank Florida A&M University and the other lead institutions for adding to a rich network of research and scientific resources that will benefit NOAA and the nation."

Official presentation of the award will be made at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2001. The other lead MSIs to host Cooperative Science Centers are City College of the City University of New York (remote sensing), Howard University (atmospheric sciences) and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (living marine resources).

"The NOAA Educational Partnership Program addresses the under-representation of African Americans in the sciences, one of the critical problems in higher education today," said Eddie Jackson, vice-president of University Relations/Public Affairs, Florida A&M University. "There is a major need for African Americans to play a major role in environmental issues that especially impact the African American community."

NOAA's EPP/MSI initiative is designed to support the development of quality education for students at minority serving institutions while meeting the prescribed goals of NOAA and the nation. Working with partner MSIs and other research and federal government institutions, the NOAA program provides opportunities and programs for students to pursue careers in atmospheric, environmental and oceanic sciences and remote sensing.

While four Cooperative Science Centers are designated, a total of 17 MSIs
will be funded and participate as partners at these centers. Cooperative Science Center
partners include:

Remote Sensing Cooperative Science Center

Environmental Sciences Cooperative Science Center

Atmospheric Sciences Cooperative Science Center

Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center

The EPP/MSI initiative also calls for the development of an Environmental Entrepreneurship Program, an Undergraduate Scholarship Program and a Graduate Sciences Program for students attending MSIs in NOAA-related sciences.

The 10 MSIs selected to receive awards associated with the $3.3 million Environmental Entrepreneurship Program will also be awarded during the NOAA ceremony on Oct. 23.

The Environmental Entrepreneurship Program provides funds through a competitive process to support education and training to strengthen the capacity of MSIs. Thirteen grants are awarded annually to MSIs that support program development and environmental restoration activities with the aim of increasing the entry of individuals from under-represented groups into environmental fields.

The Undergraduate Science Program offers students a 10-week paid internship program with NOAA and provides scholarships during the academic year. Students who continue training during the academic year in a NOAA-related field and maintain an acceptable GPA will be offered an opportunity for a second 10-week internship at a NOAA field site the following summer.

The Graduate Sciences Program provides financial assistance to six MSI students for graduate-level training in NOAA-related occupations. Students accepted in this program are hired as NOAA employees and commit to a tenure of service with the agency.

For more information on NOAA's Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions, please visit or contact the program manager at (301) 713-9437.

The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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