WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) today announced $999,999 in federal funding for Morgan State University to study the impact of microplastics on marine ecosystems, using the Chesapeake Bay as a model. The project will create new opportunities for Morgan State students to participate in high-impact Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) research, as well as recruit and support students pursuing doctoral degrees. Microplastics, very small pieces of plastic debris, exacerbate other stressors to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, making restoration efforts more difficult.
“Microplastics pose an urgent threat to the health of oceans and watersheds around the world – especially for the Chesapeake Bay,” the lawmakers said. “This new federal grant funding will help Morgan State University lead the way in microplastics pollution research and accelerate aquatic cleanup efforts. It’s a clear win-win – helping us to improve the health of the Bay while investing in the capabilities of our researchers at Morgan State. We will continue working to secure federal investments for students that expand research opportunities and advance academic development at Maryland’s HBCUs.”
The funding was awarded through the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure in Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) program, which supports STEM research at HBCUs that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering disciplines.
In November 2020, the lawmakers announced $100,000 for a Morgan State-led initiative to increase minority representation in engineering. In August 2020, several of the lawmakers announced nearly $1 million to bolster STEM programs at Morgan State University. In 2019, Senators Cardin and Van Hollen announced $1.5 million to train STEM faculty and another nearly $1.25 million to build pathways for Black STEM students.