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Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Meherun Laiju of Tougaloo College has received a prestigious fellowship to participate in an event focusing on natural disasters this summer.

Dr. Laiju was among a dozen researchers awarded a fellowship to participate in the Pardee RAND Faculty Leaders Program, a week-long workshop that takes place in July in Santa Monica, Calif at Pardee Rand Graduate School.

Dr. Laiju, whose project focuses on an education program to develop a minor in disaster studies, will conduct a meta-analysis and prepare a report on the factors related to exploitation of children after disasters. The goal, she said, is to show the need to include child protective intervention programs in contingency planning, starting during the emergency phase of disaster response.

Dr. Laiju was among several researchers on CRC projects being honored in recent months:

  • In May, the Environmental Law Institute named CRC PI Robert Twilley of Louisiana State University the recipient of its 2017 National Wetlands Award for Science Research in his role as Louisiana Sea Grant Executive Director. The award recognizes Dr. Twilley’s work on wetland ecology in the Gulf Coast, Latin America and in the Pacific Islands. He is also involved with developing models and designs to forecast how the state’s $50 billion, 50-year coastal master plan will rebuild wetlands.
  • In February, Dr. Austin Becker, a professor of marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island, has been named a Sloan Research Fellow in Ocean Sciences by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, one of the most prestigious fellowships available to early-career scientists in the United States. The two-year fellowship is awarded to stimulate fundamental research by scholars of outstanding promise in a variety of disciplines. Becker works on a CRC project led by  James Opaluch.
  • In January, CRC Director Dr. Gavin Smith received a 2017 University Teaching Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The award recognizes faculty who “promote the value of teaching by example, demonstrate concern for students through interaction and approachability inside and outside the classroom, create meaningful learning experiences and maintain high expectations of their students.”
  • Last fall, CRC co-PI Dr. Mo Gabr, of N.C. State University, won the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Outstanding Teaching Award. According to the award announcement, Gabr “has made exceptional contributions to the Civil Engineering education through the development and offering of new courses, leading the department effort for the 2010 ABET accreditation, and performing NSF-supported projects for the improvement of laboratory experiences for distance education students and the introduction of sensors into the undergraduate curriculum.”
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