Lemurs and Leaf Bugs, ‘Greening’ Neighborhoods and Green Energy: 11 Inspiring Graduate Center Students and Professors to Read About on Earth Day

Even in this difficult last year, Graduate Center professors and students have been hard at work, researching the effects of climate change and investigating ways to protect animals and the environment: 

The Graduate Center, CUNY · ‘Sustainaphrenia’ in New York City: Melissa Checker on The Thought Project

1. What are the hidden costs of New York City’s efforts to transform industrial waterfronts into green oases? Find out in The Sustainability Myth: Environmental Gentrification and the Politics of Justice, by Professor Melissa Checker (GC/Queens; Anthropology, Psychology; Urban Studies).

The Graduate Center, CUNY · Ashley Dawson on The Thought Project - Episode 66

2. Can people, rather than corporations, reap the gains of green energy? People’s Power: Reclaiming the Energy Commons, by Professor Ashley Dawson (GC/College of Staten Island/English), calls for political transformation in the fight for renewable energy. 

An orchid and Simon Verlynde
3. Orchid researcher Simon Verlynde, a Ph.D. student in the Plant Sciences subprogram of The Graduate Center’s Biology program, has helped to asses the extinction risk of the flowers in their native habitats — and can tell you how to make your orchid re-bloom.

4. Carly Batist, a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, was just awarded a Fulbright IIE fellowship to support her work on black-and-white ruffed lemurs in Madagascar, and on how acoustic technology can be used as a monitoring tool for conservation.

Monique Sosnowski

5. Ph.D. student Monique Sosnowski’s (Criminal Justice) research on wildlife crime has been published in academic journals and cited in magazines like Vogue and National Geographic, helping to reveal the ties between luxury fashion and threats to exotic animals. 

Royce Cumming holding a display case of leaf bugs

6. Royce Cumming, a second-year Ph.D. student in Biology, solved a century-old mystery about leaf bugs and is now studying how geological events going back millions of years influenced their evolution.

Photo of Dianne Greenfield inset in a picture of the Long Island Sound

7. How did the pandemic shutdown affect coastal and marine environments in the New York City metropolitan area? Professor Dianne Greenfield (GC/Queens, Earth and Environmental Sciences/Environmental Sciences), Professor Maria Tzortziou (GC/City, Earth and Environmental Sciences/Earth & Atmospheric Science), and members of their labs are finding out.

Jennifer Zhu and two more students on the shore
8. Can Atlantic ribbed mussels help restore the salt marshes of Jamaica Bay? Ph.D. student Jennifer Zhu (Biology) is researching the bivalves’ presence on the Hudson River Estuary, one of the most nitrogen-loaded estuaries in the world. 

The Graduate Center, CUNY · A Green Approach to Bluer Water: Jennifer Cherrier on The Thought Project

9. Professor Jennifer Cherrier (GC/Brooklyn, Earth and Environmental Sciences) is testing her nature-based technology system to remove excess phosphorus from water in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Mande Holford holding a shell
10. Professor Mandë Holford (GC/Hunter, Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry) is studying venomous snails, and determining whether they hold the potential for treating a spectrum of diseases and ailments, including cancer.

Submitted on: APR 22, 2021

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