The City University of New York Doctoral Student and 2023 CUNY CREST High School Initiative in Remote Sensing of the Earth Systems Engineering and Sciences (HIRES) Mentor, Richard Rivera has been part of the Institute since April, 2023. Ever since, Richard has made significant contributions to the Institute’s mission through his passion, dedication and sense of community.

Richard- NAVY Veteran

Richard is from the Lower East Side, NY and has been interested in Science since the age of five. Richard will begin his Ph.D. degree in Earth and Environmental Science from the CUNY Graduate Center in fall 2023.. His research will focus on , Microclimate, Coastal Flooding and Impacts on Communities in the Floodplains. The purpose of the research is to gauge projections on coastal impacts by sea level rising and subsidence. The end result is expected to incorporate weather station information to provide microclimate information, modeling of predicted sea level rise in New York City (NYC) and also provide information to support advising low income communities about climate change impacts. Richard, as an incoming cohort II NOAA-CESSRST Fellow starting Fall 2023, is planning to conduct his research under the mentorship of Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi. Further, Richard will seek guidance from CUNY CREST HIRES Director, Dr. Shakila Merchant on NYC community and stakeholder engagement to create a framework on coastal community resilience in the face of flooding due to climate change and sea level rise.

Richard on board NOAA research vessel conducting seafloor mapping in St. Petersburg Florida (REU)

Commenting on plans to create awareness about his research, Richard said, “I will begin conducting community outreach and bring this research to the attention of underrepresented communities living in floodplains. Additionally, I will speak to other communities about the same.”

Richard on board NOAA research vessel conducting seafloor mapping in St. Petersburg Florida (REU)
During this summer, Richard served as a mentor to Eight (8) interns; Four (4) CUNY CREST HIRES Interns, Two (2) CityTech National Science Foundation (NSF) REU and Two (2) NSF IUSE Program. His team’s research project was titled, “Weather Analysis and Visualization for Everyone (WAVE). Richard added, “The team was able to create and put together data in the form of a story for communities to understand that NYC coastlines will change and learn ways to translate scientific jargon into comprehensible everyday language.”
During his mentorship, Richard was deeply engaged. He said, “Working as a mentor during the summer made me come up with the following quote. “Live your Dreams and Dream your Reality.” This is something I’ve told my mentees to focus on throughout their lives journey.”

WAVE team at Calvert Vaux outing to use drones to take pictures of coastlines

Richard has also been coordinating with CUNY campuses on the installation and relocation of CUNY CREST Institute’s weather stations in NYC. Elaborating on the objective of the project, Richard said, “It is to place these weather stations in schools for research and educational outreach. I am also coordinating meetings with communities that belong to areas that are likely to experience future calamities due to flooding.”

Richard is an all rounder. Along with being an enthusiastic researcher and a committed mentor, Richard is a great street mural artist. He was also one of the first Medgar Evers College students to intern at the University of Florida’s College of Marine Science. Below is the snapshot of the Medgar Evers Posting: USF REU Candidate in 2019. Richard’s picture in the snapshot was taken in Santa Cruz, Galapagos where he did marine life identification.

Richard’s Street art at 161 Essex Street Door Mural in 2020

Richard is thankful for the resources provided to him through CUNY CREST Institute. Expressing gratitude, Richard said, “For the first time, I was able to create a research based project and have students assemble mass data as well as utilize ArcGIS.” Richard’s ultimate goal is to get into academia and eventually serve the public utilizing his excellent communication skills. Richard has consistently proven that with dedication, curiosity, and positive mindset, every goal is achievable.