With the stroke of a pen and a handshake PRCC President William Lewis and EPA Program Director Ben Scaggs signed the Gulf Program into life Monday.
Scaggs said, "It's a good deal for both institutions. Not only does the EPA get bright, energetic people that are interested in looking at issues from perhaps a different prospective, but the students get a great experience that will provide them with opportunities in perhaps future employment"
"It's one thing for students to come here and to have the opportunities in the classroom and experience the engagement that they get here on the campus, but then when they step out into the real world and they're able to experience all of this; these new opportunities are out there through these various agencies," President Lewis said.
The Gulf of Mexico Program will allow honors college students to work hand in hand with EPA agents in the collection of data and future protection of the Gulf and the ecosystem it supports.
Lewis said in recent years citizens have become more concerned with the health of the Gulf. "All of that kinda took a heightened awareness, if you will, during the oil spill and the light bulb kinda came on for all of us," he said.
The apprenticeship of PRCC students will allow networking opportunities with the EPA. The Gulf Program is housed at Stennis Space Center where students will be able to interact with a number of other federal agencies.
Lewis said, "We're really excited about that and we're excited about the opportunity of our students to learn about the impact of the Gulf of Mexico on our environment and on our economy."