NOAA administrator lauds New York science students

Project enhances nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics effort

April 15, 2011

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco today spotlighted NOAA’s Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center (CREST) for its efforts to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. CREST is one of five centers established by NOAA through the Educational Partnership Program (EPP) with minority serving institutions.

“We need well trained scientists, mathematicians and engineers if we are to improve the lives of the citizens of this nation and the world,” Lubchenco said, following a keynote speech during the 10th annual NOAA-CREST Day at The City College of New York (CCNY). “I am pleased that this program is doing just that. Careers in the sciences are not only personally rewarding and interesting, but they provide economic benefits to individuals as well as to the community.”

Each year, students from New York high schools and community colleges learn about education and career opportunities, mostly related to remote sensing and satellites, during the NOAA-CREST Day event. CREST prepares high school teams for success in the Ocean Science Bowl. Last year’s CREST team (Bronx School of Science) was the runner up.

CREST includes 11 colleges and universities in five states and Puerto Rico with CCNY as the lead institution. CREST’s industry partners are Raytheon Corp., Northrup Grumman, and Earth Resources Technology, Inc. CREST trains students from high school through doctoral level and conducts research using satellite remote sensing technology to study climate, precipitation and coastal environmental conditions.

CREST has been integral in training students in cutting edge NOAA mission critical research for the future science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce. CREST has supported 247 graduates (78 with graduate level degrees) who work for private industry and federal and state entities, including three who work at NOAA. In 2010, CREST’s outstanding performance resulted in its institutionalization as an Institute in the City University of New York System (CUNY).

Martin Yapur is a physical scientist at NOAA’s satellite services office of systems development in Silver Spring, Md. He has been at NOAA since 2003 and analyzes observing systems that best satisfy NOAA's needs for environmental observations. He was a CREST student who received his degree from CCNY in 2002.

“I didn’t know NOAA existed,” he said. “But when CREST opened, they recruited interns. I fell in love with NOAA’s mission and worked hard to get a job here. I think this went beyond my expectations.”

Yapur considers himself an advocate for the program and volunteers as a mentor for other students and a judge of papers. And at last year’s NOAA-CREST Day, he was a speaker on the program, talking about his experiences and encouraging others.

NOAA began the Educational Partnership Program with minority serving institutions to increase the number of students, particularly from underrepresented communities, who are trained and graduate in NOAA mission-critical sciences.  EPP established five cooperative science centers at minority serving institutions to advance collaborative research in the NOAA mission sciences. The first four cooperative science centers were established in 2001 and the fifth in 2006. In the past 10 years, the centers have produced more than 700 peer-reviewed publications and conducted 625 collaborative research projects with NOAA. The cooperative science centers have awarded more than 800 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level degrees in STEM fields. More than 600 of these degrees have been awarded to students from under-represented communities, NOAA's Educational Partnership Program.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Find us on Facebook.