University Officials Hold Conference to Announce Historic Grant


On Thursday morning, Florida A&M officials held a press conference commending the Environmental Sciences Institute for receiving the largest grant in the university’s history.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded FAMU a $15 million grant that will be used over the next five years.

This grant will help increase minority participation in environmental, coastal and oceanic sciences.

It will also help NOAA meet its agency workforce needs on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“There is no question that Florida A&M University has a tremendous impact not only in the state but in America,” said President James Ammons.

As component of NOAA, the Environmental Cooperative Science Center was established at FAMU in 2001.

ECSC allows the university to partner with other institutions to increase the numbers in minority scientists.

FAMU was designated as the leading institution to partner with NOAA-ECSC.

The university had to compete nationally to receive the grant. The initial process for the grant, since its announcement was a year. The grant writing process took three months for ESI.

“This grant will help us educate the next generations of future scientist,” said Michael Abazinge, professor and interim director of the Environmental Sciences Institute.

Abazinge also served as the principal investigator to receive the grant.

According to Abazinge, 30 percent of the grant was designated to student scholarships. 

The monies allocated will help in scholarships, support for students to receive funds in education, research and training in environmental science; this grant will also support environmental literacy from K-12 to the doctorate level, according to a press release from the Office of Communications.

Ammons said he hopes that the scholarships awarded from this grant would help increase overall enrollment for the university. He hopes that with the grant the university can meet its intial goal of enrollment of 15,000 students.

 “When this school was started in 1995 only two percent of the entire nation workforce in the environment was African-American or minorities,” said Ammons.

As a component of the university’s restructuring process that began in the Spring, ESI is now referred to as the School of the Environment.

“We have programs and this center to graduate 40 percent of the nation’s PhD’s in this area,” he added.