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Quantifying Disaster Risk Reduction Geographic Information Capacity with United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security and University of Bonn Germany

Information for Potential Applicants

We are now accepting applications for the 2019 IRES cohort.

If selected for this opportunity, travel costs and a full living stipend are provided to spend 10 weeks in the summer in Bonn, Germany.

This opportunity is available to RIT graduate students with the following requirements:

1. US-citizen
2. Enrollment in ISTE 742 – Introduction to GIS (Spring 2019)
3. Grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher
4. Currently enrolled as a full-time student
5. Physically present on RIT campus for Spring 2019 (no remote/co-op participation)
6. Must commit to being in Germany for 10 weeks during Summer 2019
7. Must be an RIT student in the summer 2019
8. Agree to participate in a follow-up research activity for Fall 2019

For more details on this opportunity, please review the NSF IRES information presentation.

To apply for the NSF IRES Program:

The application has two parts:

Part 1: Complete the RIT compass application available available here.


Part 2: Please email directly to Brian Tomaszewski (bmtski@rit.edu) the following:

a. A 1000 word statement of interest as to why you wish to conduct research in Germany and how you see the experience benefiting your educational experience and long-term career prospects in science, technology or engineering fields.

 b. Two letters of recommendation: one from your  primary faculty advisor and another from a faculty member that can speak on your maturity and capability for foreign travel and intellectual capacity for conducting research.
 
 c. Contact information (name, phone number, email) for your  primary faculty advisor and one other faculty member who can serve as a reference for you.

Applications are due: 15 November 2018
 

About the Project

This International Research Experience for Students (IRES) is focused on quantifying disaster risk reduction geographic information capacities. Each year, a cohort of five U.S. graduate students from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will participate in a ten-week summer research experience with collaborators at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the University of Bonn (UBonn) - both located in Bonn, Germany. Highlights of collaborative activities include student access to and learning from UNU-EHS, UBonn, and other international disaster risk reduction experts, student research training activities, spatial data set acquisition, and access to international scientific networks only available in Bonn. The primary student research project is to create and rigorously evaluate a Disaster Risk Reduction - Information Capacity Index (DRR-ICI). A DRR-ICI currently does not exist. The scientific purpose of the DRR-ICI is to quantify and evaluate how disaster risk reduction geographic information capacities such as information availability, scale and relevancy vary within Germany and from country to country. The project will advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning by creating unique linkages to international organizations that will train, educate and professionally develop the next generation of interdisciplinary STEM research scientists focused on disaster risk reduction and GIS. Intellectual products created by IRES students, such as the DRR-ICI, will provide important benefits to society that can bring global attention to disaster risk reduction research and GIS potentially saving lives when disasters occur. The project is particularly strong in enhancing infrastructure for research and education as IRES students will become part of both the UN and German disaster stakeholder networks that are only available by being on-site in Bonn.

For more information, please visit: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1559450

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This research were funded through a grant from the US National Science Foundation and the project International Research Experience for Students: Quantifying Disaster Risk Reduction Geographic Information Capacity with United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security and University of Bonn Germany (NSF OISE-1559450). 

IRES 2017 Cohort - click on each Fellow's picture to learn more about them.

Britta Schwall

Britta Schwall
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

Unlike the most of the research scientists, Britta studies Business Management. She enjoys challenges and learning new things. From this project, she has had opportunities to learn from outstanding researchers, gain real-life work experience in an entirely new field, meeting people all over Europe and being a part of the international joint master program. After graduation in Spring 2018, she will work as a Coordinator of Residence Education at a college in Texas. She hopes to work for World Federation of the Deaf someday. 

 

Tayler Ruggero

Tayler Ruggero
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

Tayler Ruggero is a fourth year Criminal Justice and Public Policy Student with a minor in Geographical Information Systems.  She was a part of the 2017 cohort for NSF IRES, and found specific interest in the policy aspect of disaster management and geographical information capacity. She directed her individual project towards comparing FEMA in the United States with the BBK and THW in Germany.  She was assigned to UNU-EHS as a visiting scientist and truly enjoyed her experience in Bonn and working with the United Nations. In addition to NSF IRES, Tayler also spent January 2016 with Dr. Tomaszewski and a cohort of students in Rwanda, using ArcGIS collector to map the Kigeme Refugee camp.  On RIT's campus, Tayler in very much involved in the Center for Residence Life as an RA, the College of the Liberal Arts Student Advisory Board, and she is the CoLA Senator in Student Government.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching sporting events, and being a volunteer youth cheerleading coach.

Zachary Sutherby

Zachary Sutherby
Visiting Research Scientist
University of Bonn

Zach Sutherby is a fourth-year Environmental Science student with a minor in Geographic Information Systems. He was part of the 2017 cohort for NSF IRES, and found specific interest in understanding the role ecosystem services play in Disaster Risk Reduction and how Geographic Information Capacity can help quantify ecosystem benefits. He directed his individual project towards understanding current geospatial tools used to quantify ecosystem services and created a conceptual framework that utilizes these tools as means to quantify ecosystem services in the context of Ecological Disaster Risk Reduction. Zach was assigned to the University of Bonn campus, and very much enjoyed working with the foreign collaborators and other researchers at the location. Zach has also worked with Dr. Tomaszewski in building a site selection model for siting potential anaerobic digesters in Upstate New York. Zach's hobbies include kayaking, snowboarding, riding his motorcycle, and enjoying new experiences. After graduation, Zach plans on starting his career with ESRI as an ArcGIS analyst, and looks forward to learning and further building his skills using GIS software and techniques.  

Casey Hammond

Casey Hammond
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

Casey Hammond is a MS Criminal Justice student.

Yuqing Guo

Yuqing Guo
Visiting Research Scientist
University of Bonn

Yuqing Guo is a BS Web and Mobile Computing student.

IRES 2018 Cohort - click on each Fellow's picture to learn more about them.

Alexandra Leader

Alexandra Leader
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

Alexandra is a Sustainability PhD Candidate in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT. She holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from the University at Buffalo where she graduated in 2016. Currently Alexandra is studying critical materials and methods of reducing their supply risks, with a recent focus on those materials used in clean energy technologies. She plans to integrate GIS into her research, particularly for the spatial questions associated with how to best manage clean energy technologies at their end-of-life. Her hobbies include traveling and numerous outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, sailing, and kayaking to name a few. In the future she hopes to work in industry and make a difference in the way materials are used and discarded.   

Elizabeth Moore (Wronko)

Elizabeth Moore (Wronko)
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

 

Elizabeth is currently a Sustainability PhD Candidate at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She has her B.S. in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University (JMU) and her M.S. in Sustainable Systems from RIT. She is an adjunct professor in the RIT College of Liberal Arts and her teaching interests include sustainable development, resilient cities, and geographic information systems (GIS). Her research area is focused on emerging materials and technologies (i.e. nanomaterials) with an interest in natural disaster management and geographic information capacity. She hopes to continue teaching and researching at the university level after graduation. Elizabeth's hobbies include coaching cheerleading, traveling, cooking, and Crossfit. 

Will Armington

Will Armington
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

Will is currently a PhD Student at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He graduated from Clarkson University in 2012 with a BS in Environmental Engineering. Will’s current research topic focuses on optimizing food waste transportation logistics for energy and resource recovery in emerging food waste recycling systems. His research goal is to develop frameworks to assist in transportation decisions at the system level by integrating linear optimization and geographic information systems. Other research interests include studying food waste management during disaster cleanup to reduce risk of human health problems associated with putrescible waste. He hopes to apply research to help companies and governments to make food waste recycling decisions to reduce environmental and human health impacts. When he is not researching, he enjoys appreciating local food and drinks, playing video games, and relaxing with his pet hedgehog. 

Sandy Wu

Visiting Research Scientist
University of Bonn

Sandy is a second year Management Information Systems student with minors in Geographic Information Systems and Database Development and Design at RIT. She is interested in working with databases and analyzing the efficiencies of operations.

Sandy's involvement on RIT's campus include being on the board for Women in Business and Asian Culture Society. She is also a part of Student Government as Women's Senator and in many other organizations and boards such as the Center for Women and Gender Student Action Board, the House of General Science, and the Reporter. In her free time, she likes to bake, make felt plushies, and play badminton.

Madeline Wolters

Madeline Wolters
Visiting Research Scientist
University of Bonn

Madeline Wolters is a BS Imaging Science student.

IRES 2019 Cohort

Benjamin Meyers

Benjamin Meyers
Visiting Research Scientist
University of Bonn

Ben is currently a PhD student in the Golisano College for Computing & Information Sciences (GCCIS) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He has a BS in Software Engineering from RIT. He intends to pursue a tenure-track faculty position teaching computational linguistics and cybersecurity. His research is focused on the sociolinguistic characteristics of conversations about security and how they can be leveraged to improve communication between software developers and the quality of the code they write. In his free time he enjoys writing, philosophy, Lego, and comic books.

Kyle Parnell

Kyle Parnell
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

Kyle is a Ph.D. student at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the State University of New York College at Geneseo (2015) and an M.S. in Sustainable Systems from the Rochester Institute of Technology (2016). Kyle’s research focuses on enabling leaders in the manufacturing industry to consider sustainability criteria as core components of upstream business decision systems. Kyle plans to use geographic information systems (GIS) in his own research to develop contextually-adaptable frameworks for sustainable business decision making that are informed by geospatially specific environmental impact data. Ultimately, Kyle’s goal is to work in public policy, developing business and regulatory guidelines that support a more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable future. In his spare time, Kyle is a traveller, tennis fan, cyclist, and cook.

Omar Aponte

Omar Aponte
Visiting Research Scientist
University of Bonn

Omar is a PhD in Engineering student at the Rochester Institute of Technology focusing his research on data analytics and supervised statistical machine learning. He completed a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering and later an M.E. degree in Engineering Management. He has a strong interest in the application of data science, machine learning, statistical modeling and geographic information systems (GIS) to develop initiatives that mitigate our environmental impact and improve our resiliency in the face of both natural and man-made disasters. After graduating, Omar hopes to use his knowledge and skills to help organizations, nations and communities around the world in their quest to reduce their negative environmental impact and be more resilient in the face of climate change and the natural disasters associated with it. During his time off from research activities, Omar enjoys live music performances and traveling to new countries and cities to learn about their culture and history. He speaks fluent Spanish and has traveled to more than 20 different countries in America, Europe and Asia.    

Leslie Brooks

Leslie Brooks
Visiting Research Scientist
United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

Leslie is a 3rd year PhD Candidate at Rochester Institute of Technology in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Indiana University, Bloomington. After graduating undergrad, she built a career in the metals recycling industry-- starting as a laborer in the yard learning how to identify, process, and sort metals. From there, she became an account manager and broker as well as a manager of nonferrous operations. Using this experience, she proceeded to develop, design, and run a metals division for a paper and plastics recycling facility. Presently, working under the direction of Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad (who is now Dean at Alfred University), she is able to apply her knowledge of the recycling and waste management industry for research on positive material identification (PMI), improving scrap utilization rates, and evaluating technology solutions for sorting, separating, and identification of metals and their alloys. As a visiting scientist at the UNU-EHS in Bonn, Germany, she will be conducting Geographic Information Capacity research as well as exploring the impact of power outages due to disasters on industry (i.e. aluminum smelters). Outside of research, Leslie enjoys numerous outdoor activities such as frisbee, [American] football, kayaking, sailing, hiking/backpacking –to name a few. She also loves agriculture/farming and experiencing new cultures and new food.

Brienna Herold

Brienna Herold
Visiting Research Scientist
University of Bonn

Brienna Herold is a MS Information Science and Technology student.