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Green Advocate Stephen Solecki Named Salutatorian of C.W. Post Class of 2011

Stephen Solecki, a 2007 Carle Place High School graduate and interdisciplinary studies major with a concentration in environmental science, was recently named salutatorian of the Class of 2011 at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, announced campus Provost Paul Forestell.

Solecki has a perfect 4.0 grade point average and will receive the Association of Parents & Friends of C.W. Post Salutatorian Award for his academic achievements.

A passionate environmentalist, Solecki has taken his interest in the natural world and turned it into a life path. He has held two internships: one at the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), in affiliation with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University; and the other at the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities at Hunter College. He constructed a comprehensive report on the environmental history of Jamaica Bay, detailing the effect on the ecology of the region from pollution and urbanization, and was a contributor to a report that detailed how New York State’s communications sector can better adapt to climate change.

“Steve is one of those truly exceptional students we see only on rare occasions,” said Dr. Mark Pires, an associate professor of geography. “He demonstrates the highest levels of talent and ability, diligence and responsibility, motivation and intellectual curiosity.”

As a student, Solecki was part of a team charged with establishing a framework for campus sustainability initiatives, exploring issues such as recycling, energy conservation and other green practices. In this role, he served as a liaison between faculty, staff, and students with the progress of the initiative.

“While working on the sustainability committee, I was able to directly apply my knowledge from the classroom,” he said. “Many sustainable practices that I had been exposed to in my ‘Conservation of Natural Resources’ class were able to be linked with goals that were set for the C.W. Post Campus. Being able to apply my knowledge from the classroom to a real life situation was a rewarding experience.”

His honors thesis was based on urban climate change, exploring the complex issue concerning how three different cities are coping with the potential for climate change. In addition, he has been involved in independent research, testing soil samples proximal to major expressways across Long Island for lead contamination.

“Environmental issues are of a great magnitude in today’s world. It is important to conduct interdisciplinary research with respect to the environment in order to understand how the actions of humans may affect the future of this planet,” he said.

Solecki has been accepted into a graduate program at Columbia University where he will continue his studies in climate and society.