Raha Hakimdavar, a second-year PhD candidate in civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has won a Fulbright research grant to further study and develop a sensor- and satellite-driven network for flood management in areas with high flood risk. Sponsored by the Netherlands America Foundation (NAF), a bilateral group that supports educational, cultural, and business exchange between the Netherlands and the United States, this Fulbright award will fund Hakimdavar’s ongoing flood management research focused on the southwestern coast of Haiti.
For Hakimdavar, who actually wanted to be a journalist before she ultimately found her way to engineering, winning the Fulbright grant is a great honor. “But more than that, it feels wonderful to have somebody believe in your ideas and potential enough to invest in you,” she says. “I feel very fortunate for the opportunity because not only do I get to expand my knowledge on work that I’m very passionate about, I also get to experience something entirely new in my life.”
Southwest Haiti in particular poses numerous challenges with respect to flood management, explains Hakimdavar, because of its extreme deforestation, soil degradation from poor agricultural practices, high urbanization rate, and susceptibility to extreme climate and climate change. With the Fulbright award, Hakimdavar will conduct studies in the Netherlands—a nation that has a long history with flood management and where researchers have already made headway in developing successful approaches to understanding and mitigating flood risks in the country. She will apply what she learns from this research to her work in Haiti. Read more...