Conservation, Sustainability and Environmental DNA Workshop

A College of Staten Island/Con Edison Partnership held in conjunction with Port Richmond High School
Made possible by the Office of the VP for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations 
—Jasmine Cardona, Executive Director •


  • Presentations on select topics
  • Daily breakaway discussion groups 
  • Age-appropriate reading assignments, computer simulations and data processing 
  • In-person field trips
  • Study of environmental toxicity—hands-on experience 
  • In-depth instruction in Biotechnology 

Schedule (tentative)
Day 1 (6/7):    Introduction to Conservation, Sustainability and Environmental DNA.
Explore basic concepts and literacy of ecological conservation topics and data collection, sustainability planning and introduction to genetics, phylogenetics and environmental DNA.
Day 2 (6/8):    Conservation Biology on a Global Scale and Environmental Toxicology.
Investigate global conservation issues including ecosystem services, habitat loss and restoration, and invasive species. Environmental toxicology and impact of pollution on ecosystem service and cycles will also be explored. 
Day 3 (6/9):    Urban Ecology and Conservation Actions in the New York area.
Focus on environmental policy, law and decision making, and impact on wildlife population and evolution in the urban landscape. Selected wildlife and landscape conservation actions in the New York City region will be used to illustrate these concepts. 
Day 4 (6/10):    Field Trip to New Creek Blue Belt.
In-person field trip to one of the largest storm-water management systems on Staten Island.
Day 5 (6/11):    Field Trip to Conference House Park.
In-person field trip to visit ecological restoration projects at this park. 

Day 6 (6/14):    What is Sustainability? Building New York of the Future.
Further exploration of sustainable thinking, literacy, green energy revolution, and planning with a focus on local initiatives such as storm-water management. 
Day 7 (6/15):    Toxic Past, Clean Future: History of Toxic Sites in NYC and Environmental Bioremediation.
An overview of the Super Fund and other toxic sites around New York City and the bioremediation and engineering projects used to remove toxins and reclaim these landscapes. 
Day 8 (6/16):   Field trip to Brookfield Park.
In-person field trip to a reclaimed former landfill with a toxic past that has been transformed in a primer park landscape.
Day 9 (6/17):    Environment DNA (eDNA), Part 1: Applications and Methods. 
Introduction to the current application and sample collection and processing methods for environmental DNA (eDNA) surveys. 
Day 10 (6/18):    Environmental DNA (eDNA), Part 2: Analysis and Interpretation in Conservation, Sustainability and Bioremediation. 
A walk through of eDNA data processing with computer activities followed by interpretation of results in a conservation/sustainability framework. 
The principle of biotechnology and the application of biotechnology in bioremediation.

Number of Seats: 16  •  Dates: June 7–18, M–F, 3:30–6:30pm  •  Application Deadline: May 28 
Application Link: Available to Port Richmond HS students
Location: Lecture held virtually, field trips held in-person at select collection sites
Recognition: Participants completing the workshop will receive a frameable Certificate of Completion 
PRHS Contact: Nirmala Nanes, Ass’t. Principal, Science and Med Tech •
CSI Biology Faculty: 
Chang-Hui Shen, Ph.D., Chair, and Professor •
Dr. Shen’s research focuses on understanding the mechanism of gene expression, roles of transcriptional coactivators in gene activation, regulation of metabolic signals triggered by changes in lipid metabolism, and regulation of heavy metal metabolism and its interaction with major cellular signal transduction pathways and transcriptional networks in the cell. Additional lab projects include transcriptional regulation of autism-associated genes, neuroligin knock-down in animal models and autism disorder, and the effect of serotonin 5-HT1A receptor in feeding behavior.
Seth Wollney, Lecturer and Ph.D. Candidate, CUNY GC •
Professor Seth Wollney is a current PhD candidate at the City University of New York - Graduate Center and College of Staten Island (home campus). His research is in Genetics, Population Biology, and freshwater biodiversity inventories using environmental DNA collection. His thesis project investigates how biological communities found in urban ponds are impacted by human activities with a particular focus on painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) ecology and population biology.

Workshop Benefits

  • This opportunity is offered free of charge, sponsored by Con Edison, and the CSI Biology faculty; made possible by the Office of the VP for Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations 
  • Learning sample gathering techniques via field trips to environmental sites on Staten Island
  • Students receive mentorship, professional and personal relationship-building with CSI faculty, research team and fellow students. Participants advance their education and career goals in a collegial environment

Transportation and expenses will be covered by a sponsorship grant by Con Edison

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Summer Pre-Health Immersion: Introduction to Anatomy

A Unique Summer Pre-Health Program Providing Students With a Rare Opportunity to Learn About Pre-Health Education and Explore Different Aspects Of Life as a Health Care Provider

This intense, two-week program provides students a unique opportunity to learn about pre- health education. The program’s objective is to shape the career of pre-medical and pre-dental students as well as other health care professions, such as pharmacy, pre-physician assistant and public health.


  • All lectures taught by health care provider
  • Access to online dissection platform, complete suture kit, online dissection tool and Biopac student lab. 
  • Pre-health advisement and initiation of individual portfolio.

Anatomy Mini Course:

  • Integration of clinical case studies, research and hands-on lab experiments
  • Comprehensive exposure to anatomy, medical terminology, BIOPAC lab activities and virtual human body dissection.
  • Surgical lab, knot tying, analysis of EKG, EMG, nerve conduction velocities, and pulmonary function testing.
  • Suturing techniques, clinical case studies, microscopy

Pre-Health Mentoring—Students Receive:

  • Individual guidance and portfolio to reach their professional goals
  • Detailed review of the pre-health path
  • Introduction to pre-health advisory committee
  • Enrollment in pre-health mentoring program.
  • Assistance with the healthcare school application process: research, community service, professional school admission exam preparation, shadowing and scribing at local hospitals, and professional school applications.

Dates: June 21–July 2, 2021  M–F   3:00–6:00pm  • 30 total hours • Fully Remote Synchronous
Number of Seats: 30
Who is Eligible: High school juniors, incoming college frosh, current college students.
Apply Online: (by 6/16/21)
Recognition: Students will receive a frameable Certificate of Completion from CSI
Lab/Materials Fee: $590 Compare to similar courses that cost $1800 and higher—Online payment process available via check or credit card

Grozdena Yilmaz, MPAS, PA-C; Director of Pre-MD/Pre-PA Advisement; Biology Department Deputy Chair

Additional Questions?
Contact or

The Metagenomics: DNA Sequencing Workshop: Looking to Return in Fall 2021!

A unique research opportunity in the new biological field of “Metagenomics”, the study of DNA and gene sequencing of microbes (microscopic organisms) recovered from the environment (soil, seawater, and desert) and human body without culturing them in the laboratory. Metagenomics is used to investigate and understand the evolution, metabolism and interplay of these microbes. Become part of a growing new field where scientists expect exciting and major breakthroughs!

Workshop Benefits: 

  • Perform hands-on research/lab analysis and learn the basics of operating sophisticated research equipment and tools in CSI’s state-of-the-art Molecular Biology Lab.
  • Experience the research process—develop hypotheses, design experiments, analyze data generated in the laboratory, and learn sample-gathering techniques of the material collected from environmental sites.
  • Build a professional and personal relationship with CSI professors, research team and fellow students who will mentor you and help advance your education and career goals in a collegiate environment!

Examples of what you will do:

  • Extract DNA from environmental samples, perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to make copies of a DNA sequence, run your PCR on an agarose gel to visualize the DNA you extracted and amplified
  • Perform some bioinformatics (computer-based analysis) to identify bacteria present in samples and determine the impact of human activity on the environment and vice versa

Applicant Qualifications*:

  • Be a high school junior OR senior
  • Meet minimum academic standards (85.0 Grade Point Average – unweighted) 
  • No Advanced Placement (AP) in Biology and/or Chemistry course necessary

*Students with a genuine interest in the sciences but not pursuing a science curriculum are welcome to apply as long as they have completed a biology course

To Apply: The application will be available in late summer
Application Deadline: TBA
Workshop Size: Number of seats available in the program and applications will be considered on a first come-first serve basis. Accepted participants are expected to promptly reply and accept our offer.

Where: Biological and Chemical Sciences Building (Building 6S, Room 143)
Cost:  $300 lab fee for materials, payable online to College of Staten Island (compared to $3,000 and higher workshop tuition at other colleges/universities)
Recognition: Participants completing the Workshop will receive a Certificate of Completion validating their accomplishment/achievement
Faculty: Faiza Peetz, M.D., Ass’t.Professor in Biology; Chang-Hui Shen, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Biology Department; CUNY Graduate Center, Ph.D. Program in Biology; Institute for Macromolecular Assemblies, CUNY 

With more than 70 science research labs, outstanding faculty, extensive offering of classes in the sciences and Pre-Med Advisory Committee, CSI’s students enrolled in various science programs have gone on to top medical, dental and veterinary schools as well as elite graduate programs for diverse majors/careers including physical therapy, physician assistant, speech pathology, environmental science, pharmacy and science research.