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EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES Humphries said the creation of the institute was a reaction to uncovered environmental injustice in Tuskegee, Ala., which is populated largely by minorities. “Stories about contamination in the rivers of poor communities, which served as a food source, dominated the media at the time,” Humphries said in reference to the history of the school. “It became increasingly important for us to do something about it. The School of the Environment has been a very important addition to the FAMU legacy. We owe thanks to all who contributed to the School’s inception. It’s an honor to see all the progress the school has made.” That progress includes successfully executing a bold mission that focuses on developing remedies for existing environmental problems and educating the community on environmental science and policy issues. More specifically, the school centers on offering scientific and intellectual preparation to students, ensuring that they are uniquely equipped to address present and future interdisciplinary environmental science and policy needs. SOE has established itself as a gateway for providing opportunities for students to receive hands-on experience with addressing local, national, and global issues related to the world around them. Among the students benefiting from the school’s offerings is 2016 graduate and Gates Millennium Scholar Andrea Pugh. She received a scholarship to support her FAMU education through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC), which is led by the School of the Environment. The center was established at FAMU in 2001 as part of a program designed to address ecological and coastal management issues at specific National Estuarine Research Reserves and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Under the leadership of director Michael D. Abazinge, Ph.D., former interim dean of the school, the center serves to increase the number of scientists, particularly from underrepresented minority groups in the environmental, coastal, and oceanic sciences; and facilitate community education and outreach relating to the function and significance of coastal ecosystems. As a result of the training Pugh received as an environmental science student, she has been nationally recognized as one of the first African-American females to achieve success in conducting research on Biochar and its value in improving soil and water quality. Biochar is charcoal produced from plant matter that is deposited into soil as a method of eliminating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

32 // FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY // A&M MAGAZINE

Profile for FAMU Communications

Winter 2017 A&M Magazine  

The Winter 2017 edition of the award-winning A&M Magazine celebrates remarkable milestones, including the accomplishments and anniversaries...

Winter 2017 A&M Magazine  

The Winter 2017 edition of the award-winning A&M Magazine celebrates remarkable milestones, including the accomplishments and anniversaries...