CLEMSON — A new agreement that paves the way for Clemson University to do research with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could provide students with valuable real-world experience, while shedding new light on the climate and environment.

A memorandum of understanding signed Friday calls for the university to support internships with the EPA and for Clemson faculty to design courses that fit with the agency’s mission.

The EPA brings to the agreement data it has acquired through research and investigations, while Clemson specializes in developing new math and statistical models to answer scientific questions.

“Our goal is to take a lot of the information that the EPA is getting and trying to paint a bigger picture of what’s actually going on,” said Chris McMahan, an assistant professor of mathematical sciences.

For students, the partnership could open the door to internships, workshops and research projects that help advance their careers. The memorandum seeks to enhance training of undergraduate and graduate students.

“It’s going to provide an opportunity for Clemson students to work with the EPA and spend time at EPA offices to help the EPA with their mission,” said Colin Gallagher, associate professor of mathematical sciences.

“This could be part of their research for getting a degree. It’s also opening up opportunities for students to get jobs in environmental sciences as well as building bridges between Clemson University and government agencies.”

The partnership also will open the door for faculty to do research with the EPA.

The memorandum was signed by Clemson Vice President for Research R. Larry Dooley and EPA Deputy Regional Administrator for the Southeast A. Stanley Meiburg.

The memorandum calls for the university to promote participation in EPA internship programs and provide financial support whenever possible for students who collaborate with the agency’s employees.

Faculty will design courses that focus on statistical methods for analyzing climate and environmental data. Courses will emphasize applications consistent with the EPA’s mission, according to the memorandum.

The partnership’s objectives are to:

  • Increase the number of U.S. citizens pursuing Ph.D. degrees in mathematical sciences.
  • Provide a way for students in mathematical sciences to apply quantitative methods to real-world applications.
  • Promote student training in use of mathematical and statistical methodology and analysis for climate and environmental sciences.

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