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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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WERC revamps fellowship program

WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development, has revamped its Environmental Fellowship Program at New Mexico State University.

gram is designed to encourage students to pursue higher education in an environmental field of study.

"One of WERC's primary objectives is fostering university-level environmental education," said WERC Executive Director Abbas Ghassemi. "WERC was created in 1990 to help the nation meet increasing environmental management needs. This issue is just as important today, if not more, than it was a decade ago."

The new program offers four levels of fellowships and requires student-to-student and faculty-to-student mentoring. The fellowships are available to students of all majors and range from $150 to $1,000. With the exception of freshmen, students must complete a specified number of environmental courses for each fellowship.

* Minor: $1,000 per semester is awarded to students pursuing an 18 credit-hour (minimum) minor in environmental management. They are required to complete a research project under the mentorship of a faculty member and participate in mentoring recipients of the book fellowship.

* Certificate: $500 per semester is awarded to students pursuing a 12-credit hour environmental certificate. Certificate fellowship recipients participate in mentoring recipients of the freshman fellowship.

* Book: $300 a semester to help defray the costs of textbooks is awarded to sophomore students enrolled in 1-3 credit hours of designated environmental courses. They are mentored by students receiving the minor degree fellowship.

* Freshman Fellowship: $150 per semester awarded to freshman students who are mentored by certificate fellowship recipients.

"The faculty-mentored research requirement for the WERC fellowship gives students exposure to areas that they might not otherwise experience. Often, it inspires them to pursue higher degrees and it always gives them an edge when entering the workforce," said Ghassemi. "The student mentors encourage students to become involved in the WERC program and introduce them to environmental research."

WERC has been awarding fellowships to students since its inception in 1990. In 2001, WERC awarded a total of more than $54,000 to students at NMSU, as well as at its partner institutions, which include the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and Diné College.

WERC is accepting applications for fellowships to be awarded for the fall 2002 semester. The application deadline is May 31. For more information about WERC environmental fellowships, call Barbara Valdez at (505) 646-7821 or visit www.werc.net.

Month 15, 2002