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The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Education Discussion Forum. This is a three-month pilot forum intended to encourage discussion among U.S. graduate-education stakeholders. Recent reports recommend several courses of action to improve U.S. STEM graduate education, but many of these reports lack input from the graduate education community broadly. This forum will provide the NSF Division of Graduate Education (DGE) a direct connection with graduate students, faculty, university administrators, employers, and others who want to contribute to the national dialogue. To get stakeholder input, the DGE will host moderated conversations on this forum. The DGE will post discussion questions in four broad topic areas: Diversity and broadening participation; campus to careers; the graduate education experience; and mentoring. The intent is to provide a forum for graduate education stakeholders to discuss challenges in graduate education and to propose innovative ideas to improve outcomes. The DGE will respond to general themes within the community discussion, but will not use the forum to answer questions about specific NSF programs. However, the comments and ideas shared on the forum will inform both the NSF and national dialogue about the state of STEM graduate education and new strategic directions.
To learn more and join the discussion, visit: http://nsfgradforum.wordpress.com/


Executive Summary

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities have been inextricably linked to their environments for millennia. Because of their reliance on natural resources to maintain traditional diets, lifeways, customs and languages, there is a unique need for tribal-focused research to identify impacts of pollution, dietary exposure, cumulative risk and climate change as well as to inform decisions to reduce health risks in these areas.

Recognizing this need, the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development, was tasked to establish the Agency’s Tribal Environmental Health Research Program in 2000 through the Science To Achieve Results (STAR) grants program. Since its inception, the program has funded 10 STAR grants for tribal environmental health research, many of which are carried out on tribal lands by researchers from tribal colleges and universities and tribal health organizations. EPA also supports tribal environmental research via its STAR and Greater Research Opportunities fellowship programs; People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability (P3); and Small Business Innovation Research program. In addition, NCER, as the program lead, collaborates with EPA-sponsored partnership groups (e.g., National Tribal Operations Committee, National EPA-Tribal Science Council) to ensure that its extramural research program is responsive to tribal needs and research priorities. These grants, programs and partnerships support tribally led research projects that encompass traditional and nontraditional scientific approaches to collect baseline data linking culture and exposure.

To highlight the research conducted within the Tribal Environmental Health Research Program, NCER sponsored a series of webinars in 2009 and 2012. NCER leadership realized that it was critical to develop a synthesis document to communicate the outputs and outcomes of the program and expand awareness in this essential research area. This document describes outcomes of past EPA tribal environmental research and discusses future directions and initiatives.

The first step in identifying the tribal research outcomes was to develop a list of relevant tribal grants, fellowships, P3 grants and Small Business Innovation Research projects. This list was compiled through a targeted search of the NCER Research Project Database. The investigators for these studies were contacted to obtain annual and final reports for their grants/projects as well as information on the outputs and subsequent outcomes of their research. The information collected was analyzed to identify common themes throughout the various projects. Five themes emerged:
  • Cultural practices, language and traditional ecological knowledge.
  • Subsistence foods and water resources.
  • Community-based participatory research and community outreach and education.
  • Risk assessment and sensitive populations.
  • Impacts on regulations and management plans.
These themes serve as the basis for the format of this synthesis report.

Click here to view and download the complete report.



The 2013 GRO Fellowship and Internship Handbook is now available! To read and download this handbook, click on the down arrow next to "Getting to Know the EPA Fellowship Program in the left column. Click on the 2013 GRO Handbook link to read or right click then "Save as" to save a copy to your computer.


University of Texas at Arlington Congratulates GRO Fellowship Recipient

The University of Texas at Arlington recently highlighted junior, John Gurak, who was recommended for funding for the US EPA’s Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Undergraduate Fellowship. He will receive a total of $50,000 to aid with tuition, classroom and lab expenses, along with a stipend. Included in the fellowship is an internship for the summer of 2014 at an EPA laboratory.

Gurak’s research in Dr. Frank Foss’s lab at UT, Arlington combines chemistry with environmental sustainability. Dr. Foss’s lab can create catalysts, used in the process of making heterocycles that phase out the production or use of hazardous substances. Heterocycles are useful in pharmaceutical development and the making of light-emitting diodes. This type of research supports a newer field in the scientific community called "green chemistry".

The GRO Fellowships Program aligns with EPA’s national research program, Sustainable and Healthy Communities. In this program, tools are developed that look to improve human health and the environment, providing methods for a sustainable future.

For more information about the GRO Fellowship Program visit: http://epa.gov/ncer/fellow/

For more information about student opportunities visit: http://www.epa.gov/careers/internships/

To read the full article visit: http://phys.org/wire-news/139156744/ut-arlington-undergrad-recognized-for-green-chemistry.html


Accredited Online Schools & Colleges

Online colleges around the nation want to obtain an accredited status for many important reasons. A college’s academic reputation has a great deal to do with its accreditation status. Accreditation also ensures that graduates’ credits will transfer to other colleges, as well as be accepted by potential employers. All in all, accreditation signifies a school’s credibility, academic repute and the quality of instructors. Some schools are not accredited because they are too new or do not want to be accredited. However, it is in your best interest to either choose an accredited school that will be recognized or closely investigate schools that are not accredited. Find out why they haven’t reached accreditation, if they are pursuing it and if credits will transfer.

Accreditedonlinecolleges.org can help you with this process. We’ve gathered in-depth information on top-ranked accredited online colleges and created a database search that helps you find a degree program that meets your degree level, category and subject of interest. Here, you can also search between nationally and regionally accredited colleges and learn about the accrediting agencies that fall under these two categories.


Greenversations Blog

Discovering Silica Cycling

By Joanna Carey

I am standing, engrossed in quiet, on a wooden bridge in Northern Massachusetts, with a perfect view of the Ipswich River. I can see it meander once before it eventually opens up to form a babbling riffle. This river is alive, performing complicated metabolic processes as the water moves downstream.

Thanks to my EPA Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Graduate Research Fellowship, I went to this bridge (among others) weekly for a year, sampling the river for nutrients. While filtering my water samples here, people walking by would often ask, ‘how is the river doing?’




Since accepting the position as the Director for the National Center for Environmental Research, I have had the opportunity to be a part of EPA’s initiatives and commitment in supporting the growth of our emerging environmental workforce—and I am pleased to welcome our 2012 EPA STAR Fellowship awardees to this esteemed group.

Each year, students from across the country compete for STAR Fellowships. These awards not only represent the academic fortitude of each student in their dedication to expanding their technical careers, but also the continued excellence of their institutions for nurturing and encouraging the minds of our Nation’s rising scientists and environmental experts.

This portfolio highlights each award, which was based not only on the fundamental scientific merit of the individual research but also on the potential contribution to EPA’s research programs and, ultimately, to addressing the Nation’s environmental challenges.

This year’s Portfolio is organized according to EPA’s relevant research areas, including Air, Climate and Energy; Chemical Safety for Sustainability; Emerging Environmental Approaches and Challenges; Human Health Risk Assessment; Safe and Healthy Communities; and Safe and Sustainable Water Resources.

The research within these areas is both diverse and impactful, with topics such as tribal-related research, indoor air pollution, impacts of climate change, drinking water contamination, impacts of sustainable landscape design, exploration of non-conventional wastewater treatment systems, and many more.

Both the full PDF version and 508 MS Word version can be found under the 'Getting to Know the EPA Fellowship Program' in the left column.


Last Updated on 8/10/2015