Citizen Science & Social Justice in Your Community

Rebecca Bratspies

Rebecca Bratspies is a Professor of Law at the CUNY School of Law and the founding director of the CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform. Her scholarly research focuses the international dimensions of environmental regulation.  She has published widely on questions of environmental democracy, food policy, and human rights. Professor Bratspies is a member-scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform, and the Environmental Law Collective. She has served as an appointed member of the ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law, and as an advisor to the Consultative Group on Agricultural Research. She is the 2016-17 Chair of American Association of Law Schools Section on the Environment.

Before entering academia, Professor Bratspies served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable C. Arlen Beam of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  As a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar, Professor Bratspies spent a year seconded to the Republic of China (Taiwan) Environmental Protection Administration. She has taught at the University of Idaho, Michigan State University and NYU. She holds a BA in Biology from Wesleyan and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alan Cass

Alan Cass serves as the Director of Education for CELF, where he provides professional learning to K-12 teachers in public and private schools. During his classroom-teaching career, Alan was both an elementary and middle school classroom teacher at several grade levels and in different subject areas as well an Assistant Principal. His belief in an interdisciplinary approach to learning is reflected throughout his work. While teaching middle school science and math, Alan spent two summers as a participant in NASA’s Educator in Space program where he created a Young Astronauts Program for grades 5-6. His work as a mathematics teacher led him to create several interdisciplinary programs such as Mall Math and the Math Chef, which he has presented at numerous National Council of Teaching Mathematics conferences.

Alan holds a BS degree in Elementary Education from Buffalo State College, an MS degree in Education from the State University at Buffalo, an MS in Educational Leadership from Pace University and he completed his Advanced Certificate in Education for Sustainability at Manhattanville College.

Maida Galvez

Dr. Maida Galvez is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is a board certified Pediatrician and completed the Academic Pediatric Association sponsored fellowship in Environmental Pediatrics at Mount Sinai in New York. She directs the Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PESHU) serving NJ, NY, Puerto Rico and the USVI. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Community Engagement for the Mount Sinai CTSA and also serves as the Assistant Director of the NIEHS P30 Transdisciplinary Center for Early Environmental Exposures Center’s Community Outreach and Engagement Core. She is also Co-Investigator of an NIEHS/NCI funded project assessing environmental determinants of puberty in girls, part of the multi-center Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Project. She served as Co-Principal Investigator and a designated New Investigator of the NIEHS and EPA funded community based participatory research project "Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem," examining the environmental determinants of childhood obesity. Her areas of interests include community-engaged research, urban built environment, endocrine disruptors, and childhood growth and development.  Dr. Galvez is past President of AAP NYS District 2 Chapter 3 American Academy of Pediatrics and currently serves on the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board as well as on the CDC’s National Environmental Health Partnership Council.

She received her MD and MPH from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, trained in the Social Pediatrics Residency Program at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by a Pediatric Chief Residency at Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, NY.

Aimee Arandia Østensen

Aimee Arandia Østensen serves as a CELF Program Manager and she supports CELF professional development programs as a co-facilitator and co-developer with the director of education. Aimee is the Farm/School Coordinator for Special Projects at the Manhattan Country School and has taught both elementary and middle grades at MCS. Aimee firmly believes that learning is a life-long process and that our experiences along the natural path of life can be our best teachers. Her own path to teaching is a spiral of explorations into art, nature, movement and community. Aimee’s early experiences in dance created a foundation in aesthetic and kinesthetic awareness, as well as an understanding of creative and collective processes.

Aimee earned a BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at New York University, and a master’s degree in Educating for Sustainability at Antioch University New England. Whether in the forest, the city, at the farm, or traveling in another country, she seeks out the connections and

Rachel Manning

Rachel Manning is a Project Coordinator for the Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) at Mount Sinai's Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures. In this role, she develops educational materials and resources based on the center's current environmental health research to share with community partners. She also coordinates meetings and activities with the center's Stakeholder Advisory Board, of which CELF is a member. Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Rachel served as a Community HealthCorps AmeriCorps member at the Institute for Family Health, where she worked to improve access to health and wellness resources in 22 public schools in the South Bronx. Rachel is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she studied Sociology and East Asian Studies.

Alison Sanders

Dr. Alison P. Sanders is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) specializing in children's environmental health, molecular epidemiology, and epigenetics. She received her doctorate in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2013 and her MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009. Dr. Sanders’ academic training includes applied engineering, global health, systems biology, toxicology, and epidemiologic approaches to address trans-disciplinary research challenges. She uses geostatistical mapping, molecular biology, and computational approaches to investigate the effects of prenatal metal exposure in human populations. Her studies conducted at ISMMS investigate the role of the environment and epigenetics in preterm birth, a leading cause of infant mortality. Dr. Sanders' ongoing research aims to identify whether exposure to toxic metals in early life contributes to renal toxicity in children, a risk factor for later life hypertension.

In addition to her cutting-edge research, Dr. Sanders devotes her time to educating the communities that surround her.  She directs a special initiative called the Future Leaders in Science Communication and Education Training Program, which teaches postdoctoral fellows how to improve their science communication skills at both the graduate and K-12 levels. Dr. Sanders co-directs the ISMMS Master's in Public Health Toxicology course, and is also a Science Education Fellow at the New York Academy of Sciences, where she teaches STEM and environmental health in an afterschool program for East Harlem students.

 Ibrahim Abdul-Matin 

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is the author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet and contributor to All-American: 45 American Men On Being Muslim. He is a former sustainability policy advisor to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and founder of the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment. He blogs as the Brooklyn Bedouin and has been featured in many esteemed news forums. In 2013, Ibrahim was honored by NBC's TheGrio.com as one of 100 African Americans Making history today. He currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. He has experience in the civic, public, and private sectors, and with government, public administration, and media. 

Ibrahim earned a BA in History and Political Science from University of Rhode Island and a master's in public administration from Baruch College, City University of New York.