Biology Student Conducts Environmental Research

Alessia Eramo 07

Alessia Eramo ‘07

“I am interested in this research with Dr. Cervino because I am very passionate about environmental protection and very concerned about environmental degradation. My life and career goal is to develop solutions to environmental crises, as well as heighten awareness of the degrading effects of human activity,” says Alessia Eramo ‘07.

In a unique opportunity, biology major Alessia Eramo has participated in the scientific environmental evaluation of a land site where a new high school is proposed to be built in Queens, New York. Eramo and Assistant Professor of Biology James Cervino, PhD, presented their findings at two public community meetings; one in March and one in April.

Eramo explains. “[ New York] Senator Padavan and Bob Trabold, president of the Hillcrest Association for Neighborhood Preservation, approached Dr. Cervino about establishing a scientific environmental evaluation of this site. I was given access to the proposed plan, environmental data, and Department of Environmental Conservation and School Construction Authority (SCA) correspondence. I analyzed the data, researched related information, and in consultation with Dr. Cervino, put together the March 16 presentation. We were then asked to present our findings at the town hall meeting at Queens Hospital Center with the SCA present. The follow up meeting in which the SCA addressed our concerns was held on April 12 at Pace University.

“The construction is controversial for the community for various reasons. The site does contain some very hazardous chemicals supposedly set for removal. I analyzed the current plan and decided whether it entailed enough remediation processes to create a safe zone within which adolescents can be educated. Overall, the conclusion is that the plan could be much worse but there are some additional monitoring systems that should be added. The community does have its own issues with this construction, we soon discovered, such as traffic and noise, but our role is to give the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from a purely scientific and health-related perspective. We demanded clarification on various discrepancies and shortcomings in the plan, which the community is now advocating for as well,” says Eramo.

Read Eramo’s Executive Summary about the research