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EPA and Fresno State Collaborate to Engage Students in Environmental Careers

Release Date: 10/16/2012
Contact Information: EPA Contact:: Nahal Mogharabi, 213-244-1815; Fresno State Contact: Lanny Larson, 559-278-4620,

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California State University, Fresno, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to increase their outreach to diverse and underserved communities by offering environmental education internships, joint projects, and scientific research opportunities to Fresno State 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. “This collaboration will enhance participation in environmental studies located here in the vital heart of America’s most productive agricultural community.”

Fresno State is a leading university in the San Joaquin Valley committed to partnerships for addressing regional issues with global applications. The San Joaquin Valley has many environmental challenges facing its future, including access to clean drinking water in rural communities, providing sustainable water supplies for both agriculture and urban uses, improving air quality, and accelerating economic growth in the region.

“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 Fresno State 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,” he added. “At the same time, joint projects and scientific research will benefit not only our students, but also our university faculty, the EPA and the entire community.”

At today’s signing ceremony, Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, the university’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 MOU will also help address the dwindling participation of students in environmental fields, and to help EPA attract a workforce as racially-diverse as the public it serves. Fresno State has been recognized by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities as one of 221 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) nationwide. A HIS is defined as a “college, university, or system / district where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25 percent of the total enrollment.”

The agreement between EPA and Fresno State provides numerous opportunities for both partners including:

    Student internships with EPA, during summer and/or the academic year.

    EPA participation in career fairs, on-campus career orientations, and other outreach at Fresno State events, in order to make students, faculty and alumni aware of employment opportunities at EPA.

    Fresno State faculty and student participation in public policy forums, presentations, and other events at EPA.

    EPA staff participation in lectures, conferences, and other events at Fresno State.

    Provision of EPA expertise and/or resources for environmental curriculum development and teaching at Fresno State.

    Enhanced access by Fresno State faculty and students to EPA research facilities and instrumentation.

    Fresno State faculty serving as visiting scientists / researchers at EPA.

    EPA staff members serving as mentors or coaches for Fresno State students.

    Joint research projects between Fresno State and EPA.


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