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APR 2018- SEP 2018

SURGE WAVE: VOLUME 1 ISSUE 2

USVI SURGE RECONNAISSANCE MISSION

NATURAL HAZARDS WORKSHOP

JUNE, 2018

SURGE Cohort 2018-2019

JULY, 2018

WAVE Newsletter of the Minority SURGE Capacity in Disasters Initiative

Diversity

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STEM

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Disasters

SURGE Scholars in the U.S. Virgin Islands! - by DeeDee Bennett, PI This summer, our SURGE Scholars had the unique opportunity to participate in a disaster recovery reconnaissance mission in the U.S. Virgin Islands . The reconnaissance mission served as a way to provide real-world, tangible experiences following of the impacts of a disaster. SURGE Scholars and team leaders visited St. Thomas and St. John to explore the impacts following the 2017 Hurricane Season to the natural, built and human environments. Scholars learned from community leaders and onsite partners about the ongoing recovery efforts, participated in a community service activity, and surveyed the visible impacts.

Through the reconnaissance missions, SURGE takes unique steps to make the connection between underrepresented scholars’ research efforts and the needs of underserved communities impacted by disaster. Once we arrived in St. Thomas, the SURGE scholars were able to meet our on-site partners, Drs. Kim Waddell, Greg Guannel, Kristin Grimes Wilson. We also visited the end of the Hazard Mitigation and Resilience Workshop hosted by the VI EpSCoR program. In the following days, scholars and team leaders participated in marine debris clean-up, and data collection support for mangrove restoration. We toured St. John Island to view recovery efforts. We !1


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heard from the President of the University, David Hall and the Director of Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), Mona Barnes. Dr. Greg Guannel drove the scholars and team leaders on a tour of St. Thomas interior, to view ongoing recovery efforts and residual disaster impacts. We saw first-hand the concerns around debris management and with infrastructure. We also visited the Bordeaux Community, one of the few agricultural communities on St. Thomas. We were invited to sit in on the St. Thomas Recovery Team meeting, named RESTRT, where the “RE” is for rethink, rebuild, reinvent, recover, and resiliency. We were able to squeeze in an impromptu meeting with the Deputy Field Coordinator for DHHS, Ms. Molly Wirick, ACSW at the FEMA Field Recovery Office in St. Thomas. Ms. Wirick provided us with an update on the social component of recovery including healthcare gaps, communications plans, and shelter assessments. Finally, in the evening of day five we were able to speak to two teachers and one student about their experiences during and the impacts after the storms which have affected education and learning. Before we left the USVI, the scholars met separately and discussed their recommendations for the next year. Their recommendations included: • Revisit the USVI next year for the next round of SURGE • Work on a collaborative project together with UVI partners (faculty and students)

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• Explore ways in which we might collectively impact minority scholars in STEM fields in USVI • Continued service-learning opportunities for future SURGE missions The scholars then broke into groups, with their team leader advisors. Team Built Environment with advisor Dr. Terri Norton and Team Natural Environment with advisor Dr. Hans Louis-Charles.

SURGE Mission Teams - by Terri Norton, co-PI The cohort of graduate scholars represents many disciplines within the hazards and disaster mitigation community including: engineering, social sciences, urban planning, environmental health and urban ecology. The SURGE scholars were organized in two groups. One focused on the natural environment and the other on the built environment. The grouping allowed the scholars to view this reconnaissance experience through a lens that aligned with their expertise.

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APR 2018- SEP 2018

STEM 4 All Video Showcase Public Choice Recognition!!

On May 14th-21st 2018, 713 presenters and co-presenters shared 214 short videos depicting projects aimed at transforming Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science education. This event, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, drew public interest from over 56,000 unique visitors from 175 countries. SURGE participated in this showcase with a 3 minute video highlighting our mission and activities. We were one of 12 videos selected for public choice recognition. Our video was visited by viewers in over 250 locations spanning across the globe. View our publicly recognized video here: http://videohall.com/p/1135

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The Built Environment team was composed by scholars: Muritala Adegoke, Lilian Bui, Shanasia Sylman, Genesis Alvarez Rosario, and Miriam CommodoreMensah. Their field study focused on five points of emphasis: communication, debris, water systems, structures and governance. Around 112 telecommunication towers were damaged during the storms. During the visit it was observed that cell phone coverage was still not completely restored. However, new composite telescoping power poles were being installed as part of the recovery efforts. Debris/waste management in St. Thomas was hindered by the limited number of recycling facilities, which overwhelmed the landfills. The team observed damage to several residential structures, including Tutu High-rise, a subsidized housing community. Although greatly damaged, residences still occupied many of the apartments. Finally, the team noted the need for manpower in the recovery/reconstruction efforts throughout the USVI. St. Thomas is leading the charge with their local long-term recovery team, which is supported by FEMA and non-profit organizations.

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The Natural Environment team composed of scholars: Sahar Derakhshan, Isaiah Higgs, Rashon Lane Filali, Covel McDermot, and Farah Nibbs. At the start of reconnaissance mission, the SURGE group performed a service learning activity that involved data collection of newly planted mangroves. It was noted by the natural environment team that more than 70% of the mangrove trees were lost during the storms, which has negatively impacted marine wildlife. Loss of mangroves significantly disturbed the marine ecosystems and stability. It was also observed that significant damage to the native vegetation also hinders the island’s ability mitigate heavy winds and the urban heat island effect. Poor soil conditions further compound the issue of food insecurity on the island. In addition, it was found that more than 95% of the island’s food supply is imported. Challenges of drought due to topography inhibit the island’s agriculture. Therefore, the team proposes the development of home gardening projects to alleviate food storage and scarcity post-hurricane.

Future work of the teams involves maintaining a partnership with St. Thomas long-term recovery team by sharing technical expertise and best practices; continuing service learning projects and exploring collaborative projects with colleagues at the University of Virgin Islands.

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Long Term Recovery and Commitment to the US Virgin Islands - by Hans Louis-Charles, co-PI These are very exciting times for the SURGE Capacity in Disasters team! Our experience in the US Virgin Islands was profound and instilled our commitment to assisting local stakeholders and community organizations in the U.S territory. Guided by the findings of the SURGE Mission Teams and the needs of the St. Thomas Long Term Recovery Team (STLRT), SURGE team leaders Hans Louis-Charles, Nnenia Campbell, and Jenniffer SantosHernández volunteered their grant writing services to help the STLRT secure a $300,000 grant from The Center for Disaster Philanthropy 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fund. This grant award will go entirely to STLRT to continue their coordination of St. Thomas’ long-term recovery, resource management, resilience planning, and training in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Additionally, the grant outlines critical areas in which SURGE participants can and will assist in these efforts over the next two years. In particular, SURGE participants, in particular the natural environment team, will assist in projects that will promote urban gardening and local food production, identify food desert hot spots, and ensure the continued viability of local indigenous fruits and vegetables for future generations.

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Highlights from the Natural Hazards Workshop

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Natural Hazards Workshop - by DeeDee Bennett, PI Following our reconnaissance mission to the U.S. Virgin Islands, SURGE scholars attended the 43rd Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop (NHW) July 8-11, 2018. Since 1975, the Natural Hazards Center has hosted the Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop in Colorado. The Workshop is often attended by over 500 federal, state, and local emergency officials; representatives of nonprofit and humanitarian organizations; hazards researchers; disaster consultants; and others dedicated to reducing risk and alleviating the harm from disasters. SURGE scholars and team leaders were able to highlight the purpose, goals, and activities of our program to the larger academic and practitioner hazards and disasters community. DeeDee Bennett, Hans Louis-Charles, Terri Norton, and Jenniffer Santos-Hernåndez moderated and/or presented on a panel during the workshop. The SURGE leadership team presented a poster at the workshop to inform the broader community of the initiatives and goals of our pilot. Meanwhile, the SURGE scholars were able to present a poster highlighting their reconnaissance mission activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Natural Hazards Workshop served as a mechanism to expose the SURGE pilot to the broader disaster-related community and for the scholars to experience a disaster related conference, as well as to meet senior scholars and some of the SURGE mentors. Beyond that, SURGE was able to combine with the Bill Anderson Fund in Colorado. SURGE scholars were also able to meet other underrepresented graduate students from across the nation, who are also interested in studying disasters. At a special dinner, all students participated in a rapid, speed-dating inspired ice-breaker and were able to meet the leadership teams from both organizations. Attendance at the Natural Hazards Workshop was a meaningful and memorable experience for SURGE, for many of our scholars, this was their first conference experience.  !5


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Introducing our 2019 SURGE Cohort

Luz E. Agudelo College of Charleston

Danielle Nicholson Florida A&M University

Paula Buchanan Jacksonville State University

Gillian Maris Jones University of Pennsylvania

Morolake Omoya University of California Los Angeles

Julian Jones Tuskegee University

Christina Kaululani Sun University of Washington

Ashley Méndez Heavilin University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras

Mehari K. Tesfay University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Karen MontesBerríos University of Delaware

Olivia Vilá North Carolina State University

SURGE Scholars on the Move …
 I always wanted to do a PhD and thought that I would specialize in Sustainable Development. Farah Nibbs’ After completing my first master’s degree in International Planning and Sustainable new Ph.D. journey Development at the University of Westminster in London, I returned to the Caribbean. In 2017, I went on to do a second master’s degree at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Sustainable Construction Management with the hope that I could somehow help to change the construction industry in my island so that better quality materials are used, and buildings standards developed, enforced and maintained. However, on September 18th, 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged my island, Dominica. I couldn’t get in touch with any members of my family for about five days, and, that experience was the single most significant factor in getting me to change my mind about what I wanted to do in the future. After being accepted into and meeting with the SURGE team, I knew that I was in the right place and that I would do a Ph.D. in Disaster Science. I applied to the University of Delaware to enter the Ph.D. in Disaster Science and Management program. In June, at the 2018 Natural Hazards conference in Colorado, I met with Drs. Joe Trainor and Tricia Wachtendorf, both from the University of Delaware and both working for the Disaster Research Center. In the last week of July, I got a call from Dr Trainor, informing me of the good news that a funding source had opened up, and that I would be able to attend the University of Delaware and do my Ph.D. in Disaster Science and Management -In August 2018exactly as I had hoped for. !6


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Evaluation of SURGE
 - by Nnenia Campbell, Internal Evaluator Among the many pathways through which the SURGE model facilitates students’ academic development is a mentoring program that utilizes a many-to-many approach. Each SURGE scholar has designed a personalized mentoring team by selecting from a list of academics and practitioners who have pledged support to the program. In an effort to continue learning about which aspects of the mentoring model best support students’ academic development, the SURGE leadership team devised tools for ongoing data collection and check-ins with both mentors and mentees. These tools have yielded key insights into the ways in which SURGE scholars have designed and engaged with their individual mentoring networks. SURGE scholars report that their mentoring teams vary in size from two to five mentors, depending on each student’s needs and professional development goals. Mentoring relationships were all initiated online using SURGE’s online mentoring portal, which was designed to provide the students with access to biographical statements and short videos featuring each potential mentor. Upon connecting, mentors and mentees have continued conversations via phone, web chat, or email to set goals and discuss mentees’ needs for professional guidance. Students have sought advice relating to research interests and opportunities, career aspirations, dissertation writing, and publishing in academic journals. In addition to these remote communications, a few of the scholars had an opportunity to meet their mentors face-to-face at the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop in July. This was a valuable experience that helped strengthen students’ relationships with their

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mentors by providing a more personal connection. Additional observations and feedback obtained through ongoing SURGE evaluation activities will help to inform program modifications and refinements into the future. Stay tuned for future updates!

Next Steps for SURGE There are many opportunities for SURGE scholars, reconnaissance missions, and partnerships going forward. As we continue with our pilot, we are able to showcase the broader interest and need for this initiative. During the first year we had over 20 applicants and this year we had nearly 45 applicants. Many of the applicants this year were introduced to the program by current SURGE mentors or from academics who learned about the program during our presentations at the Natural Hazards Workshop in Colorado. We anticipate presentations and publications on our program evaluation and the reconnaissance mission in the near future. We are actively seeking out new partnerships in academia and in the USVI community. As reported in this newsletter by Hans Louis-Charles, we have also secured an ongoing commitment to the St. Thomas Recovery Team after helping them to secure a recovery grant. Our next kickoff for the second year will be February 8-10th, 2019. Anticipate big things in the second year!

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SURGE WAVE: VOLUME 1 ISSUE 2

Related activities, events, and publications Join the Social Science Extreme Events Research network—SSEER. SSEER is a National Science Foundation-supported network and online platform for social science hazards and disaster researchers. The purpose of SSEER is to identify and connect social science researchers to one another, to

interdisciplinary teams, and to communities at risk to and affected by hazards and disasters. Social and behavioral scientists from around the world who study hazards and disasters are invited to join SSEER, including: academic researchers, students, and applied and professional researchers in independent, government, industry, and not-for-profit sectors. If you would like to join the SSEER network of social science hazards and disaster researchers, please sign-up here: hazards.colorado.edu/ join-SSEER.

See you in Puerto Rico this February for our 2nd year kickoff!

Keep up with our ongoing activities:

www.surgedisasters.com

surgedisasters@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/surgedisasters

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number 1744479. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. !8

Wave Volume 1 Issue 2  

SURGE Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 2

Wave Volume 1 Issue 2  

SURGE Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 2

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