UMES joins Oak Ridge Associated Universities

  • Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD- (May 22, 2012)The University of Maryland Eastern Shore joins 105 doctoral-granting institutions as an associate member of Oak Ridge Associated Universities.  ORAU brings together university faculty and students to collaborate on major scientific initiatives that help keep America on the leading edge of science and technology.

    Oak Ridge Associated Universities selected UMES as its 27th minority institution at its annual meeting in March themed, "STEM Education-Making a Difference by Changing the Focus of the Conversation." The consortium has worked for over 50 years to cultivate mutually beneficial collaborative partnerships involving academia, government and industry that will enhance the scientific research and education enterprise of our nation.

    "Building institutional capacity through 'smart partnerships' can lead to advancements in science education and research," Cathy Fore, director of collaborative initiatives in ORAU's University Partnerships Office, said at a recent site visit to UMES. "Scientific collaboration leads to joint initiatives that are beneficial to all involved."

    As a nonprofit corporation, ORAU also manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the U.S. Department of Energy.  ORAU directly supports the energy agency's national agenda and creates opportunities for collaboration through partnerships with other federal agencies, the academic community and industry.  The Institute focuses on scientific initiatives to research health risks from occupational hazards, assess environmental cleanup, respond to radiation medial emergencies, support national security and emergency preparedness and educate the next generation of scientists.

    Through Institute programs, Fore said, the ORAU supports the missions of filling the pipeline of future science and engineering leaders and increasing minority representation in science and engineering degree programs. ORAU is also a key partner with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, both located in Tennessee.

    Dr. Ali B. Ishaque, associate professor of natural sciences at UMES and the university's liaison to ORAU, will coordinate efforts by the university to take full advantage of what the consortium has to offer.

    "Faculty and students can vie for and be awarded grants for travel to federal facilities to conduct research among scientists, participate in summer internships and other opportunities," Ishaque said.  "Faculty development and research collaboration is also a part of membership in ORAU."

    For UMES, membership also means another step toward receiving Carnegie re-classification of the university from a master's focused institution to that of a doctoral research university.

    "It is a prestigious designation," Ishaque said.  "It demonstrates to the academic community that each year the institution is engaged in research activity that produces and sustains the awarding of significant numbers of doctoral research degrees across disciplines."

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    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu