Partnership for Advanced Marine and Environmental Science Training for Pacific Islanders
The ATE program, Partnership for Advanced Marine and Environmental Science Training for Pacific Islanders, is designed to improve technological education at the undergraduate and secondary school levels through the community colleges of the Pacific Islands by supporting regionally relevant curriculum development, the professional development of community college faculty and secondary school teachers, internships and field experiences for faculty, teachers, and students, and by strengthening the scientific infrastructure of the participating institutions. The activities include workshops that provide both training and the necessary tools to perform relevant programs at regional two-year colleges and minority-serving universities, research experiences and collaborations, secondary school teacher and student support, and will build on existing programs (NSF-Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology-UMEB, DOI-Marine Resources Pacific Consortium-MAREPAC, NOAA-Coral Reef Initiative) to address the scientific and technical needs of the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands: American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.
The Pacific Islands contain highly diverse and unique coral reef and terrestrial ecosystems that are under elevated levels of stress and degradation due to development pressures, the effects of over-fishing, and coastal pollution from sedimentation and the increased use of agrochemicals. The future of the Islands and their populations depends on the technical skills and knowledge available to local resource managers, policy makers and stakeholders. An effective means of providing critical access to accurate and adequate information, in a culturally appropriate manner, is to strengthen the capacity of the local institutions of higher education: American Samoa Community College, the College of Micronesia—FSM, the College of the Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas College, and Palau Community College. Input from local agencies, businesses and stakeholders, will identify the skills needed by the community college graduates to fill positions within the government and private sector.
This program is intended to produce a group of culturally-connected Pacific Islanders specifically trained to serve their home islands as informed leaders in natural resource assessment, protection and restoration. Further, they will be trained and positioned to provide information to the broader international community on the special problems experienced in island nations relative to topics such as resource sustainability, protection of biodiversity, pollution control and linkages between environmental and human health. This program is centered in the islands and their institutions, with a specific goal of attracting future generations of under-represented minorities into the sciences and technology fields.