Aug. 9, 2019  – SARASOTA, Fla. – Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, is extremely pleased to announce that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted a three-year, $1.5-million award for Mote to serve as the lead institution for establishing the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP): Marine Science Laboratory Alliance Center of Excellence (MarSci-LACE).

The LSAMP MarSci-LACE will serve as a nexus training, resource, and supporting partner to other independent marine research institutions, degree granting institutions, LSAMP students, and science mentors and faculty, with goals to:

  • Provide unique and authentic research and training opportunities to underrepresented, minority students that go beyond the training received by traditional degree-granting institutions.
  • Increase the number and preparedness of underrepresented minority students earning undergraduate degrees in marine sciences and related natural resources field.
  • Create resources and develop best practices to share among students, academic faculty, and independent marine research institution staff to improve academic and career retention and success in the marine sciences.
  • Show the vital role that independent marine research institutions play in academic and early career recruitment, retention, and success.

Mote’s President & CEO, Dr. Michael P. Crosby, is the Principal Investigator with responsibility for overall project administration and oversight, ensuring the sustainability of MarSci-LACE as a long-term national asset. Mote’s Assistant Vice President for Education, Aly Busse, is a Co-Principal Investigator and the Program Coordinator for all aspects of MarSci-LACE. The College of the Florida Keys, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF), Smithsonian Marine Science Station, and Perry Institute for Marine Science are collaborating with Mote in the MarSci-LACE grant.

Mote is the only non-academic institution to receive an LSAMP Center of Excellence award. MarSci-LACE is also co-funded by the NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) initiative.

“This new partnership builds on the unique Mote model for undergraduate research experiences and will strategically leverage specialized, non-degree-granting, marine STEM research institutions to engage with LSAMP universities,” stated Dr. Crosby. “We’re thrilled for what will be a paradigm-changing approach for increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in STEM, especially in marine science, technology and natural resource fields that have high demands for a skilled workforce.”

“At Mote, our education and internship programs serve as a national resource for hands-on, experiential and practical training to prepare students for marine science and STEM-related fields,” said Aly Busse. “We look forward to engaging more institutions, both academic and nonacademic, in this endeavor to ensure that all students have access to the resources needed to be prepared for a rewarding and impactful marine STEM career.”

“The College of the Florida Keys views this grant as a strengthening force in our partnership with Mote and our sister institutions. As a minority serving institution, we look for every opportunity to develop leaders who can bring diverse perspectives to the many inquiry-based endeavors that are necessary to inform policy decisions,” said Dr. Johnathan Gueverra, President of The College of the Florida Keys.

“We are excited to partner with Mote on this important initiative that will provide opportunities for our faculty to engage in experiential teaching and learning opportunities while providing critical hands-on internship experiences for students,” said Dr. Todd G. Fritch, Executive Vice President and Provost for SCF. “Our priority has been to ensure that our students, especially those underrepresented, have access to and awareness of STEM programs and career opportunities.”

More information about the grant available on the NSF website here.