OSMRE and Adams State partnership continues to be mutually beneficial


Joseph Pizarchik

Two years ago, Adam State University and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement established a partnership. OSMRE Director Joseph Pizarchik returns this month to strengthen the partnership and learn more about distance learning while on campus.

During his visit, Pizarchik will present a free lecture on the Flight 93 Memorial, which he was instrumental in helping develop. The free presentation, "The Path to Realization of the Flight 93 Memorial: Overcoming the Environmental Hurdles" begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, in Leon Memorial Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Flight 93 Memorial is dedicated to the crew and passengers who fought the hijackers to take back control of Flight 93, on September 11, 2001. The target of the hijackers was the U.S. Capitol. The memorial site, in Western Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed, was a reclaimed coal mine (960 acres) that was being held under the final Phase III Bond Release. When the final inspection was performed, an Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) discharge was found where the Flight 93 crew and passengers were located. The AMD discharge made the site complicated and caused impediments to the memorial site opening. Pizarchik will talk about geology, politics, socialization, and law, in relation to the memorial.

During his two-day visit, Pizarchik will meet with Adams State trustees, faculty, administration and students. "I hope our partnership with Adams State will lead to Adams State grads coming to work for OSMRE, or perhaps other federal or state government agencies." He believes a career in government service can be very rewarding. "There are things you get to do while working for the government that can make a real difference."

The partnership can benefit students in a variety of ways, including opportunities for paid internships for OSMRE and taking the same classes OSMRE provides to state, federal and tribal employees and have those class credits count towards their degree. "Students will also have exposure to our course instructors who are some of the most knowledgeable and respected experts in their field," Pizarchik said.

According to Pizarchik, Adams State was chosen as a partner because staff and faculty demonstrated the interest, enthusiasm and desire to work together. "Adams State also has the skills we needed to move from paper course work to online classes as we move into the 21st century and a younger workforce." The specialized training OSMRE provides to the states, tribes and their own employees is not available anywhere else. "In these times of constrained budgets we also needed to become more efficient at delivering this training and Adams State has been part of that solution with its distance learning expertise. At OSMRE we are also trying to create a more diverse workforce and Adams State provides us the opportunity to attract more Hispanic Americans into government service and environmental protection."

Pizarchik envisions the partnership continuing into the future with Adams State helping OSMRE with its on-line distance learning and OSMRE sharing its expertise in the Adams State classrooms. "I also expect Adams State will continue to provide high quality student interns who can learn from and help OSMRE and perhaps, someday be with us as full time employees."