In an attempt to interest more black college students in environmental science careers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Morgan State University signed a pact yesterday to strengthen ties between them.
Nine Morgan State University students are spending this summer at EPA research laboratories around the country, and the agreement will likely mean more such opportunities for students, said Eugene DeLoatch, dean of the School of Engineering at Morgan State.
The pact also will mean that Environmental Protection Agency scientists will work with Morgan State students and professors on joint research projects, Dr. DeLoatch said.
Giving a hypothetical example, he said that electrical engineering students would like to develop a gadget that could be permanently placed in a stream to measure pollutants. The equipment could transmit a radio signal carrying the measurements to the university's computer where the information could be stored for analysis.
While that project has not begun, Dr. DeLoatch said, it is the type of cooperative program that could grow out of the alliance between the agency and the university.
Traditionally, blacks have been under-represented in efforts to preserve the environment, as scientists, bureaucrats or activists.
EPA officials said the agreement -- the first such broad alliance established with an historically black university -- is an attempt to rectify that problem.
EPA has not committed money to the university, Dr. DeLoatch said. "We may not see any immediate payback in the next few years."
But in the long run, he said, he would expect grants for particular projects and increased prestige for the university.