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EPA Environmental Education Grant to the University of the Virgin Islands will support careers in marine and environmental sciences

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Jennifer May-Reddy (

(New York, N.Y.) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the University of the Virgin Islands has been selected to receive funding to support career development in marine and coastal science among students in the U.S. Virgin Islands. EPA anticipates that it will award the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) an Environmental Education grant in the amount of $100,000 once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

 “We are very pleased to select the University of the Virgin Islands to receive this funding, and are excited that they are partnering with a number of organizations to help students understand how integral marine and coastal science is towards promoting environmental health, sustainability and the economic viability of the islands,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Locally-focused environmental education projects like this increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental and conservation issues and provide the skills needed to make informed decisions and be wise stewards of the environment.”

“Funding from the US EPA is critical to the support of the SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aquatic Scientists) Your Tomorrow Program at the University of the Virgin Islands.  This important career pathway program engages students from underrepresented and underserved groups in the marine sciences, from middle school through to the Ph.D. through programming and support activities with community partners. Such a program is important in the U.S. Virgin Islands because it is the only program like it in the territory and because it fills a critical gap in providing training for a new generation of scientists,” said Kristin Grimes, Project Lead, Assistant Research Professor in the Center for Marine & Environmental Studies, UVI.

“Thank you to the US EPA for supporting the SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aquatic Scientists) Your Tomorrow Program at the University of the Virgin Islands. This program reaches new, diverse audiences in the marine sciences and provides career inspiration through hands-on research experiences, professional development, and mentoring by underrepresented minority role models. We are so excited to begin this important work!” said Howard Forbes, Jr., Youth Ocean Explorer Project Lead, St. Thomas/St. John Coordinator, Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service.

University of the Virgin Islands - $100,000

Project Title: Supporting Emerging Aquatic Scientists Your Tomorrow

The University of the Virgin Islands will partner with multiple organizations including The Nature Conservancy, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, Penn State University and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources to build scientific identity and increase interest in marine and environmental sciences at important ages for deciding courses of study.

The project is composed of three parts, involving students in three different age groups:

1) Middle and high school students will be selected for the Youth Ocean Explorers Program, a four-week summer program centered around hands-on field activities and developing scientific skills.

2) The grant will be used to fund four, six-week paid internships for early college students in coastal science research or conservation to increase their interest and cement their scientific identity because so many young college students are turned away from science majors.

3) The grant will also be used to link the University’s Masters in Marine and Environmental Science Program with Penn State’s Biology Ph.D. program to give the opportunity for students to further their education in the marine and coastal sciences.

Background on EPA’s Environmental Education Grant Program

Since 1992, EPA has distributed between $2 million and $3.5 million in EE grant funding per year, for a total of over $75 million supporting more than 3,700 grant projects. The program traditionally provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques.

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