When Professor Shafiul Chowdhury began teaching at New Paltz, he thought, "This will be the place that I can grow." As a hydrogeologist and faculty member involved in the college's new major in Environmental Geochemical Science, he has had the chance to do just that, as well as facilitate important growth in the sciences at New Paltz.
Recently, Congressman Maurice Hinchey '68, '70g (D-NY) secured $750,000 in the Energy and Water Bill for the modernization and development of environmental sciences laboratories at SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Ulster. For Professor Chowdhury, this will result in important growth for his research and program because it will enable the department to buy a mobile monitoring unit. Professor Chowdhury explained that the addition of the unit "will give students the data collection, analysis and the thinking involved in the process -- a comprehensive package."
Professor Chowdhury is particularly interested in the water supply in the Hudson Valley region. "The Catskill region has all these reservoirs, but the city owns them," he said, explaining that areas in the region drill wells, placing a large demand on limited resources and contaminating the environment. "It's a huge problem."
Professor Chowdhury tries to incorporate his research on the region's water resources in his classes, completing important fieldwork with his students. "This is an ideal place to involve students in research that will impact the local community," he said. Since 2003, Professor Chowdhury has employed all grants at his disposal to support 12 undergraduate and two graduate students for their research. Each year, he and these students present their findings at National and Regional Geological Society of America meetings.
Why New Paltz? Professor Chowdhury was impressed by the college and enjoyed the prospect of living upstate with his family.
Interests: Playing and watching cricket, spending time with his four-and-a-half year-old son, and watching movies.
Goal: "To build an undergraduate research program that will deal with environmental and hydrological issues of local concern. We're almost there."
Little-Known Fact: "I like to sing. I'm not a professional singer, but my son loves it."