2024 Research Day at York College Allows Meeting of Minds, Knowledge Sharing and Connecting with the Community

By Prof. Dr. Nazrul Khandaker

York College’s 2024 Research Day enabled the JFK Redevelopment-supported Aviation and Aeronautics Academy (JFKR AAA), NASA MUREP (Minority University Research and Education Project), and recently retired STEM professionals to meet and greet. 

Students Presenting

The Research Day, held on May 2, was highly successful with more than 75 poster presentations that covered a plethora of topics aligned with geosciences, climate change scenarios, environmental pollution & remediation, aviation industry, best practices with innovative pedagogies, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, fundamental mathematics, biology and chemistry. 

An interesting aspect that brought prominence to the annual research event was the participation of several STEM students, graduates, teachers, and mentors from the JFKR AAA and NASA Program. Past NASA program participants Nubaha Sayeed Naomi (BS, Stony Brook University, MPH, Tulane University), Roselina Quadros (BS, York College and MS, Stonybrook University in geosciences) and Mahir Ahmed (BS, Queens College, also taught Spring JFKR session to 8th graders), Isaiah Jamna (taught JFKR Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 session, now pursuing a medical degree at CUNY Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education), and Tyler Singh (taught JFKR AAA, now pursuing an accelerated MS at MIT) actively mentored current students pursuing STEM research. 

Retired STEM professionals Masud Ahmed (geotechnical division, NYCDEP) and Belal Sayeed (Dewberry Engineering Corporation) equally landed their full support to NASA and JFKR AAA initiatives to educate and offer peer mentoring to community children who want to get trained in aviation and infrastructure-related engineering projects. 

Keynote presentation

Dr. Nazrul Khandaker, Dr. Stanley Schleifer (retired geology professor), Masud Ahmed, and Belal Sayeed worked in the construction of the City Water Tunnel No. 3 (2000-2010) and shared their experiences with students, guided them to present research outcomes and made them aware of the need for a trained workforce to assist in infrastructure build-ups, management and upgrading. 

Several York geoscience graduates are already working in capital construction and environmental remediation and teaching in New York City public schools and on CUNY campuses. A few representative ones are Zarine Ali (EPA), Charren Cabaroy (EPA), Malek Shami (EPA), Thakur Chaturgan (Brown and Caldwell Environmental Engineering Firm), Roselina Quadros (NYC Department of Health), Ryan McPherson (New York City Housing Authority or NYCHA), Luis Sepulveda (US Army Corps of Engineering, Los Angeles), Kathy Robbins (NYC Department of Education), Darlene DeFabio and Shirley Jackson (adjunct faculty CUNY). 

Student Showing research

York continues leveraging alums' expertise and enabling current undergraduates and STEM students to receive guidance and strategic career-oriented information to become job-ready. The closely knitted fabric incorporating STEM professionals, current students, and recent graduates ultimately becomes an information warehouse where incoming first-year students, geology majors, and JFKR AAA students, exceptionally high school graders, can navigate through much-needed career-related information. 

The meeting of several STEM professionals at the Research Day event reinforces York’s successful approach to longitudinal tracking of graduates, both in academic majors and STEM Outreach Programs (NASA and JFKR AAA). The close collaboration allows for building collegiality and uniting everyone to get a feel for the importance and academic preparation needed to become a successful STEM professional. 

Kudos to Andrew Singh (adjunct faculty, York College), Omadevi Singh (Office Manager, JFKR AAA), Pauline Miles (Administrate staff, Earth and Physical Sciences), and a few parents and caregivers for their active role in helping the greater York community enjoy students’ presentations and feel proud of their culminating work.

Prof. Dr. Nazrul Khandaker and staff