National Science Foundation $3.5M Award Expands Workforce Opportunities for Virgin Islanders in STEM

Overhead view of students in the Grimes Lab at UVI sorting white and black mangrove propagules in the field (Photo credit: Kristin Grimes)

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) announces it has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) award for a collaborative project entitled, “Navigating Home.” Navigating Home expands the Workforce Fellows component of the current National Science Foundation NSF SEAS Islands Alliance and Securing STEM (Science -Technology – Engineering – Mathematics) Islands Pathways awards and brings $5.3M in resources to UVI.

This project engages the United States territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam, and it supports recent on- and off-island graduates who identify as Black, Hispanic, Pacific Islander or other underrepresented groups in the geosciences and who originally hail from one the three U.S. territories.

The goal of Navigating Home is to place recent graduates into new short (two to five months) and long-term (one to two years) marine and environmental science job opportunities which will build local workforce capacity. The training provided will be tailored to ensure graduates have the skills required to contribute to island-based marine and environmental science workforce.

“This program provides opportunities for Virgin Islanders to pursue careers in STEM in the U.S. Virgin Islands and builds on the strong relationships we have developed over many years with partners, like the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, who provide placements for graduates. Often these turn into full-time positions, which is the program’s long-term goal,” said Project Lead Dr. Kristin Wilson Grimes, Ph.D. of UVI’s Center for Marine and Environmental Studies.

***If you or someone you know is a Virgin Islander who is interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact SEAS Islands Alliance Coordinator, Elisabeth Leerdam at