MEDGAR EVERS COLLEGE HOSTS 18TH ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES CONFERENCE ADDRESSING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS POST-HURRICANE SANDY

March 7, 2013 | Medgar Evers College

Medgar Evers College Alumni Return as Symposium Presenters to Discuss the Impact of the Storm on the Environment, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Beaches and Parks

Brooklyn, New York – Medgar Evers College (MEC) President Dr. William L. Pollard announced today that the College will kick off its 18th Annual Environmental Sciences conference on Friday, March 8 at 1638 Bedford Avenue in the EOJ Auditorium with an opening ceremony and poster competition. For the main conference on Saturday March 9th, Dr. Pollard will be joined by School of Science Health & Technology Dean Mohsin Patwary, Conference Chair Emeritus Dr. John Gibbs; and Con Edison Public Affairs Manager Johari Jenkins.  Several Medgar Evers College alumni who are graduates of the Environmental Sciences program, will return as speakers or presenters for the March 8 and 9 two-day conference, including NASA physical scientist Dr. Alicia Joseph; Rutgers University environmental chemist and lecturer Dr. Andy Sandy, and current City College doctoral candidate Deon Hines.  Tulane University Associate Professor Dr. L. Faye Grimsley will deliver the keynote speech on March 9.  Other presenters include representatives from Con Edison, New York City Parks Department, National Grid, and area colleges and universities.

Co-sponsored by Con Edison for the last 18 years, the conference brings together students, educators, business representatives and community members to interact with environmental professionals and is highlighted by keynote addresses, poster presentations and panel discussions. This year’s conference focuses on the environmental challenges following Hurricane Sandy and its impact on New York City. Presenters will discuss the environmental impact of the storm on New York City wildlife sanctuaries, beaches and parks, as well as mold infestation and the pollution of wildlife.

“This annual conference provides the public and our community with critical information that impacts our surroundings and environment, and is key to understanding the challenges of a changing environment, weather patterns and the impacts on natural habitats,” said President Pollard.  “The conversations will provide an opportunity for broad discussion on how the city is moving ahead with plans to address the devastation left in the wake of the storm.”

“Our landscape has been severely impacted by the strength and force of the storm,” said Dr. Gibbs.  “And the chance for us to speak to experts to better understand and address these concerns allows us to be involved in future planning.  Our ability to be a part of the solution is greatly enhanced by what we learn through these important exchanges.”

“For nearly 20 years, Con Edison has partnered with Medgar Evers College to support this important community conversation,” said Con Edison Public Affairs Manager Johari Jenkins.  “We are pleased to lend our support and expertise to the topic as we are committed to working toward a leaner, greener environment and greater customer service.”

“Con Edison is a great friend of Medgar Evers College and has shown consistent commitment to the College for several decades,” continued Dr. Pollard. “And like Dr. John Gibbs, whose tireless efforts always result in a quality conference, we are incredibly grateful to each of them for their belief and continued work on behalf of the students, faculty and the Medgar Evers College community.”

This year’s conference will feature presentations from alumni of the Medgar Evers College Environmental Science (MEC ES) program, including Dr. Alicia Joseph, a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center physical scientist, one of the first graduates of the MEC ES program, who will speak at the Opening Ceremony and poster competition at 5pm on Friday, March 8.  Rutgers University lecturer and environmental scientist Dr. Andy Sandy will participate on a panel about exposure assessments, and current CUNY doctoral candidate Deon Hines will present on measurements and exposure assessments of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other hazardous chemicals.  This panel will be led by Professor Derrick Hodge, a pioneer of the Medgar Evers College environmental science program, who will join his past students on the health panel.

On March 9, Tulane University Assistant Professor Dr. Faye Grimsley will deliver the keynote address.  Dr. Grimsley, who also spoke at the College’s 15th Environmental Conference where she discussed lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, recently completed several mold and allergen exposure assessment investigations in flood-damaged homes in New Orleans. She was the lead investigator for the environmental mold and allergen exposure assessment for the National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences.

Other Saturday panels will be devoted to the New York City Parks and Recreation  Department and will feature speakers who will discuss the levels of impact the storm had on wildlife sanctuaries, beaches, oyster beds, parks and other aspects of the City’s natural physical environment.  This panel will also discuss how the livelihoods of many residents have been affected, as well as strategies in place to address recovery.  A panel on the roles of first responders and utilities following major disasters will provide conference attendees with first-hand information as panelists identify the challenges that confront them.

Events on Saturday, March 9 will be held in the Founders Auditorium at 1650 Bedford Avenue, and designated rooms in the new Science building (AB 1) from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Visit www.mec.cuny.edu for more information.

About Medgar Evers College

Medgar Evers College, a senior college within The City University of New York, was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education.

Contact:          Dawn Walker/MEC Communications         (718) 530-4539

                        Dr. John Gibbs/MEC ES Program                (718) 270-6455