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VI-EPSCoR Conference to Begin with Marine Facility Rededication

The Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR) will launch its annual conference with the rededication of the newly renovated state-of-the-art MacLean Marine Science Center on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus. This year's conference theme is "Celebrating the Past Five Years of Supporting Research in the U.S. Virgin Islands." The two-day conference will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 12, in the MacLean Marine Science Center. There will be a rededication ceremony and a tour of the research facility. The public is invited.

"The rededication of the center is another milestone at UVI that VI-EPSCoR was able to help achieve and it will be a proud moment for all of us," said VI-EPSCoR Director Dr. Henry H. Smith. "The improvements at the center will immediately position UVI to be better able to compete for and execute local, national and international grants and contracts; as well as to improve and expand the instruction and training that we offer to our students."

The second day of the conference will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the UVI Administration and Conference Center on the St. Thomas campus. The conference's plenary sessions will highlight community engagement activities and research facilitated through VI-EPSCoR's support. There will be presentations on future trends and opportunities for new areas of research in the Virgin Islands.

On Saturday, there will be three 20 minute presentations on the Human Dimension: Research and Outreach. These presentations will explore man's relationship with the world around him and will explore the cause and effect of this relationship. There will also be presentations in the areas of Integrated Caribbean Coastal Ecosystems, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, and Master's in Marine and Environmental Science Research.

National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program Officer Dr. Jeanne R. Small is expected to speak on Friday. "Dr. Small will be speaking about EPSCoR programs from a national perspective and we are always anxious to know how we are doing compared to the much larger programs across the country," Dr. Smith said. "Dr. Small's presentation will allow us to frame ideas that will lead our program to being even more in harmony with NSF's goals for EPSCoR jurisdictions while still serving our local needs."

Dr. Smith hopes that the conference will give the public a better understanding of the quality of the faculty and facilities that exists at UVI. "Participants will also become aware of the many ways that VI-EPSCoR is involved in activities in our community through targeted public engagement efforts," he said. "I hope that participants will leave the conference confident that the work that VI-EPSCoR conducts is intended to make our community a better place."

Please RSVP by sending an email to totto@live.uvi.edu . For additional information contact Nick Drayton, VI-EPSCoR project assistant director, at 692-4003 or ndrayton@live.uvi.edu.