Jennifer Cherrier recently joined the faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences at both Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center. The focus of her research, both basic and applied, is in aquatic biogeochemistry. Specifically, she evaluates microbial transformations and the flux of carbon and nitrogen in freshwater and marine systems, and also evaluates how human stressors affect these biogeochemical cycles and, ultimately, ecosystem dynamics. She is particularly interested understanding the effects of stormwater runoff and sewage inputs (i.e. from both CSOs and septic seepage) on aquatic systems and in identifying solutions to offset these impacts, particularly as it pertains to water resource sustainability. To this end, her research group has developed an ecosystem-based, modular, hybrid stormwater management system (eco-WEIRTM, patent pending) that augments and ‘activates’ otherwise passive green infrastructure to remove pollutants, alleviate drainage issues, and allow for water storage and reuse. As an add-on to this prior art, Cherrier and her colleagues recently filed provisional patent application with the City University of New York for improvements to this technology including the addition of micro-sensors, an analytics platform for monitoring the system’s performance in real time, and a model using machine-learning techniques.
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Cherrier strongly believes that bringing science to market and engaging the public at large in sustainability efforts is key for addressing current and future environmental challenges, and that this must also be translated to our students to help grow the necessary ‘green’ workforce and create the voices for the future. Over the past several years she has been working closely with a multi- and trans-disciplinary group of natural and applied scientists, social scientists, economists, architects, developers, community groups, and NGOs in an effort to create collective approaches for establishing green infrastructure in urban areas. She recently received a National Science Foundation I-Corps grant to investigate the commercialization potential of her ecoWEIRTM technology and has also also been awarded funding from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and New York State for two multi- and trans-disciplinary pilot studies in New York City, soon to be underway.
In 2013 Cherrier was selected as a Leopold Leadership Fellow for Sustainability, one of 20 researchers from across North America to receive this honor. The Leopold Leadership Program trains Fellows to become leaders in sustainability by providing skills and approaches for communicating and networking with NGOs, business, government and communities to integrate science into decision making. She is also a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Alumni. Kavli Frontiers of Science participants are selected by a committee of Academy members from among young researchers who have already made recognized contributions to science, including recipients of major national fellowships and awards, and who have been identified as future leaders in science.