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GROwing Environmental Leaders for Tomorrow

Release Date: 10/31/2007
Contact Information: Suzanne Ackerman, (202) 564-4355 / ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - Oct. 31, 2007) Help Wanted. America will face enormous environmental challenges in the coming years, and there is a shortage of students pursuing degrees in environmental sciences, particularly among minorities and women. To ensure a diverse environmental workforce in the future, EPA is awarding Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) fellowships totaling $166,000 to four students studying environmental fields at Spelman College, a historically black women’s college.

“President Bush has often said that America’s diversity enriches us as nation, and makes us stronger. Through these competitive fellowships, we are helping ensure our agency is as diverse as our country,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “As this great institution instructs the students of today, Spelman College is training our best and our brightest to be the environmental leaders of tomorrow.”

Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) students receive support for their last two years of undergraduate study and an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years. Most GRO recipients have gone on to work in the environmental field, and a number now work for EPA.

Atlanta, for example, could benefit from the work of GRO fellow, Akosua Dosu, from Washington, D.C. She will work on sustainable or green urban planning in Atlanta that will have a direct effect on water. More green space (parks and trees) in a city provides better air quality, uses less energy by countering the urban summer “heat island” effect, and prevents runoff of chemicals into lakes and streams.

Spelman College is a private, independent, liberal arts college for women founded in 1881. More than 2100 students from 41 states and 15 foreign countries attend the college, which was recently named number one among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by U.S. News & World Report. Famous attendees have included Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple.”

EPA is now accepting applications from students for the 2008 GRO undergraduate fellowship with a deadline of Dec. 19, 2007. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.

Application information: es.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2008/2008_gro_undergrad.html

List of the winners of this year’s GRO fellowship awards, and more information about these fellowship programs: es.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/recipients/gro_undergrad_fellow07.html