On Thursday, Aug. 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) 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 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 Pete Lopez, EPA regional administrator.
“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,” Lopez said.
“Funding from the U.S. 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 leader and assistant research professor in the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies at UVI.
“Thank you to the U.S. EPA for supporting the SEAS 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., project leader of the Youth Ocean Explorer and the St. Thomas/St. John coordinator of Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS).
The EPA is an agency of the United States government that has a mission to protect human and environmental health. Headquartered in Washington D.C., the agency oversees a number of programs intended to promote energy efficiency, environmental stewardship, sustainable growth, air quality and pollution prevention.