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CPRA Announces Coastal Science Assistantship Recipients

March 3, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA  The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) today announced recipients of its annual Coastal Science Assistantship Program (CSAP). CSAP enables faculty members of Louisiana institutions to fund Master of Science students enrolled full-time at Louisiana colleges and universities who are involved in research relevant to Louisiana coastal protection and restoration efforts.

The following students were awarded Coastal Science Assistantships in 2022:

  • Abhishek Kumar Tiwari, Louisiana Tech. “Development of design criteria for the use of articulating concrete mats and geosynthetic separator fabric as protective features for earthen containment dikes exposed to localized wave forces”, working with Jay Wang, Ph.D.
  • Donald Davidson, University of New Orleans. “How do physical properties of vegetation (i.e., shape, height, stem width, branching, flexibility, etc.) modify the in-situ flow and sediment regime”, working with Madeline Foster-Martinez, Ph.D.
  • Bonnie Slaton, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “Assessing resiliency of coastal seabird communities following coastal restoration and hurricane disturbance”, working with Paul Leberg, Ph.D.
  • Santosh Ghimire, Louisiana State University. “Hurricane vulnerability of aboveground storage tanks in coastal Louisiana”, working with Saberethinam Kameshwar, Ph.D.

The faculty members for the 2023 Coastal Science Assistantship program were recently selected and are seeking Masters students to fund with their awards. The following faculty members were selected:

  • Thomas Douthat, Ph.D., Louisiana State University. “Flooding, Migration, and the Coastal Master Plan: Linking small areas and regional dynamics to big events, long-term stressors, and planning processes”
  • Jonathan Willis, Ph.D., Nicholls State University. “Elucidating the successional trajectories of Louisiana barrier island vegetation communities through data mining”
  • Lei Wang, Ph.D., Louisiana State University. “Cloud-based implementation and dissemination tool for long-term river diversion and land restoration assessment near the Mid-Barataria Basin in South Louisiana”

The CPRA awards, which fund a three-year period of study, are intended to support academic research that will improve the planning, design, and construction of coastal restoration projects. In addition, these assistantships help CPRA foster closer ties with the academic community and promote a platform for collaboration by developing relationships with students, professors, and universities. These relationships allow for greater communication, participation, and integration between Louisiana higher education and the state’s coastal protection and restoration program.

Since the program’s inception in 2008, CPRA has supported 78 students across nine different institutions including LSU, LSU Ag Center, ULL, SLU, UNO, Tulane, Nicholls, LUMCON, and Louisiana Tech. To date, students in the program have generated 57 theses, more than 100 journal publications, and over 10,000 internship hours with CPRA.

While CPRA makes the final selections and provides the funds for CSAP, the assistantships are administered by the Louisiana Sea Grant (LSG) College Program. Once chosen, faculty members select graduate students to work on the projects. These students are required to complete a master’s thesis at their institution and a 240-hour internship with CPRA. The students receive a yearly stipend of $25,000 each (a maximum of $75,000 per student).

For more information, visit the CSAP website or contact:

Summer Langlois
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
150 Terrace Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Matthew Bethel
Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
232 Sea Grant Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-7507