Dr. Tarendra Lakhankar received the 2022 CCNY President’s S.T.A.R. award on October 24, 2022 for his fourteen years of exemplary service to the City College of New York (CCNY) including extraordinary achievements in academia and research. The CCNY President’s S.T.A.R. award stands for Service, Teamwork, Action, and Results.

Dr. Tarendra Lakhankar with the S.T.A.R Award

Dr. Lakhankar has contributed to the CUNY Remote Sensing of Earth Science and Technology Institute (CREST), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) CREST (2011-2016) and NOAA Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (CESSRST) (2016-present) in various capacities including scientific research, education and training, teaching/pedagogy and administration. Currently, across NOAA CESSRST Centers, Dr. Lakhankar leads the Water Prediction and Ecosystem Services theme’s team of faculty and researchers. Also, he has been instrumental in developing collaborative projects with CESSRST partner institution and contributes towards generating extramural funding and training opportunities for students across multiple departments by creating interdisciplinary projects that are made available to all deserving students at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Lakhankar is a passionate and committed mentor to the CESSRST and CCNY students, particularly those who are underserved, underrepresented, and first-generation college students in the STEM fields. Some of the doctoral students whom Dr. Lakhankar co-advised have now joined the STEM workforce as faculty and federal employees/affiliates.

Over the years at CCNY, Dr. Lakhankar has designed and led three major field campaign sites and helped several graduate students conduct their research. These sites include- Snow-SAFE, Caribou, ME, Soil moisture field campaign (CUNY-SMART at Millbrook, NY and PR-SMART at Puerto Rico). In 2017, Dr. Lakhankar designed, executed, and made operational New York City (NYC) wide field campaigns by leading the installation of twenty weather stations across NYC public schools, NYCHA properties, and botanical gardens, library, and community colleges called NYC-urban HydroMet Testbed. These weather station sites assist in finding solutions to urban climate crises like floods and heatwaves.

As part of the Charles B. Rangel Infrastructure Workforce Initiative, Dr. Lakhankar teaches skills like Excel, GIS, Google Earth Mapping and StoryMap to historically underserved communities in order to provide them in-demand digital and operational skills. Additionally, since 2008, each summer, Dr. Lakhankar engages in organizing NYC wide workshop/course to teach Geographical Information System (GIS) to a wide variety of students through summer programs.

Dr. Lakhankar has taught various courses at City College including GIS for Water Resources Engineering (CE-G0800), Introduction to Satellite Remote Sensing and Imaging (ENGR 30100), Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (ENGR 59910), Environmental Systems Science (SCIE 4104E), and GIS in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering (CE G0800). He has also delivered several seminars
and lectures related to weather and climate issues.

Dr. Lakhankar has constantly created new opportunities and initiatives with a goal to help students succeed and achieve their professional and career goals before they graduate from college. Dr Lakhankar is a co-PI on various international projects funded by federal agencies like USAID, and NASA, to provide training and workshops for international participants from Southeast Asian Countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh in the field of Remote Sensing and GIS.

Dr. Lakhankar has proven to be a deserving candidate to receive the CCNY President’s S.T.A.R award this year owing to his untiring contributions towards his students and the CCNY’s academic community at large.

CUNY CREST institute was officially approved in June 2010 and inaugurated on November 29, 2010. The goal of the institute is to serve as a CUNY-wide institute of excellence in advancement of Earth System Sciences and application of Remote Sensing technology as well as other emerging technologies. It is designed to be a collaborative environment for faculty and scientists from different CUNY campuses to be able to work together in a variety of topics related to Earth System Sciences. The institute’s collaborative environment will enhance the advancement of science at CUNY and will create opportunity to attract external funding and bring in new resources for the good of faculty, students, and CUNY as a whole. For additional information, please visit crest.cuny.edu.

NOAA CESSRST, a Cooperative Science Center (CSC), was established in 2016 through a national competition and is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA-EPP/MSI Grant # NA16SEC4810008). CESSRST is a national leader in STEM workforce development and supports NOAA missions related to Earth Systems observations, monitoring through application of environmental satellites and ground-based remote sensing technologies. The Center’s mission is to educate, train and graduate a new generation of diverse and competent cadre of students, and to create a diverse and skilled workforce in NOAA mission-aligned STEM and social science disciplines through participation in state of-the-art research. For additional information, please visit cessrst.org.

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