Earth Day: 12 Ways Graduate Center Scholars and Alumni Are Seeking Answers to the Planet's Most Challenging Problems

A photo of a forest, shot with a fisheye lens pointed up at the blue sky, showing circular tableaus of green leaves crisscrossed by dark tree trunks. (Photo credit: Professor Andrew Reinmann)

Graduate Center professors, students, and alumni are investigating the effects of global warming and pollution, and coming up with novel solutions. Want to learn more? Start with these researchers:

Professor Jennifer Cherrier
1. Professor Jennifer Cherrier (GC/Brooklyn, Earth and Environmental Sciences) is testing her nature-based technology system to remove excess phosphorus from water in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

2. Professor Andrea Baden (GC/Hunter, Anthropology) is searching for ways to limit the deforestation of Madagascar’s rainforest habitat, including critically endangered ruffled lemurs. 

Jennifer Zhou
3. Ph.D. student Jennifer Zhu (Biology) is investigating whether Atlantic ribbed mussels might help restore the salt marshes of Jamaica Bay.

Professor Elizabeth Wurtze
4. Professor Eleanore T. Wurtzel (GC/Lehman College, Biochemistry and Biology) is designing smart plants that could grow more efficiently and help feed a growing population.

Trees in a forest
5. Professor Yoko Nomura (GC/Queens, Psychology) and Ph.D. student Melissa Huang, along with Andrew Reinmann, Ricardo Toledo-Crow, and Charles J. Vörösmarty of the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, are studying how New York’s greenspaces might mitigate stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. Kendra Krueger, science education coordinator at the Advanced Research Center (ASRC), and Ricardo Toledo Crow of the ASRC’s Environmental Sciences Initiative are teaching high school students to make sensors that detect carbon dioxide.

7. Professor Ashley Dawson (GC/Staten Island, English) takes on urban environments in Extreme Cities: The Perils and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change.

Christopher Ryan inset on a photo of Long Island City
8. Christopher Ryan, a Ph.D. student in Earth and Environmental Sciences, writes about the risks of development in the floodplains of Long Island City, Queens.

Micha T
9. Professor Micha Tomkiewicz (GC/Brooklyn; Physics, Chemistry/Physics), a Holocaust survivor who was liberated from Bergen-Belsen 75 years ago, blogs about climate change and the search for solutions in ClimateChangeFork

potted plants and dirt
10. Professor Zhongqi “Joshua” Cheng (GC/Brooklyn College, Earth and Environmental Sciences) and his co-researchers are working on making New York soil safer for farming.

Abdou Rachid Bah
11. Ph.D. student Abdou Rachid Bah (Earth and Environmental Sciences) studies the impact of climate change on lakes as part of a larger effort to combat the world’s water problems.

Julie Reiss
12. Julie Reiss (Ph.D. ’96, Art History) edited the recent anthology Art, Theory and Practice in the Anthropocene — the epoch we’re living in now — which explores the role art plays in addressing our ongoing crisis

Submitted on: APR 22, 2020

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