About Us

About Us

Download CESSRST Factsheet

About Us

NOAA Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (CESSRST), a Cooperative Science Center (CSC), was established in 2016 through a national competition and is funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“ NOAA-EPP/MSI Grant # NA16SEC4810008"). The participating institutions are geographically distributed across the nation and enjoy a high enrollment of under-represented minority students. It is a consortium of six institutions, led by The City College of The City University of New York (CCNY)in partnership with 

CESSRST builds on the successes of 15 years (2001-2016) of NOAA-EPP/MSI funding for the Center for Remote Sensing Science and Technologies (NOAA-CREST) as a national leader in STEM workforce development and supporting NOAA mission related to Earth Systems observations, monitoring through application of environmental satellites and ground-based remote sensing technologies. The mission of the Center is to educate, train and graduate a new generation of diverse and competent cadre of students, and to create a diverse and skilled workforce in NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) mission-aligned STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and social science disciplines through participation in state-of-the-art research. CESSRST supports NOAA’s mission “to understand and predict changes in Earth's environment and to conserve and manage coastaland marine resources to meet nation's economic, social, and environmental needs"

UPRM CESSRST Faculty and Student collecting Bio-optical properties after extreme rainfall in southwestern Puerto Rico

Through research projects, CESSRST faculty and students engage with scientists and engineers at NOAA, NOAA's Contractors, industry, local and state stakeholders, and with the broader academic community. A key objective across all CESSRST research projects is to inspire students to engage in interdisciplinary research that supports NOAA’s leading role in environmental science, service and stewardship. Graduate students (MS and PhD) are required to take part in a 12-week internship program, the NOAA Experiential Research Training Opportunity (NERTO), with NOAA scientists.

Jahnelle Howe, Masters Student during her NOAA Okeanos Cruise

Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (CESSRST)

  • Dr. Fred Moshary, Center Director, CCNY/CUNY
  • Dr. Shakila Merchant, Center Associate Director

NOAA-Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions, Managers

Center NOAA Technical Monitors

Center NOAA Technical Advisor

Center Partners - Institutional PIs

  • University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Dr. Rafael Solis Rodriguez
  • University of Texas in El Paso — Dr. Miguel Velez-Reyes,
  • University of Maryland in Baltimore County — Dr. Ruben Delgado
  • Hampton University— Dr. Pat McCormick
  • San Diego State University - Dr. Walter Oechel 

Center focus areas:

Distinguished Research Scientist: Dr. Nir Krakauer , CCNY/CUNY (Acting DRS)

  1. Coastal Resilience
    • Dr. Maria Tzortziou, Lead, The City College of New York, NY
    • Dr. Roy Armstrong, Co-Lead, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, PR
  2. Atmospheric Hazards
    • Dr. John Anderson, Lead, Hampton University, VA
    • Dr. Belay Demoz, Co-Lead, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD
  3. Water Prediction and Ecosystem Services
    • Dr. Walter Oechel, Lead, San Diego State University, CA
    • Dr. Tarendra Lakhankar, Co-Lead, The City College of New York, NY

Center integrated training areas include:

  • Instructional Design, Faculty Training, and Assessment
    • Dr. Kathryn Kailikole, Chair, The City College of New York, NY
  • Social Sciences
    • Dr. William Solecki, Chair, Hunter College, City University of New York, NY
    • Dr. Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Co-Chair, University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD
  • Core Competency
    • Dr. Jorge Gonzalez, Chair, The City College of New York, NY 
    • Dr. John Anderson, Co-Chair Hampton University, VA
  • Recruitment
    • Dr. Ruben Delgado, Chair, University of Maryland Baltimore County, MD
  • Professional Advancement and Career Engagement
    • Dr. Miguel Velez Reyes, Chair, the University of Texas at El Paso
The Center's Direct Broadcast Antenna Randome, located at City College, New York

Five Things to Know about CESSRST

1. CESSRST builds on the successes of the Center for Remote Sensing Science and Technologies (CREST, 2001-2016) as a national leader in training an advanced STEM workforce supporting NOAA mission-related to Earth monitoring and environmental satellite remote sensing technologies.

The participating institutions are MSI/HSI/HBCU Colleges and Universities, geographically distributed across the nation, and especially in large urban cities and communities. They cover areas with high concentrations of Under-Represented Minority (URM) students, especially Hispanics, and train a rich and diverse pipeline of students in NOAA-related fields.

2. CESSRST is engaged in the professional training of the next generation of engineers and scientists in NOAA priorities in the Interdisciplinary field of Earth system sciences and remote sensing technologies particularly in the thematic areas of Coastal Resilience, Weather Hazards, and Water Prediction and Ecosystem services

The Consortium brings together world-class research capabilities for remote sensing technology that include: exemplary faculty and research staff, advanced computational facilities, instrumentation for direct readout of satellite data and/or calibration validation, experience in state-of-the-art remote sensing technology development for satellite and surface-based remote sensing and in situ sensor systems. These capabilities drive an ambitious research agenda for new applications of remote sensing, and advancing the understanding of Earth System processes and improving predictions of weather and climate.

3. CESSRST collaborates extensively with several NOAA Line Offices, labs, and facilities.

CESSRST particularly aims to address the needs of the NOAA Line Offices, laboratories, and facilities. Center Students and faculty have engaged in collaborations with: National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service ( NESDIS), Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), Office of Satellite and Product Operations (OSPO), NCEP, National Weather Service (NWS), Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), ESRL, Severe Storm Laboratory, GFDL, AOML, National Ocean Services (NOS), and NOAA Marine Fisheries Service (Northeast Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries)

4. CESSRST has developed a comprehensive “social sciences framework” in all center education and research activities as articulated in the NOAA Strategic Plan.

CESSRST Fellows are required to integrate social science and human dimension implications of their research and demonstrate growth in key social science competencies in alignment with the NOAA Social Science Vision and Strategy. Students learn NOAA Social Science goals through 9-hour learning modules and demonstrate deeper understanding of social science implication of their research by creating their own NOAA Story Maps

5. CESSRST leverages the expertise of its External Advisory Board (EAB) and its large group of Industrial Partners to support student training activities.

The Center External Advisory Board (EAB) which compromises of NOAA line offices’ managers, industrial partners, and academicians assist the Center in seeking research training opportunities for CESSRST Fellows, facilitate community outreach activities, serve as conduits to local issues and concerns, and provide input into Center research initiatives in their respective communities. They also advise and assist in identifying opportunities for student professional development and experiential research and learning, opportunities and ensure that students’ career goals and training activities are aligned with NOAA mission enterprise. CESSRST industrial partners include: Lockheed Martin (new), STC, SSAI, ERT, and IMSG.

Students at Hampton University working with a Weather Balloon

CESSRST Goals & Objectives

Goal: Conduct NOAA mission-aligned collaborative research


  • Increase NOAA Collaboration and Engagement with NESDIS and other NOAA Line Offices
  • Increase and create NOAA Experiential Research and Training Opportunities (NERTO) opportunities for all NOAA CESSRST supported graduate (MS and PhD) students
  • Engage in inter-CSC and Intra-CSC research and education collaborations

Goal: Recruit, train and graduate increased number of students in NOAA-related STEM fields


  • Create and implement Center-Wide Recruitment Plan
  • Create and institutionalize Center-wide Core-Competency (CWCC) Framework
  • Create and implement Center-Wide Social Science Framework
  • Create and implement Professional Advancement and Career Engagement (PACE) for each CSC supported student
  • Create annual summer Bridge Program to increase number of applications for NOAA UG and Hollings scholarship opportunities across the CESSRST consortium

Goal: Increase/attain institutional capacity to sustain education and research


  • Increase/leverage University and generate extramural resources to sustain CSC capacity to conduct research and education in NOAA mission-aligned STEM fields
  • Create new Academic Programs and Curricula in line with NOAA-mission sciences and social sciences.
  • Communicate CSC accomplishments and success stories through various media platforms including the center website.
  • Create best practices that are scalable and transferable

CESSRST Value Statements

  • Create a robust center-wide science, social science and education framework that aligns with NOAA’s education and science strategic missions.
  • Create a synergy between CESSRST and the University Strategic mission and core values.
  • Create a climate of diversity, inclusion and positive learning for students and early-career scientists.
  • Inspire leadership, and create innovative and forward thinkers.
  • Address attainment gaps and create strategies to address STEM diversity and job skill deficiency gaps.
  • Create a world-class cadre of young, NOAA science competent scientists and engineers, especially students from underrepresented minority groups
Engela Sthapit working at the snow site, caribou ME