PRINCESS ANNE - NOAA, through its Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions recently renewed an agreement that will provide $30 million in grants over five years to support the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
UMES’ LMRCSC is one of two NOAA Cooperative Science Centers at historically Black colleges and universities that train and graduate students in coastal and marine ecosystems and in living marine resources science and management—core science fields for the federal agency. Its mission is to educate and provide research opportunities related to NOAA Fisheries and NOAA’s healthy oceans research and management, while the Cooperative Science Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems at Florida A&M University focuses on resilient coastal communities and economies.
“These grants will strengthen the federal workforce by promoting and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility,” said Dr. Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator. “This funding will directly benefit students at minority serving institutions who we hope will join the future NOAA workforce and who will contribute to U.S. global economic competitiveness.”
“We are excited about this new center award and are deeply grateful to NOAA for its continued confidence in this endeavor,” said Dr. Heidi M. Anderson, UMES President. “This investment will be invaluable in enabling the University of Maryland Eastern Shore together with its partner institutions to build on its excellent record of training and graduating a diverse future STEM workforce, particularly in marine and fisheries science."
The LMRCSC, led by UMES, is a consortium of seven partner educational institutions that also includes Delaware State University, Hampton University, Oregon State University, Savannah State University, University of Miami and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Scientists and students collaborate on research and educational projects related to NOAA’s mission. In the past five years, the LMRCSC has trained 60 graduate students and 64 undergraduates, and graduated 18 undergraduates and 24 graduate students, while another 48 students are currently pursuing degrees, said Dr. Paulinus Chigbu, director.
“LMRCSC alumni are pursuing successful careers and making significant scientific contributions in academia, state and federal agencies, including NOAA,” Chigbu said. “Additionally, more than 57% of those that received bachelor’s degrees from the center have enrolled in graduate schools.”
Detbra Rosales, who earned a 2020 doctoral degree in the Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences program at UMES, is currently a National Science Foundation Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology post-doctoral fellow in UMES’ Center for the Integrated Study of Coastal Ecosystem Processes and Dynamics. She is working with UMES and NOAA researchers on a project analyzing the effects of comb jellies on Vibrio spp. bacteria and harmful algae species abundance in the Maryland Coastal Bays.
“The MEES graduate school community at UMES was very welcoming,” Rosales said. “We took similar classes, worked together on projects and attended field trips, all of which we most likely would not have had access to if we weren’t in the program. Additionally, the NOAA Experiential Research Training and Opportunities internship exposed me to working and conducting research at a NOAA facility that influenced my future career plans.”