Texas A&M Galveston professor receives fellowship to study ways to lessen flooding

Residents all along the Gulf Coast, and just about everywhere else, are no strangers to the devastation that can be caused by flooding.  Dr. Ashley Ross, Assistant Professor, in the Marine Sciences Department of Texas A&M University at Galveston has been awarded a National Academies Gulf Research Program Early Career Fellowships.  Dr. Ross is a faculty fellow with the Center for Texas Beaches and Shores and serves as the lead for the discovery area of Coastal Risk Reduction and Resilience with the Institute for Sustainable Communities at Texas A&M University.

This group of researchers are tackling the issue of flooding by studying the association of hazard events, risk reduction and public policy with the interaction of urban development, anthropogenic impacts, local economies and community knowledge and culture.  The findings of this research promote innovative approaches, both structural and non-structural, to mitigate coastal flooding.

The early-career research fellowship awarded to Dr. Ross will continue this work and explore new directions, specifically the influence of public, private, and civic sector relationships on community disaster resilience.  The fellowship supports emerging scientists as they take risks on research ideas not yet tested, pursue unique collaborations and build a network of colleagues who share their interest in preventing oil spills and in the well-being of coastal communities and ecosystems.

Dr. Ross is a social scientist with a background in political science and public policy and administration.  Her work focuses on Gulf Coast disaster resilience from a local administrative and community-based perspective.  "I'm looking forward to joining an interdisciplinary group of scholars working on innovative solutions for the environmental and hazards issues facing the Gulf of Mexico region," said Dr. Ross.

These two-year fellowships are awarded to tenure-track faculty, or equivalent, at colleges, universities and research institutions.  Fellows will receive an award of $76,000 paid to their institution in the form of a two-year grant.  Because the pretenure phase of a researcher's career is a critical time, the unrestricted funds and mentoring this fellowship provides help recipients navigate this period with independence, flexibility, and a built-in support network.

Applicants must identify a senior-level faculty member at their affiliated institution willing to serve as a career mentor.  Dr. Sam Brody, Professor and Director of the Center for Texas Beaches and Shores in the Department of Marine Sciences at Texas A&M Galveston has agreed to serve as the mentor for Dr. Ross.

"Ashley is so deserving of this award," said Dr. Brody.  "She is a rising star in the field of coastal resiliency and this fellowship will help catapult her career and no doubt make important contributions to the field.  The real winners will be coastal communities along the Gulf of Mexico coast like Galveston that will benefit from Ashley's research on resiliency.  I am so proud to be her mentor and have her be a core faculty in the Center for Texas Beaches and Shores."

"This is wonderful news that recognizes the important work of up-and-coming scholars" said Dr. Michael Benedik, Vice Provost of Texas A&M University.