CUNY Faculty Recognized for Wide-Ranging Scholarship

Rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, the impact of climate change on New York City, the causes of crib deaths, and minority participation in medical education were among the exceptional faculty research subjects honored by The City University of New York last month. Some 250 faculty members received $379 million in grants for research that expanded the boundaries of science, detailed potential improvements in public health and deepened knowledge in other academic disciplines.

Among the research highlights were environmentally sound rebuilding after Sandy and assessing the impact of climate change on cities. Some of the weather-related fields were explored by City University of New York faculty members like Kyle McDonald of Brooklyn College, Gregory O’Mullan of Queens College, and Jack Caravanos and William Solecki of Hunter College.

In the public health arena, CUNY professors Tracy Chu of Brooklyn College and Doris Cintron-Nabi and Denise Hien of City College of New York engaged in potentially lifesaving research into, respectively, crib deaths, minority participation in medical education and the translation of basic research about addictions into practices that can help members of racial and ethnic minorities.

In history, sociology and other disciplines, scholars including Herman L. Bennett of the Graduate Center, Alberto Hernandez of Hunter College and Maria Volpe of John Jay College of Criminal Justice explored issues that speak to the breadth of human experience.

Scholarship and creativity blossom as well at CUNY’s community colleges. Grants and awards ranged from an international poetry prize for Carl Grindley of Hostos Community College, to a federal grant to engage students in cell biology for Lalitha Jayant at Borough of Manhattan Community College, to a National Endowment for the Humanities award involving Latino history and food for Megan Elias of Queensborough Community College, to NASA grants to Michael Weisberg of Kingsborough Community College and Yasser Hassebo of LaGuardia Community College.

CUNY Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly said: “We applaud the scholarship and research undertaken across the University, which is central to CUNY’s historic mission. Faculty discoveries improve the human condition, assist local and global communities, and enhance our students’ academic experience. We take enormous pride in the work of all of our scholars and commend this year’s award winners.”

The award and grant recipients in diverse fields of study include:

  • Herman L. Bennett of The CUNY Graduate Center, a scholar on the African diaspora with a focus on Latin America, who received the 2012 Equity Award from the American Historical Association’s Committee on Minority Historians. 
  • Jack Caravanos of Hunter College, an expert on environmental contamination, whose project “Moisture Meters for the Safe Rebuilding of Hurricane Sandy Damaged Homes” was awarded a grant from AmeriCares and who also received a grant from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for “Assessing Regulatory and Policy Conflicts Regarding Removal of Asbestos-Containing Floor Tile Mastic in NYC Housing.” 
  • Tracy Chu of Brooklyn College, a member of the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, who received support from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for “Sleep-Related Infant Injury Deaths in NYC (During 2004–10).” 
  • Doris Cintron-Nabi of City College, a faculty member in the Department of Education, who was awarded a grant from the New York State Department of Health to examine “Minority Participation in Medical Education” and was a Shippy Foundation Scholar. 
  • Megan Elias of Queensborough Community College, a historian, who received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for the Foodways and Humanities Project, a multiyear collaboration between humanities and culinary arts faculty and students that explores Latino history and culture through food. 
  • Carl James Grindley of Hostos Community College and The School of Professional Studies, whose classes range from Shakespeare to film studies, who won an international chapbook competition to capture the second Cathlamet Prize for Poetry. 
  • Denise Hien of City College, a psychologist, who received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for “Translational Research Training on Addictions for Racial/Ethnic Minorities” (moving research into practice). 
  • Alberto Hernandez of Hunter College, associate director of the library and archives at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, who was awarded a New York State Education Department grant for “Documentary Heritage Program: Puerto Ricans in the South Bronx.” 
  • Yasser Hassebo of LaGuardia Community College, an electrical engineer with expertise in optical remote sensing, who received a NASA New York City Research Initiative achievement award for engaging students in NASA-funded research. 
  • Lalitha Jayant of Borough of Manhattan Community College, a member of the Science Department, who became a Linkage Fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology’s Minority Affairs Committee, which channels funds from the National Institute of General Medical Science to promote the study of cell biology at fellows’ home institutions. 
  • Kyle McDonald of City College, who received a grant from the University of Montana to study “Accuracy Assessment and Attribution of Uncertainty for the Global Freeze-Thaw Earth System Data Record.” 
  • Gregory O’Mullan of Queens College’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, who was awarded a grant from the Hudson River Foundation to study “Rapid Response: Post Sandy Collection and Preliminary Analysis of Samples From Flood Impacted Areas,” along with an Eppley Foundation for Research grant for “Exploring Connections Between Water Quality and Air Quality.” 
  • William Soleckiof Hunter College, the director of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities, who received grants from New York City’s Economic Development Corp. for “Development of Updated Climate Scenarios for NYC” and from UT-Battelle (the partnership between the nonprofit Battelle Memorial Institute and the University of Tennessee that manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory) to study “Climate Change in U.S. Cities.” 
  • Maria Volpe of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a sociologist who directs the CUNY Dispute Resolution Center, who received a grant from the United States Institute of Peace for a project, “Counter Memories: Envisioning Alternatives through Peace Building and the Arts.” 
  • Michael Weisberg of Kingsborough Community College, an expert in meteorites, who received a three-year NASA grant to examine “Petrologic-Geochemical Studies of Reduced Solar System Materials.” 

About The City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves more than 270,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via, the University’s website.