Science

Students learning in a chemistry lab

Program of Study

The Science Program at Guttman Community College fosters a dynamic environment where students, faculty and staff work collaboratively to expand students’ knowledge in the life and physical sciences. The Program emphasizes high-impact experiential learning by incorporating research and laboratory experiences across all course levels, from the introductory courses to the capstone. Science students have a variety of opportunities to apply hands-on laboratory skills in well-equipped labs, both in class and through extra-curricular research and outreach. Graduates of the Science program are fully prepared to smoothly transfer to a baccalaureate program, pursue their educational and professional futures in the sciences, and make important contributions to a more scientifically literate society.

Mission

In support of the mission of Guttman Community College, the Science program aims to:

  • Create an environment that supports student success through instructor and advisor accessibility, small class sizes, well-supported lab facilities, creative and innovative pedagogy, and student academic support;
  • Provide multi-modal education in a technologically modern, sustainable, student-centered environment;
  • Create an atmosphere that cultivates student literacy and life-long interest in science through curricular and co-curricular activities, projects, and opportunities for student research;
  • Provide a clear path to obtaining an Associate degree for students of widely diverse age, gender identity, background, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status;
  • Cultivate students’ understanding and appreciation for evidence- and logic-based reasoning both as a tool for academic success and scientific inquiry and as a critical tool for responsible civic life;
  • Teach leadership by example through active faculty participation in shared governance, community engagement, professional accountability, and sustainable operations; and

Support each faculty member’s maintenance of disciplinary expertise by engaging in professional development, collaborative opportunities, and by supporting the growth of our peers.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Science program, students will be able to:

  • Employ common laboratory procedures to study scientific phenomena;
  • Analyze data collected to make conclusions about scientific phenomena;
  • Employ college-level literacy practices in scientific disciplines, including using correct citation format;
  • Retrieve relevant literature using appropriate scientific databases to analyze and understand scientific information;
  • Engage in current scientific issues, demonstrate their knowledge and communicate with a range of audiences; and
  • Develop skills to identify and analyze problems and apply scientific knowledge to solve them.

Liberal Arts and Sciences News

October 20, 2021

Guttman Students and Alumni Publish Anthology of Short Stories

Twenty-three Guttman students have published an anthology of original short stories, Trauma and Triumph: 23 Tales. These first-time authors offered a range of stories in multiple languages including code. Stories played with the narrative frame by positioning the narrator as both passive and active. Stories also included fairytales and diary entries formats. The range of topics is prolific in scope often swinging from periods of grave trauma to heights of great and wondrous triumph.

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October 20, 2021

Guttman Alumni Hailey Ayala and Prof. Derek Tesser Named Winners at the 2021 CUNY Research Scholars Program Symposium

Guttman Alumna Hailey Ayala is one of a select few winners of the 2021 CUNY Research Scholars Program Symposium for her research presentation of “Quantifying tropical land cover change in the Chocó Hotspot of Biodiversity between 2006-2011 utilizing Palsar-1 satellite imagery”.   Ayala worked with mentor and Professor Derek Tesser, who specializes in Environmental and Geological Sciences, to present her research at the Symposium. 

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July 27, 2021

From Gambia to Guttman with Gumption

Bashir Juwara exudes positivity. Digital and in-person encounters with the 2021-2022 Guttman Community College Student Government Association (SGA) President leave a person at ease – he radiates calm and confidence. In his four years in America, Mr. Juwara has manifested his gumption to succeed by seeking out and embracing the opportunities he’s encountered on his journey. He has big plans for the future, and wants to spread motivation and make a positive change at Guttman and beyond.

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May 5, 2021

Dr. Alia Tyner Co-Authors Article Examining Project-Based Assessment in NYC Public Schools

The article “Reframing School Culture Through Project-Based Assessment Tasks: Cultivating Transformative Agency and Humanizing Practices in NYC Public Schools,” co-authored by Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings with Drs. Maria Hantzopoulos and Rosa L. Rivera-McCutchen, has been published in the Teachers College Record. Building on the argument that high-stakes testing policies are ineffective and “have exacerbated inequities in schooling across racial, economic, geographic, and linguistic lines,” the researchers focus on the transition to Project Based Assessment Tasks (PBAT) at ten New York City public high schools that are part of the New York Performance Standards Consortium. The authors, who “specifically consider[] the role that PBATs might play in shaping school culture,” have found them “a useful tool to engage students and teachers more actively as participatory actors in the school environment, particularly when overall school structures collectively support its integration.”

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April 19, 2021

Faculty Feature: Dr. Karla Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Coordinator of Science

“More than anything, I want our students to know that they can succeed in science and math. They don’t have to pursue it, but I don’t want them to think that it’s not for them for any particular reason, except [if they don’t choose it.] If they want to, they can be good at it, or they can be interested in it… I just want them to feel like they belong. That it’s for them, if they want it.”

Dr. Karla Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Coordinator of Science, bears the unique distinction of being the very first faculty hired at Guttman, prior to the convocation of its inaugural first-year class in 2012 and the naming of the College. Seeing it as the urban likeness of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), she determined to fulfill her “mission in life” – giving students of color sustained opportunities to “have that moment like, ‘Oh, maybe I could study science’,” the realization critical to “increasing the overall percentage of underrepresented people in America who are scientists, the number of Black and Latino scientists in the field, and this means pursuing graduate studies or professional school after a Bachelor’s degree.” To this ambitious end, Dr. Fuller has spearheaded the establishment of Guttman’s Associate of Science (A.S.) degree Program of Study, forthcoming in Fall 2021.

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April 8, 2021

Guttman’s Dr. Kristina Baines Organizes and Co-Hosts Anthropology Webinar Addressing Contemporary Issues

With Co-Founder and Co-Director of Cool Anthropology Victoria Costa, Guttman Faculty Dr. Kristina Baines organized and co-hosted the interactive virtual event Anthropology and the Public: Pressing Questions, Responsibilities and Opportunities, which aired live on YouTube on March 1, 2021. The webinar brought together a wide network of anthropologists, social scientists, educators, students, and practitioners of various fields to exchange and elaborate critical, multidisciplinary ideas that contribute to the public good. Featuring panelists and breakout sessions to address an array of contemporary social and environmental issues, the gathering included discussions concerning public health, medical anthropology, climate change and environmental justice, race and racism, media, journalism, technology, and art. The workshop included student facilitators from 5 continents, over 300 registrants, 150 active participants, including Guttman alumna, former Peer Mentor, and College Assistant Hannia Delgado and former Guttman staff member Baird Campbell. The event was funded through a grant by the Wenner Gren Foundation and co-sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Division and Berghan Books.

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April 8, 2021

Guttman Chemistry Faculty Dr. Jihyun Kim Publishes Important Findings on Biofuels Under Pressure

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jihyun Kim has co-authored “Brown grease pyrolysis under pressure: Extending the range of reaction conditions and hydrocarbon product distributions,” an article published in the April 2021 issue of Fuel, a top-tier peer-reviewed journal featuring primary research in the science and technology of fuel and energy. Written with Dr. Lawrence Pratt of Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Dr. Hoy Yin Lo, President and CEO of Synovel Laboratory, LLC, and Dr. Dequan Xiao of University of New Haven, the paper documents the use of a pressure reactor to explore the effects of higher temperatures and pressure on brown grease and to transform waste into fuel. Significantly, the research “resulted in shorter reaction times, reduced formation of undesirable ketone byproducts, and a higher percentage of the most valuable light hydrocarbon products.” This project builds on Dr. Kim’s longstanding focus on the potential beneficial uses of biofuels – brown grease, for one – and the development of eco-friendly chemical processes to reduce or eliminate toxic chemical waste.

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April 8, 2021

Guttman Faculty Drs. Makris and Gatta Publish Op-Eds on “Equitable and Just” Recovery for US Cities and Towns

Following the publication of their book, Gentrification Down The Shore, Guttman Urban Studies faculty Dr. Molly Vollman Makris and Dr. Mary Gatta released op-eds in The Progressive and ArcaMax, Politics section, on February 12, 2021. Based on research the co-authors conducted on Asbury Park, New Jersey, both articles respond to the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan for economic recovery during the ongoing pandemic. In “Rescue Our Cities and Towns” and “Commentary: Rescue our cities and towns,” the co-authors emphasize “long-term progressive planning… that means a continued focus on economic security for working families, fully funded public education, universal health care, and environmental and racial justice measures.” By calling for an “equitable and just” policy direction, Drs. Makris and Gatta assert that cities and towns throughout the United States “will need sustained support from the federal government to survive and thrive in a COVID-19 world.”

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March 22, 2021

Dr. Kristina Baines and Guttman Students Participate in Pandemic Journaling Project and Featured in The New York Times

In the Introduction to Urban Community Health courses she taught during the Spring II and Fall I 2020 semesters, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dr. Kristina  Baines’ students interacted with the Pandemic Journaling Project (PJP) – a public research initiative developed at the University of Connecticut, which invites participants to respond to weekly prompts about their experiences living through the pandemic. Students could either create journal entries (written, audio or visual methods) or reflect on the journal entries that others posted on the public section of the site. The aim of Dr. Baines’ assignment is to involve students in documenting the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of everyday people rather than official narratives. In their responses, students were able to consider their contributions to this alternative history on personal and scholarly levels. Overall, Dr. Baines’ students have welcomed this space to share their thoughts and feelings about the impact of the pandemic on their lives.

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March 22, 2021

Arts in New York City Faculty Lyricist for Shows Produced by the Lowbrow Opera Collective, Winner of NAMT’s 15-Minute Musical Challenge, and Recipient of Spark Grant

Perpetual Sunshine and the Ghost Girls, a musical featuring the work of Adjunct Instructor Prof. Sara Cooper, an accomplished playwright and lyricist who teaches the Arts in New York City course in Guttman’s Liberal Arts and Sciences Program, was one of five selected for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s 15-minute Musical Challenge. Produced in part by the Beck Center and the Baldwin Wallace University Program, the first fifteen minutes of the performance premiered virtually on February 12, 2021, and ran through February 28. Prof. Cooper wrote the lyrics to music by Lynne Shankel. According to Broadway World News Desk, “the show is based on the true story of the women who fought United States Radium Corporation in the 1920s for knowingly poisoning them and subsequently changed United States labor laws forever.”

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March 16, 2021

Drs. Fuller, Kim, and Sole Present “Storytelling in STEM: How Narratives and Data Analysis Teach Real World Skills”

Guttman faculty Drs. Karla Fuller, Ji Kim, and Marla A. Sole presented the pedagogical practices they have implemented in their STEM courses at the Mid-Atlantic SENCER Center for Innovation Conference, an initiative of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) held virtually in January 2021. The presenters discussed how rigorous scientific methods were combined with readily understood contexts. In their courses, students gained real world data analysis skills by working on problems authentically connected to their lives: examining if home remedies have microbial properties; studying how cooking waste could be transformed into fuel; tracking the changes in teenagers’ habits during the pandemic. By incorporating students’ own narratives in teaching STEM concepts and skills, Drs. Fuller, Kim, and Sole have created opportunities for underrepresented students to succeed in mathematics and science courses and to share their experiences and developing knowledge with their families and communities. The presentation highlighted important benefits for students, including increased and deeper understanding of research methodology, building self-confidence in mathematics and science, and learning to communicate with a diverse audience. Furthermore, these innovative teaching practices have significant potential to expand equity and access in STEM courses.

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March 16, 2021

Guttman Faculty Publish on Use of Culturally Responsive Curricula to Improve Engagement and Learning in Microbiology Lab Course

The article “A Culturally Responsive Curricular Revision to Improve Engagement and Learning in an Undergraduate Microbiology Lab Course,” by Guttman faculty Dr. Karla S. Fuller and Prof. Camila Rivera Torres, was published in Frontiers in Microbiology in January 2021. The article details the implementation of a “culturally responsive approach in an undergraduate microbiology lab [to] increase engagement and learning gains.” In a scaffolded assignment, “students interviewed family members to learn about ‘home remedies,’ and then devised experiments to test” the effects of those remedies on the “growth of bacteria commonly implicated in gastrointestinal distress or sore throat. As a final assessment, students generated project posters which they presented at a class symposium.” The work of Dr. Fuller and Prof. Torres exemplifies the commitment of Guttman faculty to culturally responsive pedagogy and experiential learning, aimed at “increased retention and degree attainment for students at our Hispanic-serving institution.” To further its impact on higher education, this open access publication is available to readers and educators around the world.

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March 12, 2021

Guttman Political Science Faculty Featured Guest on Dr. Johanna Fernandez’s A New Day

On the historic date of January 6, 2021, Instructor of Political Science Prof. Douglas Medina was the invited guest on A New Day, a radio broadcast hosted on WBAI 99.5FM by Dr. Johanna Fernandez, author of The Young Lords: A Radical History and Associate Professor of History at Baruch College, CUNY. In the midst of the worst stage of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, the scholars discussed the US response to the coronavirus; the socioeconomic effects on workers and communities of color; the latest in workers’ rights movements; and most prominently, that morning’s dramatic results of the Georgia run-off election and the certification of the 2020 presidential election by Congress.

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March 8, 2021

2020 CUNY Community College Research Grant Awarded to Dr. Ria Banerjee

Guttman faculty member Dr. Ria Banerjee has been selected for the maximum funding of the CUNY Community College Research Grant (CCRG) Mentored Undergraduate Research program to continue a creative storytelling archival project that began in AY 2019‐2020. The CCRG Mentored Undergraduate Research program is designed to support faculty basic research endeavors and to increase the number of associate degree students engaged in faculty mentored research projects. Dr. Banerjee’s work with Guttman students to document and explore their interactions with the legacy of colonialism captures faculty commitment to the student-centered pedagogy and opportunities for guided research strongly supported the College.  

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November 20, 2020

Guttman Urban Studies Faculty Drs. Makris and Gatta Release New Book

Dr. Molly Vollman Makris and Dr. Mary Gatta have co-authored Gentrification Down the Shore, an insightful ethnographic case study recently released by Rutgers University Press. The book explores the evolution of Asbury Park, New Jersey, a beach town vibrant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before bearing the downward impact of broader structural socioeconomic changes on US urban areas.

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October 23, 2020

Dr. Ria Banerjee, Associate Professor of English

“We can disagree and still be friends… Most of the time, a literature classroom is a philosophical space. It’s about how we live, how we react to each other, how we deal with love, and who we are constantly becoming. So, disagreement and argument… help us really understand what we think and why.”

Associate Professor of English Dr. Ria Banerjee specializes in literary modernism, primarily Anglophone British, European, and Indian writing of the 1910s-1930s – “partly because I love that ‘modernist mood’ and partly because so much of what people lived through at the beginning of the 20th century bears eerie parallels to what we are going through now.” Presently, she is at work on the manuscript of her book, tentatively titled Drafty Houses, where she posits that the way “modernist [English] authors wrote about changing, renovating, and restructuring houses and personal spaces in fiction actually speaks to how they thought the UK ought to change politically.” Avoiding direct confrontation with the authorities, “established authors like T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf wrote about rooms, buildings, and houses as a kind of substitute for… the nation as a shelter for citizens.” These writers became what Dr. Banerjee calls “tepid activists,” who were “outraged at the many political atrocities carried out by the UK at home and abroad, especially in the British colonies, [but] tried to find ways to be critical without being arrested,“ or having their writing banned. 

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September 11, 2020

Dr. Maggie Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

“I want for students to understand how their own curiosity can become a resource for self-education… that they can take control of their own education, follow their interests, and trust themselves to learn independently.”

“What drew me to Guttman is teaching,” Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Maggie Dickinson proclaims with passion, “that community of faculty who are just so dedicated to understanding teaching as a practice and putting that at the center of their work.” The Online Course Development training she led with fellow Guttman faculty Dr. Kristina Baines, which became urgent as COVID-19 took hold in Spring 2020, embodied this value. “Dean Blake really supported us in making it a home-grown professional development. We drew on the resources at Guttman to put it together [so] it really built on the work that everybody was already doing.” Since coming to the College in 2016, Prof. Dickinson has observed the shift to recognizing “that we have faculty who are leaders in understanding some of these [pedagogical] questions and we can draw on them as experts.”

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August 3, 2020

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Accepts Guttman Biology Lecturer’s Project

Guttman Lecturer of Biology Derek Tesser’s project was accepted by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a federally funded research and development center managed by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Prof. Tesser describes his innovation: “I proposed to utilize Ecost​ress, an experimental NASA sensor recently placed on the International Space Station, for an integrative method to mapping Earth’s ecosystems from space. The approach will merge the thermal data acquired by Ecostress with information from Earth science radar satellites in orbit to characterize components of the carbon, water, and energy cycle in priority ‘hotspot’ ecosystems around the world.”

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August 3, 2020

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings Applies Sociological Method to Studying Disney Films

In February 2020, Guttman Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings presented “More Than the Renaissance: Revisiting the Periodization of Disney Animated Feature Films” at the Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The presentation posits that, “if examining changes in popular culture,” the way a cultural artifact “is understood” must be contextually “defined [and] situated in a longitudinal analysis.” When the particular work “intersects with multiple social institutions, careful examination of the elements and their place in time is especially relevant.” Dr. Tyner-Mullings argues that “one example of this is the movies created by the Walt Disney Company. …They are not only a product of a media conglomerate and serve an entertainment function, but they, like other forms of media, also contribute to the education and socialization of children.”

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May 1, 2020

Dr. Ria Banerjee Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Assistant Professor of English Dr. Ria Banerjee has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities grant. The Summer Stipend supports the completion of Dr. Banerjee’s book Drafty Houses: Modernist Fiction and Spatiality, looking at the work of E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and T. S. Eliot.

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April 6, 2020

Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings, Associate Professor of Sociology

“The thing that you always want as a professor is that moment when the students get what you’re talking about… see something and connect it to their lives, or see [something] in their lives and connect it to [what’s] happening in the classroom… When you do something in a class and the students say it was the first time they did that, or the first time they saw the point of something.”

There is little that Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Alia Tyner-Mullings has not done as a Guttman Founding Faculty, joining in 2011, a year before the College’s doors opened to students. Colleagues assume, she laughs, “that any committee that exists, I’m on it, which obviously is not true.” Dr. Tyner-Mullings has chaired Guttman’s chapter of the Professional Staff Congress since its inception, a position she has held through several election cycles and crucial contract negotiations. A vocal advocate for establishing the Academic Senate, she presently serves as its Vice Chair. Dr. Tyner-Mullings has collaborated to revise Guttman’s unique two-semester Ethnographies of Work (EoW) sequence and, subsequently, to create an Open Educational Resource (OER) for these courses. In addition, the acronym she coined for the Guttman Learning Outcomes that articulate educational goals and reflect the institution’s vision for our students – GLOs – has been heartily adopted.

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March 24, 2020

Guttman Leadership and Faculty Awarded NSF HSI Program Grant to Improve STEM Outcomes

Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Planning Niesha Ziehmke, Associate Professor of Biology Karla Fuller, and Assistant Professor of Information Technology Dalvin Hill have been awarded the National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic Serving Institutions (HIS Program) grant for their project, “Testing the Impact of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Streamline Transfer Support on STEM Success for Underrepresented Students.”

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March 22, 2020

Professor’s Research on Creating Biofuel from Waste Published

Assistant Professor of Science Dr. Jihyun Kim’s research on transforming brown grease into biodiesel fuel has been published in the Journal of Biochemical Engineering. The groundbreaking research describes the process of using water treatment plant waste to create a renewable energy source in the form of biodiesel.

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March 18, 2020

Guttman Professor Receives CUNY ICCRG Grant to Organize Conference on Climate Change Education

Guttman Lecturer of Biology Derek Tesser is a co-PI on a proposed CUNY Conference on Climate Change Education, awarded a $10,000 CUNY Interdisciplinary Climate Crisis Research Grant (ICCRG). The conference, planned for the fall, will bring together K-16 educators from the NYC regional area to discuss how to better teach climate change to a wide audience.

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