Thursday, November 15, 2012

Various bios for Dr. T.H. Culhane

Culhane Bio 1:

'National Geographic Emerging Explorer T.H. Culhane, Ph.D., first took courses at Mercy College, where his mother was a professor and Dean for 40 years, during summer breaks while studying Biological Anthropology at Harvard. He began his teaching career in 1987 at Dobbs Ferry High School, the same high school he had graduated from in 1980. He came back to Dobbs Ferry as a young Harvard Graduate returning from a Rockefeller Fellowship that had taken him for a year and a half to Borneo and Baghdad to research wilderness and urban ecology and development issues. Back in Dobbs he immediately started leading student field trips into the Wicker's Creek watershed in the Mercy College Woods, which was a former hunting ground of the Weckquasgeek Indians, to teach biology.
Culhane left Dobbs Ferry on a scholarship to the British American Drama Academy in London and Oxford and decided when he returned to the US to apply the principles of "drama in education" and take on the challenge of teaching science in inner city schools in Los Angeles. Experiencing a great success in merging academic and vocational education, bringing science alive through theatre,  animation, music and video production and computer games, Culhane continued working with 'at-risk' youth from 1989 until 1997, building a program called DEMMO Productions (Digital Engineering for Multimedia Occupations). He won awards as a NASA Challenger Fellow and a Space Science Teacher Trainer with the Jet Propulsion Labs and developed what became known as the "Eutopia Curriculum", which taught students how to design their own better world here on earth by learning about the science of biospherics and terraforming that NASA proposes to use to create habitable colonies on the Moon and Mars.
This type of long term thinking led Culhane to pursue Masters and Ph.D. degrees at UCLA in Urban Planning, working on issues of agroforestry, renewable energy and sustainable development and teaching a class in Global Environmentalism. To complete his doctorate Culhanespent years in Guatemala and then in Egypt, where he and his German wife lived in the historic Islamic slums teaching solar and biogas system construction and working with the Zabaleen garbage recycler community and where Culhane helped create the Wadi Environmental Science Center.
The Culhane's moved to Germany when they had their son 4 years ago and the Culhanes began working as adjunct professors at Mercy College teaching on-line courses in Environmental Psychology and Sports Sociology. With the help of National Geographic innovation awards the Culhanes expanded the work of their NGO, 'Solar CITIES', to several African countries, working on poverty alleviation issues and addressing deforestation and indoor air pollution through their kitchen-waste-to-energy-and-fertilizer initiative. Culhane was recruited by the US Office of Naval Research to spend the past year working with schools in inner city Washington DC and Los Angeles creating an environmental sensing robotics curriculum for underserved youth called PORPOISE ROBOTICS: Robotics with a Purpose. He now joins the Mercy faculty as a visiting professor eager to help establish a sustainable development institute at the school and bring students into the field around the world to apply what they learn at Mercy directly, through what is now known as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) to making a difference in people's lives both at home and in developing regions."


Culhane Bio 2:  

Thomas Culhane is an urban planner whose German-Egyptian non-governmental organization Solar CITIES, which he founded and runs with his wife Sybille, trains residents in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Africa and the Middle East how to build and install rooftop solar water heaters, biodigestors and other renewable energy, water, and waste management systems. Culhane lives in Essen, Germany but spends half of each year travelling to developing countries to learn about and continue developing appropriate emerging technologies that can be adapted to impoverished informal communities. As one of the recipients of the National Geographic Blackstone Innovation Challenge Grants, Culhane is working with Katey Walter Anthony and Alton Byers to develop more efficient food-waste-to-biogas reactors that can be applied to impoverished areas with cold, arctic alpine conditions. They are working with fellow National Geographic explorers Grace Gobbo, Kakenya Ntaiya, Beverly Goodman, Ken Banks, and Dereck and Beverly Joubert to apply these technologies to tackle deforestation in the remote and mountainous areas of Africa and Nepal and to help provide energy and food security in urban Israel and Palestine. For the 2011-12 Academic year Culhane, who is a Google Science Fair judge, was working with the Office of Naval Research on a program called "PORPOISE: Robotics with a Purpose" that teaches under-served youth how to create microcontroller-based environmental sensing and autonomous aquatic robotic platforms. He is now a visiting faculty researcher at Mercy College in New York.   Culhane is a 2009 National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

 Culhane Bio 3:

Thomas Henry Culhane, Ph.D.:

After graduating from Harvard with honors in Biological Anthropology, T.H. Culhane spent a year doing field-work in the primary rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra studying Orangutans and Seed Dispersal Mechanisms as a Michael Rockefeller Fellow and later worked as a science writer. He studied agroforestry systems in Guatemala for his Masters degree and studied  the micro-economics and micro-engineering of hot water systems in Cairo for his UCLA  Ph.D.  

Culhane spent eight years teaching science to inner-city "at-risk-youth" in the ghettoes of Los Angeles, developing award winning science curricula for NASA's Challenger Centre. At Hollywood High School T.H. Culhane helped build a "movie studio" for training youth in the production of science documentary videos. He created the "Melodic-Mnemonics: Science Education through Music and Multimedia" and DEMMO Productions „Digital Engineering for Multi-Media Occupations“ programs, teaching kids how to bring science textbooks to life through the magic of "Hollywood." While  a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA in ‚Environmental Analysis and Policy’ T.H. Culhane committed himself to equitable and sustainable development in his ancestral homeland in the Arab World. Together with his wife Dr. Sybille Frütel Culhane he lived in Egypt for five years, creating their NGO Solar C3ITIES.

T.H. Culhane, who is a visiting faculty researcher at Mercy College, New York, where he has been teaching Environmental Psychology for several years,  presented at the Aspen Energy Roundtable and the Aspen Environmental Forum and at UNESCO. He is currently a judge of the new Google Science Fair, and the Scientific American Science in Action Award, sharing his belief in the power of citizen science with a new generation.  

Recognized as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2009, T.H. Culhane now wears two hats, working as an urban planner whose non-governmental organization, Solar C3ITIES, works on community and family scale renewable energy, water, and waste management systems, and as a STEM robotics and environmental engineering curriculum developer working for Mercy College and for the Office of Naval Research, helping to ensure that under-served, minority and low-income youth around the world can realize their dreams in a world increasingly dominated by mechatronix technologies.

Culhane, who went to both Clown College and Harvard College and values knowledge and human potential in all domains, has trained residents of some of the poorest slums and villages, from Cairo to Palestine to Nairobi, Nepal and Nigeria, to build solar hot water and electric systems and kitchen-waste-to-cooking-gas biogas systems and is now teaching stakeholders from disadvantaged communities how to embed microcontrollers in their own Environmental Sensing Technologies.

He currently spends part of the year in California, working on renewable energy, robotics and multimedia projects and traveling to other developing countries to learn appropriate emerging technologies that can be combined with artificial intelligence and adapted to the challenges facing African and Middle Eastern informal communities. He seems to think Insinkerators and computer games can help save the world.

 Culhane Bio 4:

 T.H. CULHANE

Thomas Taha Rassam Culhane (a.k.a "T.H.") was born near the Museum of Science and Industry on the south side of Chicago to an Iraqi-Lebanese mother and an Irish-American father and developed his love of
engineering by almost religiously attending the museum's forward-thinking science exhibits.When his Newsweek journalist father, John Culhane, moved the family to New York, Culhane was chosen by
Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus president Irvin Feld to be the youngest graduate of their Clown College at the age of 13 and he joined the "Greatest Show on Earth" the following summer. In the circus, during the Cold War, Culhane toured with Russian and Chinese acrobats, with Elephants, Chimpanzees and other wonderful animals and people from every country and culture, who all got along.These experiences
instilled in Culhane a belief that all God's creatures, Great and Small, could cooperate peacefully and harmoniously toward the creation of joyful productions, and that science, art and industry could be the drivers of positive social transformation.After graduating with honors from Harvard in Biological Anthropology, this conviction was confirmed during a year spent on a Rockefeller Fellowship in
the primary rainforests of Borneo where Culhane worked with Harvard Professor Mark Leighton
studying orangutans and gibbons and then lived with Missionaries and Melayu and Dyak tribespeople. In the jungle Culhane found that most organisms in environments with large biodiversity and cultural diversity quotients adopted "evolutionarily stable strategies" that led to long term sustainability.This experience led
Culhane into "the urban jungles" of inner-city education in the ghettoes of Los Angeles where for nearly a
decade he applied his insights to working with multi-cultural "at-risk" youth and gang kids and
discovered that a focus on common urban environmental challenges and their technological solutions created a context for cooperation, improving young people's education and their peace making skills. (He and his wife, Dr. Sybille Culhane, who taught negotiation and conflict resolution at the Sadat Academy for Management Sciences, apply those insights to connecting Egyptian youth with Israeli Jordanian and Palestinian youth in workshops in cooperation with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Al Najah University.) 

In the late 1990s Culhane immersed himself in Urban Planning at UCLA,conducting field work in rural rain forest villages in Guatemala and earning a Masters in Regional and International Development. He then entered a Ph.D. program in Environmental Analysis and Policy to explore how recent immigrants from rural areas to inner-citycould transform their adaptive knowledge-base to facilitate survival in degraded urban environments while Culhane performed urban ecology experiments of his own in waste recycling, water and energy management and self-provisioning, living among the poor at the Los Angeles Eco-Village.  When his mother, Hind Rassam Culhane , a professor of psychology, returned to Iraq in 2003 to head an educational improvement program, Culhane, eager to find a good dissertation topic nearby, moved to Egypt to work on environmental science education and training among the urban poor. He chose to work with Professor Randall Crane on hot water demand among the poor as a topic for his Ph.D. and with the Zabaleen community of garbage recyclers on local construction of solar energy and food-waste-to-fuel biogas systems for his "Ph.-do". He believes this is home biogas and solar energy systems are the easiest and most logical first steps toward creating sustainable grass-roots industrial ecology systems, something that he feels could unite people of all faiths toward a common goal. He believes, in true circus fashion, that though things may get tough, "the show must go on."

He currently lives half the year in Germany and half in the US, with frequent trips to the Middle East and Africa to conduct field work and urban  permaculture systems training. 

 Culhane Bio 5:

Thomas Culhane is an urban planner whose German-Egyptian non-governmental organization Solar CITIES, which he founded and runs with his wife Sybille, trains residents in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Africa and the Middle East how to build and install rooftop solar water heaters, biodigestors and other renewable energy, water, and waste management systems. Culhane lives in Essen, Germany but spends half of each year traveling to developing countries to learn about and continue developing appropriate emerging technologies that can be adapted to impoverished informal communities. As a visiting faculty researcher at Mercy College and one of the recipients of the National Geographic Blackstone Innovation Challenge Grants, Culhane is working with fellow National Geographic explorers to apply these technologies to tackle deforestation and indoor air pollution and rural areas and to help provide energy and promote health and food security in urban slums.
 Culhane Bio 6:  (125 word version)

Thomas Culhane is an urban planner whose non-governmental organization “Solar CITIES” trains residents in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Africa and the Middle East how to build and install rooftop solar water heaters, biodigestors and other renewable energy, water, and waste management systems. Culhane lives in Germany, spending half of each year traveling to developing countries to learn about and continue developing appropriate emerging technologies that can be adapted to impoverished informal communities. A visiting faculty researcher at Mercy College and recipient of two National Geographic Blackstone Innovation Challenge Grants, Culhane is working with fellow explorers to apply these technologies to tackle deforestation and indoor air pollution in rural areas and to help provide energy and promote health and food security in urban slums.

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