Every Month as part of our CUNY CREST Monthly Bulletin, the CUNY CREST Institute Executive Director, Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi, sends a message to the CUNY CREST Community on updates of the organization. The Executive Director’s Message is a way for readers to know a summary of any major updates, news, and events that occurred during the Month. Click below to read the Monthly Director’s Message!

January & February 2024

The CUNY CREST Institute is pleased to release the January-February issue of its bi-monthly bulletin that highlights CREST’s activities within these months. Those include participation in the American Meteorological Society’s 104th Annual Meeting held in Baltimore, MD; attending in the “Acknowledging the Effects of Climate Change- Let’s Take Action Now” workshop held in Puerto Rico and the “Becoming Everything You Are”  (BEYA) Science Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Conference in Baltimore, MD. Additionally, CREST hosted two seminars at the City College of New York. The first seminar provided insights into the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers Program (IUCRC) and how the City University of New York (CUNY) can participate in the same while the second seminar helped audience explore entrepreneurship as a path to put their science into practice and hear success stories from CREST’s alumni. The institute celebrates the achievement of its members- Dr. Neal Phillip, and Ms. Paramita Sen, who installed six new weather stations in two phases during January and February 2024 in the states of Orissa (3) and Telangana (3) in India, as part of their public diplomacy project. Further, new scientists and faculty have been joining CREST Institute as affiliate members. We will be introducing them- their backgrounds and their research interests. In this edition, CREST welcomes  Kimberly Huppert as a faculty member. CREST brings to you several exciting opportunities including upcoming events and fellowships.

November & December 2023

The CUNY CREST Institute is pleased to release the November-December issue of its bi-monthly bulletin that highlights CREST’s participation in the CUNY Climate Consortium Townhall and Expo held at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Youth Engagement in International Climate Negotiations workshop held at the Jay Jay College of Criminal Justice. Additionally, CREST hosted delegates from NOAA NSSL to discuss potential collaboration. It also hosted a seminar titled ‘Everything the Atmosphere Touches: Student Opportunities at NSF NCAR/UCAR/UCP’. The institute celebrates the achievements of its members such as Drs. Friedman, Bhaskaran, Phillip, and Ms. Paramita Sen. Further, under the leadership of Dr. Shakila Merchant, CREST successfully completed the 2023 Bridge to College Program (B2C) on December 8th. As we reflect on the 2023 journey, we are truly filled with gratitude for several achievements resulting from collaborative efforts between CUNY CREST scientists and faculty members  and our external stakeholders, partners, and collaborators. We thank our friends who joined the CREST holiday party to celebrate our accomplishments, partnership, friendship, and teamwork before we say goodbye to 2023. CREST wishes you and your loved ones a happy new year!

September & October 2023

The CUNY CREST Institute is pleased to release the September-October issue of its bi-monthly bulletin that highlights its participation in several events, accomplishments, and other news.

Dr. Shakila Merchant, Director, CUNY CREST HIRES was invited to participate in the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – Annual Postdoctoral Retreat hosted by the NCAR’s Education, Engagement, & Early Career Development’s (EDEC) ASP Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, held in Breckenridge, Colorado. The purpose of this retreat was to engage postdocs in professional development and career planning sessions as well as help them network. It was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and held from August 31st to September 1, 2023. Further, Dr. Merchant participated in the NCAR Day of Discovery held on September 5, 2023. 

CREST hosted Radar Workshop at the CCNY on September 14 and again on September 15, 2023. Led by Dr. Bob Rabin, NOAA National Severe Storm Laboratory (NSSL) (Retired), Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), University of Wisconsin-Madison, the workshop helped students gain knowledge about theory and use of weather radar data including a hands-on section where they used the NOAA weather and climate toolkit. Thirty-two (32) students participated in the workshop. We are pleased to note that the CREST Extended Board of Directors (BoD) hosted its annual retreat at the City University of New York (CUNY) Center for Workers Education (CWE) on September 15, 2023. The retreat helped deliberate, brainstorm, and develop the CREST’s short-term (2023-2026) and long-term (2023-2028) Strategic and Operational Plan. During the retreat, CREST Institute Board of Directors, Associate Directors, and affiliated Center Directors engaged in productive discussions that led to defining the core identity/niche of the Institute. The retreat also included status updates on CREST’s six pillars and deliberated on the CREST Institute’s future growth and strategies for expansion. 

Dr. Shakila Merchant serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) of National Science Foundation (NSF)-CUNY Advancing Research Impact in Society-Broader Impacts (ARIS-BI) Toolkit. She participated in the NSF-CUNY ARIS-BI writers workshop along with several other BI community members from across the country. The retreat was held from September 18 to September 21, 2023 at the Chauncey Convention Center, Princeton, New Jersey (NJ). Earlier in the spring 2024, the CUNY Broader Impacts 101 workshop series was kicked off by Dr. Merchant on May 4, 2023, in coordination with City College of New York’s (CCNY) Office of Research and PI of Rutgers University ARIS-BI Toolkit, Dr. Janice McDonnell. Subsequent BI workshops to be held in fall-winter 2023, provide the CUNY community with a go-to BI informational hub. Dr. Merchant hopes to equip them with resources to help them better articulate their approach to creating their BI identity, and help the PIs, particularly the early career faculty members and researchers write successful NSF proposals and ultimately contribute to society through their broader impact-focused research. 

CREST, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (NOAA EPP/MSI) Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies II (CESSRST II) hosted the NCAR seminar titled Actionable Earth System Science with and for Society. The seminar was delivered by Dr. Everette Joseph, Director, NCAR on October 5, 2023 at the Grove School of Engineering, CCNY. During the seminar, Dr. Joseph provided an overview of NCAR, reviewed some of the latest research by the organization, and discussed how NCAR is positioning itself for success in the future. Additionally, he expanded on the several ways that the CCNY students and faculty may collaborate with NCAR to help advance their research. During his visit, Dr. Joseph met the Dean of Grove School of Engineering, Alex Couzis, CCNY Associate Provost for Research, Dr. Rosemarie Wesson, and CESSRST- II and CREST leadership and discussed potential partnership and collaborations with the NCAR and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) team. 

CREST was invited to participate in the UCAR Annual Members Meeting held from October 10 to October 11, 2023 in Boulder, CO. The purpose of this meeting was to encourage discussions from UCAR member representatives around important topics for the university as well as have them provide inputs and guidance to UCAR and NCAR. It helped members network and learn through workshops, panels, breakout sessions on various topics such as ‘data-centric science to improve community models, importance of diversity in Earth System Science etc.’ 

We are happy to welcome five new doctoral students to the CUNY CREST family; Shima Kamali, Richard Rivera (NOAA EPP/MSI CESSRST-II funded Cohort II Fellow), Ana M Mejia Manrique, Niloofar Nejatian, and Ali Haider. We are also delighted to note the accomplishments of several CUNY CREST affiliated personnel. 

Dr. Shakila Merchant and NCAR members, Dr. Valerie Sloan, Director of REU-GEO Network and Dr. Samayiah Farid, Scientist, UCAR, received the NSF REU GeoNetwork funding (2023-2026). Funded by NSF for several years, the new funding aims to continue providing valuable resources to the GEO REU PIs and particularly new REU PIs and organize an annual GEO REU workshop in 2024. This NCAR initiative/network continues to serve as a valuable resource that helps the GEO REU community in effective execution of the REU internship in STEM and thus providing students a rich research experience.  

CREST’s Research and Application Pillar’s Director, Professor Maria Tzortziou has been appointed to serve as a Lead Author for the Third Decadal U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan. The plan is intended to provide guidance for U.S. research efforts on the global carbon cycle for the next decade. Two book chapters written by Professor and Founding Director of BCC Geospatial Center of the CUNY CREST Institute and Doctoral Faculty in the Earth and Environmental Science Program at Graduate Center & Bronx Community College (BCC), City University of New York (CUNY), Sunil Bhaskaran are now published in the Springer Nature. Dr. Bhaskaran also leads  the effort to provide Geospatial Science Training to students in the Bronx. This initiative is carried out through research at the Geospatial Center of the CUNY CREST Institute at BCC. Harry Cikanek, Director of the CREST Business and Entrepreneurship Pillar participated in the 2023 International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Global Space Conference on Climate Change (GLOC). Harry served in three roles; International Program Committee Co-Chair for Plenary Session; Lead Author on the High Level Summary Paper, and Moderator of the highlight lecture. In his roles, Harry developed and organized the plenary and highlight lecture events and advised on Global Networking Forums, and as part of the overall leadership, helped shape the conference, including the process to collect outcomes. Following the conference, Harry led the synthesis of outcomes into the summary paper and supported preparation of the Highlight Lecture of GLOC 2023 results at the International Astronautical Congress in Baku. The International Astronautical Congress is the world’s largest annual gathering of the whole space community from across the globe including Agencies, Industries, non Governmental Organizations, and Academia. 

The institute, under the leadership of Dr. Shakila Merchant successfully kicked off the 2023 Bridge to College (B2C) on October 20, 2023. The B2C initiative began in 2015-2016 to engage, inspire, and motivate a cohort of middle school (8th graders) students from the City College  Academy  of the Arts – an Early College School, in NOAA mission driven STEM focused hands-on activities. This year, eight students along with their teacher(s) will participate in this 7-week long seminar style learning that focuses on ‘Earth Observation and Surveillance.’ 

On October 24, 2023, Eight (8) students with their Ocean Engineering Teacher, Dorick Lee from The Urban Assembly New Harbor School visited the CCNY including the CREST Institute through a partnership fostered by Dr. Shakila Merchant via the CUNY CREST HIRES and the DURO UAS programs. Students visited the CUNY CREST The Satellite Receiving Station (SRS) and the Ocean Remote Sensing Lab where they learnt about the work being done in the labs, NOAA, and the opportunities available to them. As part of the HIRES recruitment, the students will be encouraged to apply for the summer 2024 HIRES program. 

CREST participated in the 2023 Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) The National Diversity in STEM (NDISTEM) Conference held from October 26 to October 28, 2023 in Oregon, Portland. The conference brings the academic and professional Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) community together to empower and encourage them in their pursuits. During the event, Dr. Liubov Kreminska, Administrative Director of the Earth System and Environmental Engineering (ESE) Degree Program at CCNY represented the recruitment and outreach booth for CREST, NOAA EPP/MSI CESSRST II and the ESE program at CCNY.

July & August 2023

The CUNY CREST Institute is pleased to release the June-August issue of its bi-monthly bulletin that highlights its participation in several events and initiatives and accomplishments. 

In July, CREST participated in the Transfer of Ownership Ceremony of the James J. Howard Laboratory organized by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries on July 11, 2023, in front of the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory building within the Gateway National Recreation Area in Highlands, New Jersey. Dr. Shakila Merchant represented the institute at the event. CREST also visited the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey on July 11, 2023. The meeting was organized by CUNY CREST’s Business Development and Entrepreneurship Pillar Director, Mr.. Harry Cikanek. The purpose of the half-day meeting was to follow up on an initial meeting in March 2023, to discuss the status of efforts towards potential collaboration for a number of NOAA priorities associated with weather, ocean and climate modeling and prediction. Additionally, CREST participated in the 2023 Unifying Innovations in Forecasting Capabilities Workshop (UIFCW) from July 24, 2023, to July 28, 2023 at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Center, Boulder Colorado. The theme for the workshop was Innovation and Community and its goal was to  engage the greater weather enterprise in the ongoing effort to accelerate contributions to the Unified Forecast System. Dr. Shakila Merchant was invited to serve on the DEI panel that discussed the importance and need for diversity and inclusion in community modeling. 

CREST participated the First Annual NOAA EPP/MSI Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies-II (CESSRST-II) Symposium held at CCNY, NY from July 31, 2023 to August 2, 2023. The symposium provided a forum for students, faculty, and the academic community to discuss cutting edge remote sensing research topics and examine the connection between research and education. On the third day of the event, Dr. Shakila Merchant delivered a workshop on Branding and Developing Professional Self-identity, as part of the Center’s Professional Advancement and Career Engagement (PACE) initiative. 

CREST Institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi has been appointed as the Director of the Earth System Science and Environmental Engineering at the City College of New York (CCNY). 

We are happy to share the success story of 2023 CUNY CREST HIRES Mentor and incoming NOAA EPP/MSI CESSRST-II cohort II Doctorate Student, Richard Rivera. He has made significant contributions to the institute since his joining in April 2023. 

We are delighted to note that CUNY CREST’s Research and Application Pillar’s Director, Dr. Maria Tzortziou is amongst the 18 experts appointed by the White House to its newly formed Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP). Additionally, CREST’s Environmental Justice and Social Science Pillar’s Director, Dr. Kaveh Madani has been awarded the title of “Honorary Diplomate” for “his remarkable contributions to the society” by the European Water Resources Association (EWRA). 

Dr. Khanbilvardi was featured in the media; Research and Innovation at City College (RICC).  In addition, CUNY CREST faculty affiliates, Prof. Neal Phillip and Prof. Paramita Sen Visited India leading the Bronx Community College/City University of New York Climate Change Project funded by US Consulate, Mumbai. Their work was covered in several media outlets including CBS News, New York,  The Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Navhind Times, etc. 

The institute successfully conducted and hosted three summer programs; 2023 CUNY CREST HIRES, CUNY CREST Summer Bridge & CUNY CityTech NSF REU and NSF IUSE. The programs concluded with interns participating in the Summer Research Symposium at City Tech, New York. At the symposium, Dr. Khanbilvardi served as one of the speakers and Dr. Merchant served as the Master of the Ceremony. 

This summer, CUNY CREST lost one of its alumni and colleagues, Dr. Shahab Afshari Tork. He passed away after a long battle with cancer. There are no right words to express our sorrow, but we wish to share a moment of appreciation for a joyful life taken too soon. The Institute is working on establishing a fellowship in Dr. Shahab Afshari Tork’s name.

CREST has also been actively contributing to efforts towards climate resilience, specially through its partnership with the Caribbean Climate Adaptation Network (C-CAN).

May & June 2023

The CUNY CREST Institute is pleased to release the May-June issue of its bi-monthly bulletin that highlights its participation in several events and initiatives. 

In May, CREST participated and co-sponsored the keynote speech by Dr. Kaveh Madani in the 8th International Conference on Historical Links between Spain and the Americas organized by CCNY’s Division of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Instituto Cervantes of New York, and the Instituto Franklin of the Universidad de Alcalá, from May 3 to 5, 2023 in New York. On the first day of the conference, Dr. Shakila Merchant and Dr. Kaveh Madani from the CREST institute served as a panelist and keynote speaker respectively. Dr. Merchant discussed Climate Science, Communication and Activism through the Lenses of Female and Non-Binary CCNY Members while Dr. Madani spoke about Climate Change, Water Bankruptcy, and Human Security.  

CREST Institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Reza Khanbilvardi participated in the 14th International Precipitation Conference hosted by the University of Oklahoma at the National Weather Center in Norman, OK, from June 5 to 9, 2023. The conference served as a global forum to explore precipitation science and application.

We are happy to share that two of CREST affiliated students: Elaine O. Famutimi and Ololade S. Alonge, graduated this year. The bulletin also features the professional journey of two of our alumni-José A. Infante Corona and Isabel Perez from the class of 2015 and 2016 respectively. 

The institute kicked off three summer programs; 2023 CUNY CREST Summer Bridge & CUNY CityTech NSF REU and IUSE and CUNY CREST HIRES. We are delighted to note that 2023 Summer Bridge Intern and CUNY HIRES Program Associate and EAS Undergraduate student, Lesly Munoz co-published her first science article titled In Situ Radioactivity Maps and Trace Metal Concentrations in Beach Sands of a Mining Coastal Area at North Aegean, Greece in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering on June 10, 2023.   

Dr. Khanbilvardi was featured in the media; CUNY TV’s Sustainability Matters-Rising Waters monthly show. In addition, CUNY CREST faculty affiliates, Prof. Neal Phillip, and Prof. Cheila Avalon Cullen shared their views on the Canadian wildfires that resulted in poor air quality episodes, in an interview with the Live Science Magazine

Additionally, CREST members were invited by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) for a site visit in response to the CCNY application to become UCAR’s Institutional Member, as one of its educational partners. CREST has also been actively contributing in international efforts towards climate resilience, specially through its partnership with the Caribbean Climate Adaptation Network (C-CAN). 

March & April 2023

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’d like to congratulate and extend my heartfelt gratitude to the resilient women of CUNY CREST, City College of New York, Brooklyn College, NYC College of Technology, Bronx Community College, Hunter College, Queensborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College. Your dedication, passion, and contribution to advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Social Science is truly inspiring.

This issue of the bulletin features- CREST’s Scientists participation in 2023 United Nation Water Conference held from March 22 to 24, 2023 in New York; CREST Institute faculty, Prof. Paramita Sen and Prof. Neal Phillip led two key events – Water Issue in India and Urban Stormwater, at the UN Water Side Symposium at City University of New York facilities, focused on the topic “Conference was Climate Resilience: Addressing Drought and Flood”.

We are also happy to share that CREST had the opportunity to meet Tshilidzi Marwala, the newly appointed Rector of the United Nations University (UNU), at CCNY. We aim to advance this initial meeting into a working collaboration between CREST and UNU in developing educational degree/certification programs in the areas of Water, Climate, Sustainable Development. Further, CREST’s Scientists successfully submitted various proposals to agencies such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Sanitation Foundation (NOAA NSF) and Department of Education (DOE).

CREST’s collaboration with National Institute for Disaster Management (NIDM) of India has progressed into the next phase of finalizing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and action items in interest of a robust future engagement between India’s NIDM affiliated universities and CUNY-CREST.

In the near future, we are looking forward to the graduation of several of our students from across CUNY campuses. We applaud the perseverance and hard-work of our students as well CREST’s faculty and staff who are working tirelessly to support them in their academic journey. 

May & June 2022

The Spring Semester has come to an end and the CUNY CREST Institute would like to congratulate the Graduating Class of 2022. We are proud to announce that many of our students have graduated and are now preparing for their next steps in their academic and professional journey.

During May, we celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, by featuring our scientists of Asian American descent, by sharing their voices with the community of partner, stakeholders, and students.

In June, our dedicated affiliated scientists submitted proposals to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy, and NOAA. We encourage our scientists to continuing applying to grants.

April 2022

Throughout the month of April the CUNY CREST Institute celebrates Earth Day and uses this time to focus on different environment issues. One of the Institute’s focuses this month was Environmental Justice. Through environmental justice, we advocate for knowledge to be spread to different communities, especially to underserved communities.

This month, Reza Khanbilvardi, Kaveh Madani, Farshid Vahedifard, Alireza and Ermagun received a new grant from NOAA- Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (CSTAR) Program with proposed project, “Integrating Environmental Justice into NWS Services to Reduce the Vulnerability of Historically Underserved Socially Vulnerable Communities (HUSVCs) to Extreme Weather Events”. We plan to share the value and importance of Environmental Justice education and create awareness among the underserved communities…

March 2022

March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. It is a time to celebrate women’s contribution to history through their many successes and achievements and recognize the vital role women play to society.

To kick-off the first month of spring, the CUNY CREST Institute celebrated and honored the influential women scientists and engineers to our community of students, partners, colleagues, and stakeholders. We have created a special featured highlight only a few women scientists within the CREST community…

February 2022

CREST Institute began the month of February by joining the tradition of celebrating and recognizing the Black History Month (BHM). We acknowledged the 2022 BHM Theme – Black Health and Wellness. We salute the Black Americans across the country and in CREST Institute, who have achieved many laurels through their contributions to various fields including science, health, and technology. Black History Month is a time to not only acknowledge, but also to educate our community of the Black/African American individuals who play a vital role in the CUNY CREST institute.

We are grateful to have a diverse pool of scientists that strive to achieve the Institute’s mission of advancing remote sensing and earth systems, transforming science into innovative products, training scientists and leaders, nurturing business opportunities, fostering inclusive partnerships, and promoting environmental and climate justice…

January 2022

Welcome to the third issue of the CUNY-CREST Institute Monthly Bulletin.

On behalf of the CUNY CREST Institute, I welcome our scientists, faculty, staff, and stakeholders to the New Year. 2021 was a great success as it pushed us to continue to triumph into 2022, despite the challenges. In this issue of the CUNY CREST Institute Monthly Bulletin, we take the opportunity to look back on some of the victories that 2021 bestowed upon us, and update our readers on accomplishments achieved by our CREST Institute members, and share with you and our students, new opportunities to explore…