The unique capabilities of GWERD staff and its history of pioneering research have fostered the development of international collaboration and scientific exchange over the last 30 years. Researchers from around the globe have traveled to Ada, Oklahoma, to participate in active research or the scientific exchange of research methods and results. Some visiting international scientists have stayed just a few days; others have stayed as long as a year. Likewise, our scientists have been involved in research, scientific exchange, and technical assistance efforts in faraway places:
The World Health Organization, the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization have called upon the expertise of GWERD staff to aid in responding to specific environmental problems with far-reaching effects.
Education and Outreach
Upward Bound – GWERD employees volunteer to facilitate laboratory tours and presentations to high school students participating in the Upward Bound program. This program targets first-generation graduates who meet grade and extracurricular involvement requirements. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase degree attainment of students from segments of society that are under represented.
Earth Day Water Festival – Annually since 2004, employees of the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center have conducted the Earth Day Water Festival held on the East Central University campus. “Water Fest” includes fun, hands-on activities for grade school children and demonstrates how important clean and safe drinking water is to all of us. Participants include the U.S. Geological Survey, Chickasaw Nation, Absentee Shawnee Nation, Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer, and East Central University.
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program – According to the National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) strategic plan, within four years, 40 percent of NRMRL staff and 60 percent of NRMRL managers will be eligible for retirement. The strategic plan addresses the need to cultivate a pool of environmental scientists who will replace retiring scientists. To that end, the McNair program awards grants to institutions of higher education. The grants are used for projects designed to prepare participants for doctoral studies through the involvement in research and other scholarly activities. Each volunteer scientist/mentor from the Ground Water and Ecosystem Restoration Division (GWERD) is responsible for developing a project work plan for the McNair scholar. As mentors, the participating scientists contribute to the planning and development of the student’s career in a science, mathematics, computer technology, or medical related field.
Environmental Research Apprenticeship Program (ERAP) – This program is a cooperative agreement that provides research opportunities to students in environmentally related fields. The students conduct research in a setting structured by research mentors at GWERD. The program focuses on environmental research and technical assistance in the areas of the subsurface environment and ecosystem restoration. The students, who must have declared majors in mathematics, computer science, science education, biology, cartography, chemistry, physics, environmental science, or other science related field, receive hands-on experience. The program strongly encourages collaboration between several universities that will allow students from diverse locations to gain environmental experience.