News from a Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate Office of University Programs-funded Center of Excellence
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February 2017

Annual meeting focuses on Center progress

Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) researchers, leadership and students – along with federal reviewers and the Center’s Advisory Board – met on Feb. 1-3 for the Center’s second Annual Meeting.

Those attending heard updates on the Center’s 22 projects and discussed future Center plans during the 2.5-day meeting. The CRC’s projects are divided into four central themes: Coastal Infrastructure Resilience; Building Resilient Communities; Disaster Dynamics; and Education and Workforce Development. The 15 research projects and seven education projects are led by researchers at 21 universities and colleges across 12 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

To view our researchers’ presentations, visit their individual pages on our website. To see photos from the meeting, see our Flickr album. To see some of our researchers describe their projects, see our YouTube playlist.

Seen above: Co-PI Dr. Stephen Medeiros from the University of Central Florida, who works on a project led by Dr. Scott Hagen of Louisiana State University, presents their work during the annual meeting.

JCSU project teaches students wider application of computer science

At Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, N.C., Coastal Resilience Center (CRC) Principal investigator Dr. Hang Chen is working to prepare the next generation of leaders in coastal resilience.

Through her project, “Preparing Tomorrow’s Minority Task Force in Coastal Resilience through Interdisciplinary Education, Research, and Curriculum Development,” undergraduate students at JCSU – a Historically Black College and University with one of the nation’s leading computer science programs – are learning how their talents, interests and perspectives can help protect coastal communities from threats related to natural hazards and climate change. Read more about Dr. Chen’s project in our News section.

Initiative focuses on long-term Matthew recovery

Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) researchers and students across several North Carolina universities will be leading three primary efforts in response to Hurricane Matthew.

Titled the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative (HMDRRI), this effort is led by CRC Director Dr. Gavin Smith. Funding of more than $900,000 for the HMDRRI is provided through three entities: The N.C. Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the State of North Carolina through disaster-recovery legislation; and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology’s Office of University Programs.

Learn more on our website, and check out our Hurricane Matthew page for updates!

Multi-state project studies levee health

About 43 percent of the nation’s population lives in areas protected by levees, but rising sea levels and land subsidence increasingly threaten these structures.

That’s why Dr. Victoria Bennett of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is working to empower levee officials to use satellite imagery and GPS sensors to more quickly and cost-effectively assess the health of levee systems and prioritize levee maintenance. Learn more about her project on our website.

Research featured on blog

Our blog,, launched in October! It includes project updates and stories from researchers and students, recaps of the stories we share on our website and social media and more. Recent posts include a recap of Dr. Scott Hagen launching a new coastal resiliency center in the midst of historic flooding in Louisiana.

CRC Director wins
teaching award

CRC Director Dr. Gavin Smith received a 2017 University Teaching Award from UNC-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.” Read more here.

Students helping with Center projects

Students are at the heart of the CRC’s work, as the end users of our education projects and significant contributors to elements of research projects. At UNC-Chapel Hill, that includes first-year graduate student Meredith Burns in the Department of City and Regional Planning who is enrolled in classes taught by CRC Director Dr. Gavin Smith. She’s also been a great contributor to our Center communications!

Read more perspectives from students involved in our projects on our Students page.

Opportunities through our research partners

From an Asstant Professorship in Coastal Engineering at Oregon State University to a PhD Assistantship in Coastal Planning at the University of Rhode Island, our research partners have openings in their departments! We continue to post jobs, internships and funding opportunities on our website. Check back regularly for new information.
Copyright © 2016 Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, All rights reserved.

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Campus Box 7581
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Coastal Resilience Center · 100 Europa Drive, Chapel Hill, NC, United States · Suite 540 · Chapel Hill, NC 27517 · USA

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