NHERI REU Students Present Posters, Network at the Natural Hazards Workshop

Published on August 9, 2019


Left: NHERI REU student, Jethro Ssengonzi (right), explains his research at the University of Texas Mobile Shaker facility to Researchers Meeting participant, Robert Muñoz.
Right: NHERI REU students, Kathryn (Katie) Popp and Natasha Mejias Ramirez, from the University of Texas Mobile Shaker EF with their REU faculty mentor, Tricia Clayton (center).

The National Science Foundation supports the Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program that is dedicated to advancing research and mentoring opportunities for students.

This summer, 16 of the REU students working with the Natural Hazard Engineering Research Infrastructure, or NHERI, had the chance to attend the 44th annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop in Broomfield, Colorado, July 14-17, 2019. They stayed on for the Researchers Meeting that immediately followed the Workshop to present posters on their summer projects.

Both events, hosted by the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, involve cross-disciplinary forums for professionals working to understand and alleviate the harm and suffering caused by disasters.

The students attended talks and round tables along with social scientists, public health researchers and practitioners, urban planners and others. For these students, all of whom are pursuing engineering degrees at universities across the U.S. states and territories, attending the Workshop and Researchers Meeting was a superb opportunity to experience the diversity of people and professionals dedicated to natural hazards mitigation.

At the Workshop session focusing on the NHERI network, Julio Ramirez, director of NHERI’s network coordination office, introduced the students to the audience. When they stood to be recognized, the crowd applauded. “The students’ smiles shone with pride as they stood to represent NHERI,” Karina Vielma, director of the NHERI-REU program says.

After the poster session, “the students were very grateful for the opportunity to present their research at the Researchers Meeting,” Vielma said. “Their gratitude for the experiences they had networking and sharing their research was overwhelming.”

Lori Peek, director of the Natural Hazards Center and PI for the NHERI CONVERGE facility, noted that this was the first time that undergraduate students have presented posters as part of the Researchers Meeting. “They were all very well prepared and professional.” Peek added, “I was especially inspired to see the students highlighting the potential social impacts of their work.”

The NSF-REU students have now all returned to the NHERI facilities where they are actively participating in original research this summer. “It will be a great opportunity to continue to watch these students grow,” said Peek. “After meeting them, the future seems so bright.”

Left: NHERI REU student, Haley Hostetter, with NCO Director, Julio Ramirez. Hostetter did her research project at the University of California, Berkeley- SimCenter this summer.
Right: COVERGE PI Lori Peek with Lehigh NHERI REU student, Mitchell Stiles.