S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

News Story

Undergraduate Students Work Toward a More Resilient Future

Jul 5, 2023

Two students recently completed their Margaret A. Davidson Undergraduate Resilience Research Scholars projects. This new scholarship program provides opportunities for undergraduate students from underserved communities to contribute innovative ideas and solutions for a more resilient society. The program provides a tribute to Margaret Davidson, the Consortium’s second executive director, who went on to establish the NOAA Coastal Services Center which is now the NOAA Office for Coastal Management based in Charleston, S.C. Ultimately Margaret became NOAA’s senior leader for coastal inundation and resilience.

Angela Nganga, a rising senior at the College of Charleston, will graduate in May 2024 with a B.A. in meteorology and a minor in data science. Nganga worked with Norman Levine, professor of geology and environmental geosciences and director of the Lowcountry Hazards Center at the College of Charleston, on the project “A SLAMM Analysis of Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise in Beaufort County, S.C.” Nganga assisted with the development of an interactive, data-driven flooding application and a tide prediction model to provide people with information about areas in Charleston and Beaufort that are currently flooding or predicted to flood. The application also enables coastal counties to make decisions about protecting valuable marsh ecosystems. During summer 2023, Nganga is extending this work to coastal communities as one of the Consortium’s Community Engaged interns.

Angela stands next to her professor in front of a classroom whiteboard.

Angela Nganga and Norm Levine.

Cierra Shimp, a rising sophomore at Coastal Carolina University, will graduate in 2026 with a B.S. in marine science and a minor in sustainability. Shimp worked with Tatiana Height, lecturer of sustainability and coastal resilience at Coastal Carolina University, on the project “Understanding the Impacts of Flooding and Storm Surge in Pawleys Island, St. Helena, and Other Coastal Communities of S.C.: An Action Research Approach.” Shimp assisted with first-hand interviews of people impacted by flooding and storm surge to understand their experiences with the costs of disaster recovery and the effectiveness of government response. Municipal officials were provided with community-informed suggestions for disaster resilience and strategies to mitigate impacts. The study also provided data that can be used to compare flooding experiences of people living in affluent communities to people living in lower-income communities.

Cierra stands in front of her project poster.

Photo of Cierra Shimp courtesy of Coastal Carolina University.

For more information about these projects and the Margaret A. Davidson Undergraduate Resilience Research Scholars program, contact Susannah Sheldon, Research and Fellowships manager.