Attending LSU was the greatest experience in my life, and I was fortunate to take part in and experience many events and projects at LSU that has set LSU apart from other universities. While LSU is known for its football and baseball programs on the field, a lot of people might not know that LSU has many exceptional academic programs in the classroom and research labs. I was fortunate enough to assist in building the SURGEDAT database which is considered the storm surge datacenter of the world with over 8,200 data points. This database contains valuable information like return periods for storm surge events for locations on the Gulf Coast, historical estimated heights of high water levels in rural areas along the Louisiana coast where no observations were recorded, high water mark observations from archived newspapers from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and surge inundation maps that show the location of the maximum storm surge or storm tide events associated with a tropical cyclone. It was an honor to be a part of a team that spent many hours researching and conducting analysis to help other scientists and the public gain a better understanding of storm surge events. The information that the SURGEDAT database contains will provide valuable information for many years to help coastal communities develop in a way that minimizes the risk caused by tropical cyclones.
As a part of the team building the SURGEDAT database, I was able to use data from this database to create a poster for the 2014 Undergraduate Research Day where I examined the storm surge and storm tide levels along the Louisiana coast. I collected the highest water level caused by tropical cyclones in each Louisiana parish for each decade of recorded data. These locations were placed on a map to show where each high water mark occurred in each Louisiana parish. Several maps were created containing two or three decades of high water marks. In addition, a map was generated to show the overall highest water mark in each Louisiana parish. The information about the storm surge/tide events on the Louisiana coast will benefit elected officials, city planners, developers, and scientists by providing data about the past heights of storm surge/tide events that only the SURGEDAT database can provide.
College is what the student makes it to be, and I chose to make the most of the opportunities presented to me in the classroom. The Department of Geography and Anthropology provided me with all the resources I needed to gain the knowledge necessary for me to pursue my career goals. By utilizing the tools and resources the professors provided me, I was able to gain the knowledge that I needed to obtain a job that I have always dreamed about. I was fortunate enough to graduate and have a job with the Department of Defense due in part to my professors teaching me everything that I needed to know and doing whatever asked to help me secure my current job. I believe that I have gained the necessary knowledge during my time at LSU to pursue my career goals in the national security field to help defend America’s interests, foreign and domestic, while using the technical skills of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing that I learned from my professors. The skills and hard work that my professors taught me has allowed me to excel in my current job. Graduating Summa Cum Laude was no easy task, but the professors challenged me and instilled a work ethic in me that has prepared me for any task that I might be assigned in my professional career.