40 percent of energy investments targeted to communities
Although advances like the Manhattan Project and supercomputers in the U.S. Department of Energy owe their creation to Black scientists like Roy Clay Sr. and Dr. Ernest Quarterman, African-American communities have been left out of the benefits of the economic development and commerce created with federal energy spending.
A September conference aims to change that as Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Shalanda Baker, Director of Economic Impact and Diversity, laid out in a preview. (see video) This is perhaps the most significant investment in traditionally Black neighborhoods which have born the brunt of energy pollution.
More than 100 educators, students and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) employees gathered over two days last week for the inaugural DOE Office of Environmental Management Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (EM MSIPP) Competitive Research Awards Workshop.
Nicole Nelson-Jean, EM associate principal deputy assistant secretary for field operations, the event’s keynote speaker, spoke about the growth of the EM MSIPP, both in its ability to reach students and its funding.
“Prior to receiving the $56 million in fiscal year 2022 for the EM MSIPP, we strategized on opportunities to potentially expand the program utilizing existing resources,” said Nelson-Jean. “Because my team conducted the necessary analysis and work on expanding the program, we were poised to immediately execute the $56 million appropriated for EM MSIPP. Today our program reaches more than 12,000 students in the state of Tennessee alone. I’m very proud of our hard work and dedication we put towards the EM MSIPP’s growth. I truly believe we have made, and will continue to make, a positive impact on opportunities available for students from Minority Serving Institutions (MSI).”
Established in 2014, the EM MSIPP is designed to help maintain a well-trained, technically skilled and diverse workforce by partnering with MSIs to develop highly qualified science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students.
There are seven components of the EM MSIPP:
- Competitive research awards
- Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station
- Technology, curriculum and professional development
- EM/Minority Serving Institutions Shared Interest Research Partnership
- Postdoctoral fellows
- Graduate fellowship
Those seven components are supported through $56 million appropriated for the program in fiscal year 2022. That funding has allowed for support of:
- 25 competitive research awards
- Up to 50 interns during 10-week summer internships
- Up to 40 interns in the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station
- Up to 40 yearlong graduate fellowships
- Up to 18 postdoctoral researchers
“The goal of this two-day workshop is to support technical networking within the growing community of EM MSIPP participants,” said Elizabeth Hoffman, director of innovation and university engagement at Savannah River National Laboratory. “For an inaugural event, we’re pleased to have had more than 100 students and faculty from 22 colleges and universities across nine states join us. As we work on building the future workforce to address challenging EM needs, we welcome expanded participation and will be looking at opportunities to facilitate additional technical workshops in the future.”
Students presented their research projects during breakout sessions in the morning and afternoon on both days of the workshop. Poster sessions also were held.