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Natural Hazards Section Award for Graduate Research

Information on the Award

The Natural Hazards Section Award for Graduate Research is presented annually to one or more promising young scientists studying natural hazards and risks. The honor recognizes outstanding contributions to natural hazards research and is judged based impact or potential impact to the field. Honorees must be current Ph.D. students or no more than 12 months beyond completion of their degree.

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Award Benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our section honorees. Recipients of the Natural Hazards Section Award for Graduate Research will receive the following benefits with the honor:

  • 1
    Award certificate
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 4
    An invitation to present a talk at the meeting during the award presentation year
  • 5
    $500 monetary prize

Eligibility

To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and Natural Hazards Award for Graduate Research Committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • The nominee is required to be an active AGU member.
  • The nominee must be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program or no more than 12 months post-degree by the nomination deadline.
  • The nominee should be engaged in the study of natural hazards and risks.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be candidates for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Natural Hazards Award for Graduate Research Committee members;
    • All full-time AGU staff; and
    • AGU Fellows.

  • Nominators are not required to hold an active AGU membership.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be nominators for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Natural Hazards Award for Graduate Research Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

  • Individuals who write letters of support for the nominee are not required to be active AGU members.
  • The following individuals are not eligible to be supporters for the award during their terms of service:
    • AGU President;
    • AGU President-elect;
    • Council Leadership Team members;
    • Honors and Recognition Committee members;
    • Natural Hazards Award for Graduate Research Committee members; and
    • All full-time AGU staff.

The following relationships need to be identified and communicated to the Award Committee but will not disqualify individuals from participating in the nomination or committee review process. These apply to committee members, nominators, and supporters:

  • Current dean, departmental chair, supervisor, supervisee, laboratory director, an individual with whom one has a current business or financial relationship (e.g., business partner, employer, employee);
  • Research collaborator or co-author within the last three years; and/or
  • An individual working at the same institution or having accepted a position at the same institution.

Individuals with the following relationships are disqualified from participating in the award nomination process as a nominator or supporter:

  • Family member, spouse, or partner.
  • A previous graduate (Master’s or Ph.D.) and/or postdoctoral advisor, or postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
  • A former doctoral or graduate student, or a former postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter for a former advisor but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.

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Nomination Package

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document. Learn how to successfully submit a nomination package or read our guide on how to submit a successful nomination.

  • A nomination letter that states how the nominee meets the selection criteria. It should include details about the impact or potential impact of the nominee’s research on the field of natural hazards and risk. Nominator’s signature, name, title, institution, and contact information are required, and letterhead is preferred.
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee.
  • At least one but no more than three copies of the nominee's published or preprint manuscripts, which illustrate the nominee’s quality of work.
  • Two letters of support. Supporter’s signature, name, title, institution, and contact information are required, and letterhead is preferred. We encourage letters from individuals not currently or recently associated with the candidate’s institution of graduate education or employment.
  • A selected bibliography may also be included.

Submission Process

Submissions are reviewed by the Natural Hazards Award for Graduate Research Committee. Nominations should be submitted online.
SUBMIT
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Recipients

Sanne Muis received the 2019 Natural Hazards Section Award for Graduate Research at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2019, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions to natural hazards research and is judged based on impact or potential impact to the field.”

 

Citation

Sanne Muis received a B.Sc. in Earth sciences and economics in 2009, an M.Sc. in hydrology in 2013, and a Ph.D. in flood risk in 2018, all at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her graduate research, advised by Jeroen Aerts and Philip Ward, investigated extreme sea levels and coastal flood risk at the global scale. During her graduate research, she closely collaborated with the Deltares institute. In 2016, she received a Fulbright Visiting Scholar Award, which she used to collaborate with Ning Lin at Princeton University. Muis currently is working as a researcher at Deltares and as an assistant professor at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research interests include extreme sea levels, coastal flooding, hydrodynamic modeling, and climate variability and change.

 

Edward Brooks will be awarded the 2018 Natural Hazards Section Award for Graduate Research. He will be formally presented with the award at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2018, to be held 10–14 December in Washington, D. C. The award recognizes “one or more promising young scientists engaged in studies of natural hazards and risks” and is given “in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. (or highest equivalent terminal degree) research.”

 

Citation

Edward received his B.S. in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 2013 and an M.S. in statistics from Northwestern University in 2017. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Earth and planetary science under the supervision of Seth Stein at Northwestern University in Evanston, where his research focuses on developing techniques to assess the performance of earthquake hazard maps. His research interests include seismology, natural hazards, and data science and how the three can influence policy decisions pertaining to natural hazard preparedness.

 

Lauren N. Schaefer will be awarded the 2017 Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research. She will be formally presented with the award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. This award recognizes “one or more promising young scientists engaged in studies of natural hazards and risks” and is given “in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. (or highest equivalent terminal degree) research.”

 

Citation

Lauren N. Schaefer received a B.S. in environmental geoscience from DePauw University in 2009, an M.S. in geology from Michigan Technological University in 2012, and a Ph.D. in engineering geology from Michigan Technological University in 2016. Her graduate research, advised by Dr. Thomas Oommen, investigated collapse hazards at volcanoes using remote sensing, experimental rock mechanics, and numerical modeling. During her graduate studies, she received a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, an NSF EAPSI Fellowship, a Michigan Space Grant Consortium Fellowship, and several AEG Foundation grants. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Ben Kennedy at the University of Canterbury, investigating rock physics in geothermal systems, the conditions and triggers of mass flows, and earthquake-induced landslides. She was nominated for the award by Dr. Oommen.

 

Társilo Girona will be awarded the Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research. He will be formally presented with the award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award recognizes a promising young scientist engaged in studies of natural hazards and risks and is given in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. (or highest equivalent terminal degree) research.

 

Citation

Társilo Girona received undergraduate training from the University of Valencia and the Complutense University of Madrid, the latter being from where he received a bachelor’s degree in physics (2009) and a master’s degree in geophysics and meteorology (2010). During his undergraduate studies, he was awarded by the Spanish National Research Council to perform an internship at the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, Barcelona, where he started his career in physical volcanology. In 2010, Társilo received a Singapore International Graduate Award to carry out his Ph.D. at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, an institute of Nanyang Technological University. His doctoral research, advised by Dr. Fidel Costa, focused on understanding the dynamics of frequently erupting volcanoes through new theoretical, computational, and experimental models. After his graduation in 2015, Társilo was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore before moving to Georgia Institute of Technology to work with Dr. Chris Huber. Since September 2016, he further develops his postdoctoral research at Brown University. Társilo’s interests include volcanic eruption dynamics and earthquake mechanics, and he aims to contribute in improving the prediction of natural disasters.

 

Linyin Cheng will be awarded the Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research. This award recognizes a promising young scientist engaged in studies of natural hazards and risks and is given in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. (or highest equivalent terminal degree) research. She will be formally presented with the award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Citation

Linyin Cheng received her Ph.D. in hydrology and water resources from the University of California, Irvine (2014), and an M.Sc. in ice dynamics from Clarkson University (2011). Her doctoral research, advised by Dr. Amir AghaKouchak, focused on developing statistical frameworks for spatial-temporal nonstationary extreme value analysis. In 2013, she received the National Center for Atmospheric Research Graduate Student Visitor Program Award and an American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award. After her graduation, she received the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) postdoctoral fellowship (2014–2015) to work with Professor Balaji Rajagopalan at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and at the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL). Currently, she is an associate research scientist at PSD, ESRL, NOAA, working with Dr. Martin Hoerling and Dr. Judith Perlwitz. Linyin’s research interests include statistical analysis of climate and meteorological extreme events, spatial-temporal modeling of nonstationary processes, and statistical uncertainty analysis.

 

Response

Christoph Aubrecht has a Ph.D. in Integrated Geographic Information (GI) Science and Remote Sensing from Vienna University of Technology and a prior master’s degree from the University of Vienna. He is affiliated as a senior scientific consultant with the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology as well as the World Bank’s Disaster Risk Management team. He previously provided consultancy to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and held various visiting scientist positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Geophysical Data Center, Columbia University’s Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network, and the attached NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center, as well as the University of Southern California. For several years Chris has been lecturing in GI science and remote sensing at the University of Vienna. He is on the editorial board of various international scientific journals, and his publications include more than 30 refereed articles in journals and books. Research interests focus on multidimensional spatiotemporal modeling as well as disaster risk management, exposure, and vulnerability.

 

James Belanger has been awarded the Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding contributions to natural hazards research. Belanger’s thesis is entitled “Predictability and prediction of tropical cyclones on daily to interannual time scales.” He gave an invited talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Citation

James received his B.S. in Earth and atmospheric sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, in 2003. After spending a year at the State University of New York at Albany, under the instruction of John Molinari, James returned to the Georgia Institute of Technology and completed his Ph.D. in atmospheric dynamics under the supervision of Judith Curry in August 2012. His research interests include tornadoes, hurricanes, and atmospheric predictability.

 

Valentin Gischig has been awarded the AGU Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding contributions to natural hazards research. Gischig’s thesis is entitled “Kinematics and failure mechanisms of the Randa rock slope instability (Switzerland).” He presented an invited talk and was formally presented with the award at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting, held 5–9 December in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Citation

Gischig received his M.Sc. in geophysics and glaciology at Eidgenössiche Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, in Switzerland, in 2007. In 2011 he attained a Ph.D. in engineering geology/rock mechanics/landslide analysis under the supervision of Simon Loew, Jeffrey R. Moore, Florian Amann, and Keith F. Evans at ETH Zürich. Gischig is currently conducting postdoctoral research at ETH Zürich. His research interests include landslides, induced seismicity in enhanced geothermal systems, and coupled processes in rock mechanics.

 

Ning Lin has been awarded the Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research, given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for outstanding contributions to natural hazards research. Lin’s thesis is entitled “Multi-hazard risk analysis related to hurricanes.” She is scheduled to present an invited talk in the Extreme Natural Events: Modeling, Prediction, and Mitigation session (NH20) during the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting, held 13–17 December in San Francisco, Calif. Lin will be formally presented with the award at the Natural Hazards focus group reception on 14 December 2010.

 

Citation

Lin received her B.S. from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China, in 2002, an M.S. from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, in 2005, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, Princeton, N. J., in June 2010, all in civil engineering. She is currently a NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellow, working with Kerry Emanuel at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Her research interests include extreme winds, rainfall, and surge.

 

Meththika Vithanage has been awarded the Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research, given annually to recent Ph.D. recipients for outstanding contributions to natural hazards research. Vithanage’s thesis is entitled “Effect of tsunami on coastal aquifers: Field studies and tank experiments.” She was formally presented with the award at the Natural Hazards Focus Group reception during the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Citation

Vithanage received her B.S. in natural resources from Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka in 2002 and an M.S. in environmental science from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in 2005. In 2009, she attained a Ph.D. in hydrogeology under the supervision of Karsten Jensen and Peter Engesgaard in the Department of Geology and Geography at University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her research interests include groundwater flow modeling, density-dependent flow and solute transport modeling, and water quality analysis.

 

Honors Contacts

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Artesha Moore

Vice President, Affiliation, Engagement & Membership

202-777-7530 | [email protected]

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Leah Bland

Program Manager, Honors

202-777-7389 | [email protected]

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Rosa Maymi

Director, Engagement and Membership

202-777-7322 | [email protected]

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Hannah Hoffman

Honors and Affiliation Program Coordinator

202-777-7515 | [email protected]