Stockton University Partners with Bridgeton, NJ: One Way to Confront the Challenges of Economic Inequality through STEM Education

Dawn Watkins, a member of Stockton’s Economic Inequality Initiative, facilitated the partnership described in the article below. She grew up in Bridgeton and loves the city, but also feels its needs. For the past year, Ms. Watkins has circulated her idea at Stockton — she even invited the Mayor of Bridgeton to lunch with the President.  Her vision for enhancing STEM education among female, minority and underserved populations has materialized into an amazing opportunity for the city, Bridgeton students and residents, and Stockton.
12122345 - woman scientist and environmental issues

New Partnership Between Stockton University and Bridgeton Aims to Benefit Community and Students

SNJ Today, September 14, 2016

BRIDGETON, N.J. – The City of Bridgeton and Stockton University have partnered up to utilize one of the university’s programs in Bridgeton City Park.

Stockton students this year in the environmental studies program will inventory and assess some of the more complex and fragile natural resources that are found in the Bridgeton City Park and the Lower Cohansey Watershed. This partnership will benefit both the students with hands-on experience and will bring about positive change to the community.

According to Dr. Emma Witt, assistant professor of environmental studies at Stockton, the program will several main areas of focus, including evaluating aquatic wildlife resources, terrestrial and avian wildlife resources, evaluation of water quality in Sunset Lake and watershed, evaluating the hydrology and water quality in the Cohansey River, and an assessment of forest resources.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to do meaningful and impactful work and I’m very pleased to be able to partner with the City of Bridgeton to share the type of technical assistance that Stockton’s programs can provide,” said Witt.

Students are scheduled to begin field work on September 20th and 22nd. And Witt explains that the students will be organized into teams to work in each of the various areas of focus over the course of the semester.

This Bridgeton-Stockton connection represents a natural extension of student-related public service that is encouraged by the university throughout the South Jersey region added Dr. Peter Straub, dean of natural sciences and mathematics at Stockton.

For Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, the partnership with Stockton University and the incoming students getting involved with the community represent the types of relationships that have a major impact on a region poised for revitalization.

“I’m delighted that Stockton University has chosen to make Bridgeton a type of working classroom for their students. This is something I have been promoting for some time now. It is a winning collaboration; we get the benefit of their knowledge, energy, and talent and the students get to do important work that will benefit thousands of residents as well as themselves,” said Kelly.

In addition to their field work, students will also prepare final reports outlining findings, analyses, and recommendations. These results will then be presented to city officials at the close of the semester in December.

“I commend Stockton University on the innovative way they engage with the communities they serve. I’m also appreciative of Dean Straub, Professor Witt and especially the students, who will bring their energy, talent, and forward-looking perspectives to some of the challenges facing Bridgeton,” said Kelly.

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