Overview of the Program
SRESFS offers a variety of Environmental Sciences courses in its base program and also provides the opportunity for students to participate in ongoing research projects affiliated with member institutions, the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL), and the Savannah River Nation Laboratory (SRNL). These student opportunities not only foster the pursuit of careers and post graduate degrees in STEM related areas, but also allow students to be competitive in these fields. The SRESFS offered ten courses through South Carolina State University in its Course-Driven Internship during the Summer 2017 program cycle to 23 student interns from 11 institutions.
The Field Station concept was originally proposed in 1995 by Dr. Ambrose O. Anoruo, a science professor at South Carolina State University, and was funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the 1890 Institution Capacity Building Grant. The Field Station was also awarded funding through the Natural Resources Conservation Services as a Center of Excellence (COE) in the USDA.
Because of Dr. Anoruo’s earlier proposal, the Department of Energy (DOE) approved a grant in June 1996 to establish an environmental sciences field station at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina.
Following the DOE’s approval, Dr. Leroy Davis, the president of SCSU at the time, invited other regional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as well as minority serving institutions (MSIs) and other majority institutions in the southeastern region to join the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station (SRESFS).
Since its inception in 1995 and initial course offerings in 1998, the SRESFS has provided academic training and research opportunities to over 480 underrepresented students. The SRESFS has served to support, and in some cases redirect, the careers of students into fields of environmental science/ engineering and natural resources management. Though managed by South Carolina State University, the SRESFS has functioned as a collaborative effort with 31 member institutions, mostly Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), six of which are 1890 Land Grant institutions. The SRESFS advisory board consists of a representative from each member institutions part of its function is the recruit into the summer program.
Program Vision and Accomplishments
The Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station (SRESFS) works closely with its member institutions and other Minority Serving Institutions to actively recruit and retain underrepresented science and engineering students for the Internship program. In addition to the courses, the SRESFS member institutions have continued to expand their on-campus programs to compliment the student’s heightened interests in environmental sciences and natural resources. Many of the Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU’s) member institutions have developed Environmental and Natural Resource Management curricula, which has led to an increase in student placement in these professions. In addition, many students from the SRESFS member institutions are now enrolled in graduate schools studying Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management.
In 2012, the program expanded from having 29 member institutions to 30 with the addition of University of Texas at Arlington which has received the designation of a Hispanic Serving Institution. In past years the program only supported a small amount of students, but as of recently, with increased funding, we were able to accept over 20 students each year since 2015.
During the 2018 application cycle, 56 applications were received from 19 different institutions and over 16 difference majors. After review, 39 positions were offered and 29 were accepted. The 29 students came from 11 different institutions and 11 majors. For the 2018 cohort of SRESFS participants, 62% were female and 38% were male.
2019 Program Schedule