MIAMI – A successful collaboration between EM and Florida International University (FIU) focused on developing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students has expanded to include DOE’s Office of Legacy Management (LM).
EM helped incorporate a new workforce development program between LM and FIU’s Applied Research Center (ARC) under EM’s existing cooperative agreement with FIU. That agreement established the Science and Technology Workforce Development Initiative, also known as the DOE Fellows Program.
At a ceremony in November, two FIU environmental engineering students, Beatriz Perasso and Olivia Bustillo, were inducted as the first LM Fellows, joining 12 new EM Fellows as part of the DOE Fellows Class of 2019.
“We are excited to be able to support this collaboration between FIU and LM. It is a strong, successful partnership that EM has had with FIU for the past 24 years in support of our EM mission,” said Kurt Gerdes, director of EM’s Technology Development Office. “Collaborating with other DOE offices such as LM is very important to our EM workforce. Furthermore, leveraging this alliance to advance our STEM initiatives makes this effort even more gratifying.”
LM manages 100 sites associated with past radiological and nuclear material production and testing, and energy research — some dating to the Manhattan Project. At LM sites, environmental cleanup has been completed, or treatment systems for groundwater are in place. At more than half of the sites, LM performs long-term surveillance and monitoring to make certain that remedies continue to protect public health and the environment.
“FIU is extremely grateful to both DOE offices — EM and LM — for the support DOE provides to FIU STEM students, and faculty and staff,” said Leonel Lagos, the DOE Fellows Program director and principal investigator for the DOE-FIU cooperative agreement. “We are excited to build on the success of the DOE EM Fellows program and expand it to cover LM technical areas of need.”
Initially, the LM Fellows will study the use of natural materials to remediate metals in groundwater. ARC has used similar materials to study the removal of uranium from groundwater at DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. Their research will draw from existing knowledge on this topic and expand ongoing research to find suitable field applications to potentially deploy at LM sites. They will collaborate with SRS, LM, and EM.
“Partnering with EM to access the DOE FIU cooperative agreement allows the Office of Legacy Management to be part of a successful science and technology workforce development program,” LM Director Carmelo Melendez said. “Mentoring tomorrow’s environmental leaders is critical to the long-term protection of human health and the environment.”