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The USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), Southeast Region, and the Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) are joint Convener Sponsors of this year’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Climate Change Conference. USGS attendees intend to build recruitment pathways with HBCU students and convey the breadth of USGS climate science.

New Orleans - Mississippi River
Photo taken from the 41st Floor of the Marriott in New Orleans, LA. Low-lying coastal homes and infrastructure are vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as increased sea level, storm intensity, and flooding frequency.

The USGS SPCMSC, Southeast Region, and Southeast CASC will staff an exhibit at the HBCU Climate Change Conference. The exhibit will be staffed by Sarah Kwon of SPCMSC; Ernestine Coleman of the USGS Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity; Dr. Gregory Steyer, USGS Science Advisor for the Gulf of Mexico; and Cari Furiness of the Southeast CASC at North Carolina State University. In addition, the CASC network is sending five CASC climate fellows: Melody Hunter Pillion, Cielo Sharkus, Tajana Washington, Erika Baylor, and Tyler Bechtel. Throughout the week, this team will communicate to students that USGS is more than just geology – we are a science organization with myriad science opportunities, including many in the climate sciences. During the Career Fair on Saturday, April 16th, staff will work to build recruitment pathways and relationships with HBCUs and students, and discuss USGS diversity programs and initiatives.

The purpose of the HBCU Climate Change Conference is to bring together HBCU faculty and students, researchers, climate professionals and environmental justice and coastal community residents impacted by toxic facilities and severe weather events related to climate change in order to bridge the gap between theory and the experiential realities of climate change. The conference will address issues related to climate justice, adaptation, community resilience, global climate issues, and other major climate change topics (i.e., transportation, energy sources, carbon emissions, green jobs/green economy, just transition, and community economic development). The conference is hosted by the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice’s HBCU Climate Change Consortium. The consortium is comprised of 30 colleges and universities throughout the Southeast U.S. and was conceived to help raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of climate change on marginalized communities and to develop HBCU students, leaders, scientists, and advocates on issues related to environmental and climate justice policies, community resilience, and adaptation.