Safiya Richardson is One of 15 CUNY Students to Participate in NSF-Funded Research 

The research program was led by the principal investigators of the grant, Dr. Neal Phillip, Chairperson of the Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Environmental Sciences, and Prof. Paramita Sen of Bronx Community College (BCC) of CUNY and Dr. Brian Vant-Hull of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (NOAA CESSRST) at City College of New York (CCNY). 

“Our collaboration with BCC and CUNY allows us to provide critical learning experiences for students as part of our overall Strategic Plan to enhance student learning outcomes,” said Dr. Nicola Blake, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Guttman.  

Safiya Richardson was part of the second cohort of students who have participated in this research study titled “CUNY – India Pollution Study.” Thirteen students from CUNY participated in the first cohort during the winter of 2023.  

While in the field in India, Safiya monitored air pollution on a microscale using LoRaWAN sensors and Vernier backpack weather stations and processed and analyzed the data using Python computer codes. The parameters monitored included temperature, relative humidity, ozone, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.  

The field work started off in Mumbai in the disadvantaged communities of Dharavi and Santa Cruz and continued in Bhopal, the site of the 1984 environmental disaster involving Union Carbide. The research trip concluded in the Indian capital of New Delhi and included a visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. The team also visited caves and Buddhist monuments from about one thousand years ago in the Bhopal area.  

Safiya and the CUNY team also engaged in philanthropic activities during the Reip. They helped to raise funds to purchase sports uniforms and sneakers for 190 students at the rural Zilla Parishad Primary School in Palghar district of Maharasthra, for canes and walkers for senior citizens in Mumbai and to purchase 276 blankets that was distributed to blind school children and homeless people in New Delhi. Safiya also helped to install a solar-powered weather-/air-quality station, which is supplying important data for the Govardhan Ecovillage farming community in Maharasthra. 

Safiya also met with prominent members of the Indian business community, as well as Indian government officials and diplomats, including Mr. Randhir Jaiswal, the current spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Ministry and the former Consul General of India, New York.  

“We are so pleased that Ms. Richardson was selected for this program,” said Dr. Karla Fuller, professor of biology and chairperson of the Science and Mathematics department. “Ms. Richardson’s enthusiasm for using the power of science to solve issues of environmental justice is evident in her participation in class, and we are happy that she can expand her talents in this global, collaborative study to affect real environmental change.” 

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College was CUNY’s first new community college in more than forty years. Reimagining what community college could be, Guttman opened its doors in Manhattan in August 2012 to create a research-based, innovative model focused on moving students efficiently toward graduation. Offering associate degree programs in a nurturing environment, the College’s three-year graduation rate consistently surpasses the national average, and most graduates transfer to senior colleges. Guttman is federally designated as a Hispanic-serving institution and minority-serving institution with more than 85% of the student population identifying as Latine or Black/African American. The College was named the best community college in America in 2020 and the top community college in New York State for 2020, 2021 and 2022 by and other ranking agencies. 

The U.S. National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports science and engineering in all 50 states and U.S. territories. NSF was established in 1950 by Congress to: promote the progress of science; advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and secure the national defense. NSF fulfills its mission chiefly by making grants. NSF’s investments account for about 25% of federal support to America’s colleges and universities for basic research: research driven by curiosity and discovery. NSF also support solutions-oriented research with the potential to produce advancements for the American people. 

NOAA Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (CESSRST), a Cooperative Science Center (CSC), was established in 2022 and is funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA-EPP/MSI Grant # NA22SEC4810016″). The participating institutions are geographically distributed across the nation and enjoy a high enrollment of underrepresented minority students.