N.C. A&T’s Uzochukwu Named EPA Science Advisory Board CASTNET Review Panel Chair

By Jamie Crockett / 01/19/2023 College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Jan. 19, 2023) – Godfrey A. Uzochukwu, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, was named chair of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) review panel. The network was established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1991 “to assess the effectiveness of emission reductions programs by reporting trends in pollutant concentrations and acidic deposition.” As of 2021, CASTNET monitors 99 sites in the United States and Canada.

Uzochukwu brings expertise in science, strategy and leadership to CASTNET’s review panel as a licensed soil specialist with a B.S. in general agriculture and an M.S. in agronomy soils and land use from Oklahoma State University. He earned his Ph.D. in soil genesis and mineralogy at the University of Nebraska. He was a post-doctoral scholar of soil mineralogy at Texas A&M University.

“I put myself in the middle of it all. My background is more than soil environmental sciences, it also includes environmental justice,” he said. “When I came to A&T, I came with a vision to expand and create programs that can have an environmental impact.”

Uzochukwu is the founding director of the campuswide Interdisciplinary Waste Management Institute, established in 1995 in response to the challenge that 90% of toxic dump chemicals in landfills are found in Black and Latino communities. More than 2,300 students have since graduated from various degree programs with a certificate in waste management.

“There are so many issues that affect our health, including air, water and soil pollution and other environmental challenges,” he said. “Our next generation of graduates are thinking differently and more importantly, they are pushing beyond the boundaries of our current knowledge to improve environmental quality.”

Uzochukwu has taught nearly 12,000 students during his more than 30-year tenure at North Carolina A&T, including EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

“When Administrator Regan was my student, I pushed and worked him very hard. We created a vision together and I told him not to be afraid to jump in,” said Uzochukwu. “My mission is to get people to where they need to be. Regan is doing a great job and it is good news to be able to help him change policies.”

Regan was his undergraduate assistant.

Uzochukwu was named to the SAB in 2021, along with 46 experts from various fields, to assist in advising the EPA administrator on how to address issues affecting public health and the environment.

“Science helps us make informed decisions. If the science is not there, that means there can be no improvement,” said Uzochukwu. “We also look through this environmental justice lens to determine who is impacted and how.”

The advisory board has focused on any source or substance that is toxic or hazardous including PFAS, lead exposure and drinking water contaminants, as well as how renewable fuels can be used to enhance people’s quality of life.

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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