EPA, Alabama State University Sign MOU

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Mr. Blama signs the MoU, while Dr. Robertson (R) looks on with excitement.

To enhance scientific research, other opportunities

By Alloycious David (freelance Journalist)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Alabama State University (ASU) in the United States of America have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation in several areas, including the enhancement of scientific and technological research opportunities.

The MoU came into force on Friday, December 14, 2018, when EPA Executive Director, Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr., signed the document during a brief ceremony held at the agency’s office on Sinkor 4th Street, outside Monrovia.

Alabama State University’s President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr., previously signed the document.

The ceremony was witnessed by managers and heads of different units at the EPA, as well as Dr. Boakai Keith Robertson, Executive Director of Graduate Programs in Biological Sciences at ASU.

Dr. Robertson, who represented the ASU at the signing ceremony, said through the MoU, the EPA and ASU have expressed their intention to build a cooperative working relationship in areas of mutual interest over the next two years.

He said ASU and the EPA have agreed to access intern opportunities for students through various EPA programs, as well as career opportunities after graduation. Under the deal, access to scientific and technological research opportunities for faculty members will be made available.

Under the agreement, according to Dr. Robertson, faculty exchange opportunities within EPA offices will be provided as well as the provision, creation and implementation of a coalition of academic resources.

The deal also provides for the conduct of a series of environmental career development workshops for students and the provision of mentoring relationships with EPA’s scientists and policymakers, Ms. Angel Forte, a staff in the office of Mr. Blama said.

Ms. Forte, who read the MoU, said under the arrangement, a research-based design program to address the needs of diverse populations as related to traditional and non-traditional areas of agriculture and green industries will be addressed.

She explained that ASU will provide technical support and expertise, specifically in the areas of energy and climate change, protecting America’s waters, improving air quality and cleaning up under-served and minority communities.

Ms. Forte said that the MoU provides for the building of strong partnerships with communities, tribes and other states and federal agencies through public engagement, as well as conduct of joint research projects between EPA and ASU.

Mr. Blama said benefits that would be accrued under the deal with ASU are enormous, and noted that the entire country stands to benefit from the agreement. Blama said that capacity will be built under the MoU. She noted that under the project, EPA will seek faculty support for the University of Liberia (UL) and other institutions of higher learning.

Recently, Mr. Blama said the EPA and the UL through the National Adaptation Program (NAP) project entered an MoU for the establishment of a graduate school in environmental science at the UL. Blama further noted that under the deal, EPA will send staff to the ASU for internship, while the ASU will in return send staff to Liberia to build capacity at the EPA.

He spoke of the possibility of ASU tailoring specific programs, including “Disaster Risk Management” as well as “Climate Change and Agriculture Adaptation” in accordance with EPA’s needs for internship staff.

Blama said that President George Weah has reiterated his dream to take people from poverty, noting that this is why he calls it “Poor-Pro Agenda,” which does not mean people should remain poor.

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