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NOAA News Releases 2003
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In an effort to attract more minority students to careers in atmospheric science, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today announced it has awarded a grant to Sojourner-Douglass College in Baltimore, Md., to establish an Atmospheric Science Education program. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

At a news conference at the college, John Jones, Jr., deputy director of NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), said the grant “is part of our continued efforts to increase educational opportunities for under-served populations and to promote a diverse, highly skilled workforce for the future.”

The Atmospheric Science Education Program will be designed to attract and engage minorities to study atmospheric science at an early age, then ultimately pursue careers in the field. The program will contain three parts — a “kids college” for students from kindergarten through the 12th grade, a summer camp and teacher training program.

NOAA and Sojourner-Douglass College also will develop a state-of-the-art weather laboratory on campus, where minority students can learn about atmospheric science all year. “With this concept, the students will learn the basics when they are young, and advance their knowledge as they get ready for college,” added Jones.

Dr. Charles W. Simmons, the founder and president of Sojourner-Douglass College, said, "When this college began [in 1972], it was envisioned to reinforce in K-12 students that their education doesn't end with high school. The establishment of the atmospheric science education program is a significant step in fulfilling that vision."

Frederick Douglass, IV, the great-great grandson of the famous abolitionist, orator and statesman, attended the news conference. He said, “To have a college that bears the name of my great-great grandfather be at the front of such a breakthrough program is reflective of his pioneering spirit. He was a man who valued education, and would be proud to see young African-Americans take advantage of a unique program like this.”

“The Bush Administration is committed to seeing that all students have an equal opportunity to receive a quality education,” said retired Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Programs like the Atmospheric Science Education to be developed at Sojourner-Douglas College can help create a better, brighter future for students and make it possible for more minorities to pursue engineering and science degrees.”

Jones said NOAA’s NWS already has a growing list of partnerships with minority institutions, including Howard University in Washington, D.C., Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., West Virginia State College in Institute, W. Va., and the University of Puerto Rico to prepare minority students for careers in atmospheric science.

“This is only the beginning. I'm confident that we'll soon see more minorities forecasting hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and researching the answers to El Niño and La Niña,” Jones said.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, hel9ping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

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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