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Dr. Khandaker to Serve on National Geo Sciences Committee

Congratulations to Dr. Nazrul Khandaker, who will serve as a member of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Geological Sciences (USNC/IUGS)!
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Dr. Khandaker (right) and Dr. Mark Little (left) at the latest GSA conference. Dr. Little “is probably the first-known African-American geologist ever to become president of the Geological Society of America.”

Appointed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Dr. Khandaker will serve a three-year term and prove York College as an important institution in the geological sciences. The USNC/IUGS serves as a focal point for U.S. discussions on how to promote the advancement of geological sciences both in the United States and around the world.

The organization is said to “provide guidance and input to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) on these issues, and plans and implements U.S. participation in the programs of the IUGS. The USNC/IUGS works in cooperation with scientific societies.”

In a Q & A session with York’s Office of Communications and Marketing, Dr. Khandaker explained how it all happened.

“Right after attending the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference, held in Portland, Oregon from October 9-14, 2021, I received an email from a representative of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) who sought an interview with me. Subsequently, I had an hour-long Zoom meeting with the representative and discussed topics including the status of geoscience education and outreach, geoscience and societal needs, international collaboration and scientific exchange of knowledge sharing, environmental sustainability, governance, and policies. It was a very fruitful meeting. In the end, I was encouraged to apply for a membership position. The internal review process took over two months, followed by an acceptance letter in mid-January 2022.”

Q. What does this mean for your teaching career?

Dr. Khandaker:

“As a current chair of the GSA International, I foresee a new horizon opening up where urban institutions like York College and the CUNY Graduate Center are being recognized for their quality geoscience education and service to the community. As a faculty member of this urban institution, this new assignment will provide me with exposure to both domestic and international geoscience-related topics and certainly prepare me to foster GSA’s globalization initiative. Given the global pandemic and progressive transformation of the geosciences both in content delivery and pedagogical aspect, we need to align lessons and field activities to meet the “New Normal” and incorporate best practices and case-study-based information for maximum effectiveness.

How excited are you about this opportunity?

Dr. Khandacker:

“I am very humbled to receive USNC/IUGS’s acceptance letter, led by such prominent stalwart geoscientists known all over the world. I’m honored to be part of this governing body, I am grateful for their willingness and collegiality in preparing me for the task.”

Dr. George White, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at York College, shared his enthusiasm upon hearing the news.

“Dr. Khandaker’s appointment to this organization places a member of our community at the heart of global conversations about the fate of our planet, said Dr. White. “It is another example, among many, of York staff, students and faculty tackling the key issues of our time.  This is a well-deserved honor and a testament to a lifetime devoted to scientific exploration and concern for this home we call “Earth” and all of its inhabitants.”

About USNC/IUGS: The USNC/IUGS serves as a focal point for U.S. discussions on how to promote the advancement of geological sciences both in the United States and around the world. It provides guidance and input to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) on these issues, and plans and implements U.S. participation in the programs of the IUGS. The USNC/IUGS works in cooperation with scientific societies.

*Dr. Nazrul I. Khandaker - currently a professor of Geology at the City University of New York (CUNY) York College and a doctoral faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center - has extensive field and research experience in environmental geology, sedimentology, tunnel geology, geoscience and K1-12 STEM education. Since 2015 as a PI, he has supervised the NASA-supported Minority STEM education outreach program for the greater York community.  Khandaker worked as a geotechnical consultant (2001-2008) for the Water Tunnel #3: the largest capital construction project in New York City and facilitated soil and rock core characterization.  In 2018, Khandaker was recognized for his lifetime career service to GSA (Geological Society of America), followed by an election as GSA Fellow in 2019; he is the current chair of the GSA International, and held leadership positions in the GSA’s committee on minorities and women in the geosciences. As a continuous GSA member since 1985, Khandaker played a pivotal role organizing the first joint meeting between the GSA and Geological Society of China (GSC) in Chengdu, Sichuan province in 2013.  Khandaker worked as a board member with the Asian American Asian Research Institute (AAARI) from 2009-2018.  He holds a PhD in geology from Iowa State University and professional geologist license from the state of Wyoming. He has taught at Lafayette College, Montana State University and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (Saudi Arabia). Prior to coming to the United States, he completed a geology graduate degree from Dhaka University (Bangladesh) and subsequently taught in Bangladesh.  


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