Coastal storms fellow
October 20, 2016
UD graduate student earns research fellowship to study coastal storms
University of Delaware doctoral student Stephanie Dohner has been selected as a Mid-Atlantic Coastal Storms Program graduate research fellow by Virginia Sea Grant.
Dohner, of Englewood, Ohio, is studying oceanography in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. She was one of six finalists selected in the Mid-Atlantic region in a competitive application process.
The fellowships are funded by the Coastal Storms program, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initiative that brings together federal, state and local organizations to increase resiliency to and reduce negative impacts of coast storms, like hurricanes, nor’easters and tropical storms.
Working under the advisement of Art Trembanis, associate professor of oceanography, Dohner is investigating the short-term effects of tropical storms and nor’easters on the area’s coastal morphology using rapid response techniques including unmanned aerial vehicles to look at land features and both autonomous surface and underwater vehicles to measure water depth offshore.
She is currently working with Delaware Sea Grant (DESG) to improve post-storm rapid response data collection techniques to help scientists and local communities more accurately predict local flooding and morphology changes during extreme events. She hopes the work will result in collection methods that local municipalities can use to monitor their own beaches and to improve coastal resiliency and management efforts.
As part of this work, Dohner is collaborating with Chris Petrone, DESG marine education specialist, on outreach activities to share her science with K-12 students and teachers.
Dohner earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in physical oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2013 and 2015, respectively, and holds a minor in meteorology.
While her master’s degree focused on coastal storms and their effect on inlets, it was a conversation with Trembanis about coastal morphology and storm response that led to her current doctoral work.
“My training began in the open ocean, but my passion resides in the coastal environment. It was the fieldwork and the hands-on learning opportunities through Dr. Trembanis and UD’s Robotics Laboratory that really drew me to UD,” Dohner said.
According to Trembanis, “This program reflects the important and critical impacts that storms can have in our coastal communities and the professional development efforts show a real commitment to nurture the next generation of coastal scientists like Stephanie.”