EPA, Fresno State partner to lead students into environmental careers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Fresno State have signed a memorandum of understanding designed to increase environmental education internships for students, joint projects and scientific research opportunities for students and faculty.

“EPA will benefit from the great reservoir of talent, energy and commitment offered by Fresno State students and faculty,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest at the signing of the agreement on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the university’s Water and Energy Technology (WET) Center.

“This collaboration will enhance participation in environmental studies located here in the vital heart of America’s most productive agricultural community,” added Blumenfeld.

“Fresno State is looking forward to this partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which accents our university’s long history as a pathway to community improvement,” said university President John D. Welty. “This agreement will open new opportunities for diverse and underserved communities throughout the region Fresno State serves by offering our students internships that will lead to productive careers in an important agency in our federal government.”

The projects and research ahead, Welty added, “will benefit not only our students, but also our university faculty, the EPA and the entire community.”

At the signing ceremony, Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, Fresno State’s associate provost said, “Fresno State has been working for many years solving our region’s environmental challenges, with special emphasis on finding and efficiently using water and energy. Now we will have greater opportunities to work on these issues side-by-side with the EPA to maximize implementation of our research on the broadest possible scale.”

The collaboration helps address dwindling participation of students in environmental fields will enhance EPA’s efforts to diversify its work force, Fresno State has been recognized by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and has undertaken numerous initiatives to attract students from the region’s under-served populations and open opportunities to career achievement.

At the same time, Fresno State is the region’s leading academic and research university focusing on addressing such regional needs as water development and efficient use for urban and agricultural use, air quality and accelerated economic growth.

Besides internships for Fresno State students, the partnership includes EPA participation in on-campus career orientations and other outreach to students, faculty and alumni. Fresno State faculty and students will be invited to public policy forums, presentations and other EPA events, while EPA staff will participate in Fresno State lectures, conferences and other events.

Curriculum development with EPA expertise, access to EPA research facilities and instrumentation, faculty serving as visiting scientists/researchers for the EPA and EPA staffers mentoring and coaching Fresno State students are other components of collaboration.

For more information, contact Michael Ardito, EPA regional media relations, 415.972.3081 or ardito.michael@epa.gov.

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Lanny Larson

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Editor, University Communications
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