An award-winning Geographic Information Science team from Lehman is studying the connection between the high rate of asthma in the Bronx and the concentration of sources of air pollution in the borough. At work on the project, from left, are (seated) students Susan R. Miller, Dellis Stanberry and Juan Carlos Saborio and (standing) Holly Porter-Morgan, a doctoral candidate in biogeography at the CUNY Graduate Center, and Professor Juliana Maantay, who directs the new certificate program.

team of Lehman students won first place at a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Conference for their research on the possible connection between the high rate of asthma in the Bronx and the concentration of factories, highways and other sources of air pollution.

Their preliminary analysis suggests that a spatial correspondence exists between the rates of asthma hospitalization, as calculated by census tract, and the locations of environmentally hazardous land uses and activities in the borough.

The research is part of a three-year project, funded by NOAA's Education Partnership Program, to establish a center for remote sensing science and technology. Lehman - one of six institutions collaborating on the project - is researching and mapping air pollution and asthma in the Bronx.

Working on the project are three Lehman geography majors - Dellis Stanberry, Juan Carlos Saborio and Susan R. Miller - who are all enrolled in the College's new Geographic Information Science (GISc) program. They worked with Holly Porter Morgan, a Ph.D. candidate in biogeography at the CUNY Graduate Center, and Lehman Professor Juliana Maantay, director of the GISc program.

The team used GISc technology to conduct spatial analyses and produce maps illustrating the findings of their research. In Phase Two of the project, they will use computer modeling to produce a more precise estimate of the extent of the impact.

Stanberry presented the team's work at several interactive poster sessions at the NOAA conference, which took place in November. The posters were then evaluated by scientists and officials from the agency's four main branches.

A native of Jamaica, Stanberry worked as a land surveyor there before moving to the U.S. in 1997. A graduate of Bronx Community College, where she earned her associate's degree in computer science, she works full-time for Tele Atlas, creating digital maps for in-vehicle navigation. This month, she will become one of the first students to graduate from Lehman's new GISc certificate program.

Offered to both undergraduates and graduate students, the program teaches students how to map and analyze spatial data using computers and geotechnology. They use specialized software to assess and stimulate a variety of present - and possibly future - conditions, including the spread of disease, the preservation of endangered species and the management of water supplies and other natural resources.

To learn more about the GISc Certificate Program, and to see examples of student and faculty GISc projects, visit the website at www.lehman.cuny.edu/geography. The winning poster will be on display in the Lehman Library.




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