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“EPA recognizes the need to develop a diverse pool of well-qualified graduates interested in environmental careers,” said Gwen Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 4. “We are excited about the opportunities this MOU presents to work with FIU’s culturally diverse faculty and student body to advance environmental research, education and sustainable practices.”
Through the MOU, EPA expects to partner with FIU on research related to a variety of topics, from water quality and climate change to pesticides and toxins, ecosystems, sustainability and natural resource management. Two primary areas of research focus include integrated ecotoxicology and risk assessment, along with coastal wetlands and ocean ecosystems. Two geographic areas of focus include the Florida Keys and the Everglades.
“FIU has a long-standing history of environmental initiatives and sustainable practices. Our agreement with the EPA will help us to elevate those programs and create new opportunities for our students,” said FIU Provost Douglas Wartzok.
The MOU outlines several formal mentoring, internship, fellowship and workforce development programs designed to pair EPA staff with FIU students, faculty and staff. These programs will be designed to engage underrepresented minority students in applied research and work experiences in EPA technical areas of need.
Since 1970, the stated mission of the EPA has been to protect human health and the environment. EPA has a consistent demand for highly trained, diverse professionals with science, engineering, administrative, and other technological skills to fulfill its mission. Based on data from the United States Department of Education, the number of students pursuing science and other related technological careers is decreasing. This MOU is intended to help to address the dwindling participation of students in environmental fields of study, and to help EPA attract a workforce that is as diverse as the public served.
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