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NOAA CESSRST Hosts its First Virtual Technical Meeting Amidst the COVID-19 Lockdown

Posted on May 6, 2020

NOAA CESSRST Hosts its First Virtual Technical Meeting Amidst the COVID-19 Lockdown

The meeting was attended by more than forty participants, including, NOAA NESDIS, NOAA EPP/MSI Program Office, CESSRST faculty, mentors, and, students from CUNY, and, its academic partner institutions, including San Diego State University [SDSU], The University of Texas at El Paso [UTEP], Hampton University [HU], University of Maryland, Baltimore County [UMBC], and The University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez [UPRM].

The half-day meeting began with the opening and welcome remarks by the Center Director, Reza Khanbilvardi, who then summarized the Centers’ annual accomplishments, followed by research and education accomplishments for the year 2019-2020. Harry Cikanek, NOAA NESDIS/STAR Director, and CESSRST’s Technical Monitor, provided valuable and informative insights on NOAA NESDIS/STAR mission. Vanessa Griffin, Director, Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning [NESDIS/OSAAP], and, CESSRST’s Technical Advisor, discussed the newly structured NOAA NESDIS Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning [OSAAP]. CESSRST’s new Post-Doctorate fellow Christopher Collimore presented his research on tropical cyclones formation.

Jacqueline Rouseeau, the NOAA-EPP/MSI Supervisory Program Manager, acknowledged the Center’s contribution in training the next generation of STEM professionals in the NOAA mission enterprise, and, commended the CESSRST students’ on their professional accomplishments and presentations.

Despite the cancellation of the 19th Annual NOAA CREST Day due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Center continued its tradition of announcing the best students of the year award. This year, seven CESSRST students were honored for their outstanding achievements. CUNY Doctoral student, Joshua Hrisko, and CUNY Master’s student, Jahnelle Howe, received the Academic Excellence Award, while, CUNY Undergraduate student Jessica Chiu, and, SDSU Master’s student, Jessica Montes, were recognized for their Professional Development. UPRM Doctoral student Suhey Ortiz, and CUNY Master’s student, Timothy Medina, received the Community Outreach Award for their work with local communities in Puerto Rico, stakeholders, and K6-12 students on NOAA mission for healthy oceans, and, for stakeholder engagement to educate community on Microplastics’ impacts respectively.

The Center also announced its 4 th Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Public Service Graduate Scholarship Award. Out of five competing applications, SDSU Doctoral student, Andrea Fenner, won the award for her proposal on community outreach aimed at increasing the number of underprivileged minority youth in science in the Pacific Region.

Zoom snapshot of the best Student of the Year Award winners
Figure: Zoom snapshot of the best Student of the Year Award winners

CESSRST’s recently appointed Distinguished Research Scientist, Jorge Corredor, exclaimed that, “it is important to see that students have matured through the years”.

Harry Cikanek and Vanessa Griffin expressed how impressed they were with the students’ presentations. Mr. Cikanek stated that, “the work CESSRST is doing is very impressive, and, I’m happy to engage with the CESSRST team to advance NOAA and NESDIS' missions.” The meeting concluded with the discussion of plans for future research, and, NOAA Experiential Research & Training Opportunities ( NERTO) training for CESSRST students, and, early career professionals. These discussions will be further explored during the upcoming 4th Annual Meeting, which is scheduled on June 4, 2020 – perhaps virtually again. 

Figure: Zoom snapshot of the attendees of Virtual Technical Meeting
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