More than 265 minority serving institutions (MSI) faculty and students, DOE personnel and Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) employees recently gathered for the EM Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (EM MSIPP) Achievement Workshop.

Garnett Johnson, mayor of Augusta, Georgia, right, and Greg Sosson, acting EM associate principal deputy assistant secretary for field operations, are pictured at the 2023 EM Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program Achievement Workshop. Johnson and Sosson discussed the value events such as the workshop bring to increasing science, technology, engineering and math awareness and economic development in the area. Such events also help fill the DOE employment pipeline, and workshop attendees are key to that effort.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – More than 265 minority serving institutions (MSI) faculty and students, DOE personnel and Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) employees recently gathered for the DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM) Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (EM MSIPP) Achievement Workshop.

It was the second year EM held the workshop. Greg Sosson, acting EM associate principal deputy assistant secretary for field operations, served as keynote speaker. He gave insight and advice for students and discussed the importance of EM MSIPP, which addresses the need for building and maintaining a well-trained, technically skilled and diverse workforce.

“I wish I was told to seek out mentors. It’s important to always think about where you want to be in five, 10 or 30 years. How do you want to be remembered? Mentors can help with that,” he said to workshop participants.

Greg Sosson, acting EM associate principal deputy assistant secretary for field operations, gives the keynote address at the 2023 EM Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program Achievement Workshop.
Greg Sosson, acting EM associate principal deputy assistant secretary for field operations, gives the keynote address at the 2023 EM Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program Achievement Workshop.

The workshop organizers, speakers, MSI faculty and, most importantly, the student participants were passionate in support of the program, and the results are evident, Sosson said following his workshop address.

“We are helping to fill the EM pipeline with our newest generation of highly qualified scientists, engineers and technical graduates that will be enabled to carry the EM mission forward,” Sosson said. “I was so impressed with the capabilities of our student participants as evidenced by the great projects being sponsored through EM MSIPP that will be applied to real-world EM challenges.”

Sosson added that there are many people to thank for the workshop’s success. He gave special thanks to his team at EM headquarters and SRNL, which manages the EM MSIPP for EM.

The event also featured EM field site panel discussions, breakout sessions and student poster sessions.

Student opportunities under EM MSIPP include:

  • Competitive Research Awards;
  • Internships;
  • Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station;
  • Technology, Curriculum and Professional Development;
  • EM/Minority Serving Institutions Shared Interest Research Partnership;
  • Postdoctoral fellows; and
  • Graduate fellowship.

In fiscal year 2023, EM received $56 million in appropriations for the EM MSIPP. The following are examples of opportunities the funding increase enables:

  • The Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station to add a cybersecurity track and is successfully supporting 40 students for the summer;
  • 31 EM MSIPP interns across DOE national laboratories and EM headquarters; and
  • 12 EM MSIPP graduate fellows and seven EM MSIPP postdoctoral researchers.

In April, EM released a funding opportunity announcement for EM MSIPP financial assistance awards totaling $24.5 million. The resulting awards will have periods of performance ranging from 12 to 36 months. EM is currently reviewing concept papers submitted in response to the announcement.