NOAA 2002-003
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The new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center will officially open Jan. 14 during a ceremony at The City College of the City University of New York. The new center will conduct research and training that focuses on remote sensing for forecasting and air and water quality monitoring, along with development of remote sensing applications for environmental assessment and forecasting.

NOAA, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and CUNY City College entered a partnership to form the center under NOAA's Educational Partnership Program, a $15 million initiative that provides advanced, immersion education in environmental sciences to students at minority serving institutions. The center received $2.5 million and is expected to receive another $5 million over the next two years.

"This cooperative effort will be key to developing young minds, building careers and encouraging students from minority serving institutions to pursue environmental-science careers," said Commerce Secretary Don Evans. "With programs and centers like this one at CUNY, we hope to build greater diversity among those who hold earth-science positions."

Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Scott Gudes, and NOAA's National Satellite, Data and Informations Service's Assistant Administrator Gregory W. Withee represented NOAA and were speakers at the ceremony hosted by CUNY City College President Gregory Williams.

According to Williams, the new center will provide an invaluable service for the students. "It will combine high level remote sensing research with training and research opportunities for students in fields where they are seriously underrepresented, such as atmospheric, environmental and oceanic sciences."

With the CUNY City College Remote Sensing Center as the anchor, partner institutions around the nation will share information, resources and research. These partners are the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, CUNY Lehman College, CUNY Bronx Community College, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Maryland's Bowie State University and Virginia's Hampton University.

"This program ensures that NOAA and its partners - like City College - build centers of excellence to conduct science that matters to NOAA and the American people," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, retired Navy VADM Conrad C. Lautenbacher. "This center, like others established under the EPP, is an example of collaboration among institutions to train students and further science so we can best manage our nation's resources. Students benefit, the nation benefits, and science benefits from these cooperative efforts."

Remote sensing is a highly advanced technology that obtains and processes information about atmospheric, oceanic and earth conditions through a variety of observing devices onboard satellites or earth-based platforms. The data collected from these devices are used to formulate models for better understanding our surroundings, mitigating damage and saving lives. This technology is being used in many applications such as drought and flood observations, weather forecasting, hazardous spill tracking and coastal mapping.

"This event marks an important step for NOAA and CUNY," Gudes said. "It acknowledges the shared vision we have of understanding and better managing responses to environmental challenges that impact us daily. These students will help not only learn about, but also advance research on severe storm detection and monitoring, coastal management, climate change and water quality monitoring, among others. They are expanding our existing knowledge base and building their own."

Three other NOAA cooperative science centers were created at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Fla.; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; and University of Maryland - Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md., under the same program.

NOAA's EPP provides opportunities and programs for students at minority serving institutions to pursue careers in atmospheric, environmental and oceanic sciences and remote sensing. Along with the cooperative science centers, the EPP also includes the Undergraduate Science Program, the Graduate Sciences Program and the Environmental Entrepreneurship Program, which provides funds to support educational experiences that combine course work with environmental "hands-on" stewardship and conservation.

NOAA 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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