President Peter Goodwin has awarded the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)’s annual President’s Award for Excellence in Application of Science to Rosemary Jagus, a professor in molecular genetics at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, for her contributions to increasing the diversity of scientists working in the marine sciences over the past two decades.
As Project Director for NOAA’s Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), as Director of the summer internship program at IMET, and as a mentor to students in her lab, Professor Jagus has used her eminence in the science field where she studies translational control of gene expression to inspire and rigorously train young scientists from under-served communities to pursue careers in science and worked towards improving the lack of diversity in marine sciences.
“We have made diversity, equity, and inclusion high priorities at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science,” said Peter Goodwin, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) President. “Professor Rose Jagus has been a dedicated and innovative champion for diversity in science throughout her career. She has leveraged her and her colleagues' excellence in scientific research to inspire and transform young lives. ”
Since 2001, Professor Jagus has served as IMET Project Director of the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC), a training partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and other minority serving institutions to increase the pool of young people from underrepresented communities in the marine sciences. It is funded by NOAA's Educational Partnership Program and at IMET provides support for graduate students from underrepresented communities in marine and environmental science for careers in research, management, and public policy that support the sustainable harvest and conservation of our marine resources. Over the last twenty years, this program has graduated eight Ph.D. and four master’s students from historically underrepresented backgrounds and currently supports three Ph.D. and two Master’s students.
The IMET Summer Undergraduate Internship Program also directed by Jagus since 2001 arose as a powerful way to introduce diverse students to careers in marine and environmental sciences and to provide a conduit for graduate school. Through the summer program, students who are from historically underrepresented backgrounds in marine and environmental science have the opportunity to conduct their own research projects while working with some of the world’s leading scientists at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology.
The summer program works to increase diversity and prepares students for entering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The internship provides an orientation to working in a lab, seminars on the use of molecular techniques relevant to fisheries, energy production, and environmental research, a research project with an IMET faculty mentor, and tutoring in science visualization by the science communicators at the UMCES Integration and Application Network (IAN). IMET’s summer interns not only learn from leaders in the marine science community but meet with a wide range of inspirational leaders who each have niche advice to help them succeed.
“There continues to be underrepresentation of several groups entering graduate programs in the fields of marine and environmental science,” said Russell Hill, director at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology .“This program provides training opportunities to a diverse body of undergraduates with a long-term goal of providing a strong pipeline of students continuing to higher degrees in these fields.”
More than 220 students from across the country have participated in IMET’s summer program, which emphasizes both scientific skills and building confidence. These students have gone on to pursue careers in science and become leaders in academia, government, and industry. Many internship alumni have gone on to become LMRCSC graduate fellows at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), and several students who pursued graduate degrees at UMCES after the internship were later awarded prestigious Knauss Fellowships. This competitive fellowship matches students interested in marine science policy with positions in Washington D.C. in either the legislative or executive branches of government for one year.
“There are so few people of color in marine and environmental sciences, and that’s something we need to work towards fixing. What is special at IMET is that we bring in the innovation of molecular techniques to tackle questions in fisheries and marine sciences. It really is making a difference in the field, and we have alumni who have done incredibly well following the program,” said program director Rose Jagus. “As we have come to understand, all students from institutions of inclusiveness are better equipped to go out and function well in our diverse world. By providing this training and helping underrepresented groups enter the marine sciences, hopefully upcoming generations will see themselves represented and be motivated to do the same.”
In 2017, Jagus was awarded the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship by the University System of Maryland for her contributions to increasing the diversity of scientists working in the marine sciences. She received the University of Maryland Regents Award for collaboration in teaching in 2005. A native of Swanwick, Derbyshire, England, Jagus received her B.Sc. in zoology from the University College of North Wales, Bangor, U.K., and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from University College, London, U.K.
Located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology is a strategic alliance involving scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the University of Maryland Baltimore and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Scientists are engaged in cutting-edge research in microbiology, molecular biology and biotechnology, using marine organisms to develop new drug therapies, alternative energy and innovations to improve public health. IMET contributes to sustainable marine aquaculture and fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay and marine ecosystems. IMET fosters early-stage companies and industry partnerships, contributing to economic development in Maryland