Education Initiatives

The Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities (CRGC) prepares students to become leaders and experts in community resilience. CRCG provides graduate and undergraduate students from the Gulf States with hands-on opportunities to work with trans-disciplinary research methods and best practices for addressing community disasters. Download CRGC’s 2-Pager about its Student Initiatives here.

Who Are Our Students?

CRRC assistant director Jocelyn Curtis discusses the schedule with a student

Photo by Brandi Gilliam/CRRC

As of January 2017, we have 27 students hailing from the Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Pardee RAND Graduate School, Tulane University, and the University of South Alabama.

  • 5 Ph.D. students
  • 14 Masters
  • 8 Undergraduates

How Are Students Benefiting from CRGC’s Trans-disciplinary Commitment?

CRGC experts come from from diverse fields. Working directly with experts outside their own fields of study enhances students’ insights about disaster, recovery, and resilience, while improving their problem solving skills and passion for their work.

  • 16 (60 percent) of these students are working with supervisors from an academic background different than their own.
  • 3 of the 5 Ph.D. students are working with supervisors from different institutions, widening their knowledge base and their professional network.

What Have CRCG Students Been Doing?

Trans-disciplinary Connections between Students and Supervisors working within the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities

  • Assessing the Economic Impact of Disasters: Jacqueline Fiore, a Ph.D. student in Tulane University’s Economic Analysis and Policy program, is working with RAND economists Drs. Shanti Nataraj and Craig Bond to study the Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s socioeconomic impacts on Gulf fisheries. Her work is highlighted here.
  • Collecting and Reviewing Scientific Literature: Undergraduate students in Tulane University’s Computer Science Department have been working with Dr. Brent Venable to review literature and to develop artificial intelligence methods to support a web portal for CRGC that matches stakeholders with relevant resilience resources. Graduate students at Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy have worked with Drs. Ky Luu, Laura Haas, and Reggie Ferreira, to create an annotated bibliography on resilience literature and review hazard management planning documents.
  • Laying the Foundation for the STRONG Survey: The STRONG survey seeks to assess Gulf residents’ current health and wellbeing. Vanessa Parks, a Ph.D. student in LSU’s Department of Sociology completed a summer of training as a research associate at the RAND Corporation’s office in Washington, DC, under the direction of Dr. Rajeev Ramchand, RAND, Psychiatric Epidemiology. Vanessa was instrumental in laying the foundation for the design, administration, and analysis of STRONG.
  • Analyzing Data: Amanda Edelman, a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy, is working with Drs. Melissa Finucane, Andy Parker, and Holly Scheib, to support data analysis for risk communication and evaluation studies.
  • Managing Data: Leah Drakeford, a Ph.D. student in LSU’s Department of Sociology, is the CRGC Data Manager. She is responsible for understanding GRIIDC data storage procedures and policies and is helping to ensure that all CRGC data is compliant.
  • Training Community Health Workers: Graduate students at the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center have worked with Drs. Keith Nicholls and Steven Picou to support the training and implementation of Community Health Workers in three coastal communities in Southeast Louisiana and Alabama.

GoMRI Student Initiative

CRGC launched a list serve for students from all GoMRI-funded consortia to use as a platform to connect with one another, and to facilitate their cross-institutional access to researchers and resources.

As part its Student Initiative, CRCG has offered a webinar series for graduate students since Fall 2016. The goal of this series is to highlight themes of trans-disciplinary interest and increase professionalization. The series is open to any GoMRI-funded student and can be found on the CRGC website. Upcoming webinar topics include: “Communicating Your Research;” “Research Integration;” and “Applied Centers in Research Settings.” Dates to be announced. To join the student list serve or suggest a webinar topic, please contact Elizabeth Thornton.

Past Webinars

September 2016 – The Work of Research: Exploring Cross-Sector Career Paths
November 2016 – Benefits and Challenges of Stakeholder Engagement
April 2017 – Women in Science and Research

CRGC Graduate Students

Bert Cramer

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Bert Cramer is a graduate student and research assistant at Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. His research interests include states of exception, disaster resilience, health and disaster surveillance, and state ideology formation and operationalization. He has specialized experience in community-based research, program evaluation, Central Asian politics and security, and discourse analysis.

Leah Drakeford

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Louisiana State University

Leah Drakeford is a graduate student and research assistant at Louisiana State University. Her current research focuses on the reproduction of religious cultures through the consumption of religiously oriented consumer goods, the relationship between health and the sharing of faith through interpersonal interactions, the effects of local area religious homogeneity, and the use of religion as a coping mechanism within environmentally vulnerable communities.

Amanda Edelman

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Amanda Edelman is a Ph.D. candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy analyst at RAND. Her research interests include city government and processes, policy implementation, STEM education, community resilience, climate change, and social network analysis. Her dissertation is investigating policy innovation and diffusion through major U.S. Cities.

Laura Edington

Undergraduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Laura Edington is an Economics and Computer Science undergraduate student at Tulane University. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, recommendation systems, and behavioral economics. Laura is also passionate about information access and community empowerment, and has been working with faculty and fellow students to achieve these goals through her contributions to CRGC.

Anna Feigum

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Anna Feigum, a Minnesota native, is a current graduate student and research assistant at the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University. Anna’s focus is in community resilience, specifically in the implementation of mitigation and preparedness activities. Anna has her BA in Mathematics and Norwegian, and MA in International Relations.

Jacqueline Fiore

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Jacqueline Fiore is a Ph.D. student in the in Economic Analysis and Policy program with the Department of Economics at Tulane University. She specializes in applied microeconomics and her research interests include health economics, economics of disaster, development economics, and public policy. Recently, she has been working on the economic and health impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Specifically, she is interested in the impact the oil spill had on firms and human mental health outcomes in Gulf Coast communities.

Allison Kalnik

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Allison Kalnik is a Master of Science candidate and graduate research assistant at the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University in New Orleans. Her research interests include sustainable development, climate change adaptation, and community organizing. Through her studies, she has participated in several independent research projects and program evaluations, and has been contributing to CRGC research activities since 2015.

Betsy Lopez

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Betsy Lopez is a Master of Science candidate in the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University. Betsy also works as the program coordinator of Internships and Experiential Learning at the Newcomb College Institute, where she oversees and develops experiential learning opportunities for students, manages grants and endowments, developed and oversees the alumnae-mentoring program, and coordinates the Kenya summer abroad program.

Bria Means

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, University of South Alabama

Bria Means is a graduate research assistant at the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center (CRRC). Her research interests include public health, health disparities, community development, and disaster resilience. Bria is a student in the Master of Public Administration program, concentrating in health care.

Vanessa Parks

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, Louisiana State University

Vanessa Parks is a graduate student and research assistant at Louisiana State University. Her research interests include disaster resilience, health disparities, environmental sociology, and community development. She specializes in interdisciplinary health research, and she has participated in a number of needs assessments in vulnerable communities and several program evaluations related to health and education policies.

Peter Riser

Undergraduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Peter Riser is an Economics and Computer Science undergraduate student at Tulane University, where he also serves as a Teacher’s Assistant and Research Assistant in the Computer Science Department. His research interests include A.I and data analysis, and his focuses include software development, big data modeling through the use of machine learning methods and implementing efficient search algorithms.

Xinyue Cassie Wang

Undergraduate Student and Research Assistant, Tulane University

Xinyue Cassie Wang is an undergraduate student at Tulane University. She is working as a research assistant for CRGC, and is contributing to the development of the Consortium’s website application interface and the artificial intelligence algorithm for its personalized web content.

Alyssa Wood

Graduate Student and Research Assistant, University of South Alabama

Alyssa Wood is pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of South Alabama. Currently a graduate research assistant with the Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center (CRRC), her research interests include aspects of community health and community mental health including, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, resilience to traumatic events, and adverse childhood experiences.

Lead

Tim Slack, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Louisiana State University, Department of Sociology

Tim Slack

Tim Slack is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Louisiana State University. His scholarly interests are in the areas of social stratification and social demography, with emphasis on forms of economic and spatial inequality. Recent and ongoing research projects include studies of working poverty and other forms of underemployment; household livelihood strategies, including participation in the informal economy; and various aspects of regional inequality.

Co-Lead

Reggie Ferreira, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Tulane University, School of Social Work

Reggie Ferreira is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Tulane University. His research interests are in the areas of resilience, social vulnerability and intimate partner violence within a post disaster context. Current projects include social workforce capacity development, post disaster recovery and resilience within the context of disaster.