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CPRA Announces Coastal Science Assistantship Recipients

February 15, 2022

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 2021:

  • Omar Alawneh, LSU. “Quantifying Geotechnical Properties and Processes in the Fort St. Phillip Crevasse Complex: Implications to Sediment Diversions,” working with Navid Jafari, PhD
  • Robert Feder, LSU. “The Effect of ‘Freshening’ by Sediment Diversion Flow on the porewater salinity, nutrient availability, and water quality improvement functions of Barataria Bay Marsh Soil,” working with John White, PhD
  • Skylar Liner, LUMCON. “Can ribbed mussels augment coastal restoration projects in a world of rising seas?” working with Brian Roberts, PhD
  • Sherif Mostafa, Tulane “Quantifying sediment retention and morphologic evolution in the Fort St. Phillip Crevasse Complex: Implications to sediment diversions,” working with Ehab Meselhe, PhD

The faculty members for the 2022 Coastal Science Assistantship program were recently selected and are seeking Masters students to fund with their awards. The following faculty members were selected: 

  • Jay Wang, 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”
  • Madeline Foster-Martinez, 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”
  • Paul Leberg, University of Louisiana at Lafayatte. “Assessing resiliency of coastal seabird communities following coastal restoration and hurricane disturbance”
  • Saberethinam Kameshwar, LSU. “Hurricane vulnerability of aboveground storage tanks in coastal 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 74 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 51 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