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Student Paper Competition

ASFPM Offers 9th Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition in 2019

Abstract Submittal Deadline is March 15, 2019

Every spring the Association of State Floodplain Managers conducts an annual national conference that attracts more than 1,200 people for a week-long event that showcases state-of-the-art techniques, programs, resources, materials, equipment, accessories and services to accomplish flood mitigation, risk reduction and other community goals. Next year's competition will be a part of the program at the 2019 ASFPM national conference May 19-23 in Cleveland, OH. Teams consisting of one or more students are encouraged to submit abstracts on subjects relating to floodplain or stormwater management. The goals of this program are to encourage student engagement in floodplain management topics and to identify talented individuals with the potential to make lasting contributions to floodplain management's body of knowledge.


Any full-time student enrolled in a floodplain management related field at any college or university is eligible to submit. The related fields include, but are not limited to, engineering, geology, geography, planning and public administration (see below for suggested topics list). Papers may be written by a team of students, but only one scholarship will be awarded to each of the top three teams, and only one person will be invited to attend the conference as our guest to present the paper.

Submission Process:

The submission process for 2019 hasn't officially opened yet. Below is the information from 2018:

Abstracts should be submitted by Jan. 31, 2018 as a PDF file to ASFPM Outreach and Events Manager Diane Brown at Abstracts will be reviewed by an ASFPM Foundation panel and three semifinalists will be invited to submit a full paper, which will be due by March 30, 2018. The three semifinalists will receive up to $1,000 for travel assistance to make their presentations at a special student session during the conference, and they will be judged by an eminent panel of floodplain managers. From these, first-, second-, and third-place winners will be selected and will receive scholarships of $1,000, $500 and $250 respectively.

Topic Areas of Consideration:

Students are encouraged to submit abstracts on studies related to one or more of the following topics: coastal, Great Lakes, riverine, alluvial fans, estuary issues, higher (than minimum federal) stormwater control standards, compliance with flood regulations, flood insurance, Community Rating System, post-flood activities, Letters Of (flood) Map Changes (LOMCs), National Flood Insurance Program reform, flood mitigation planning, noteworthy flood mitigation project success, GIS applied to flood risk assessment, recertification of dams and levees, impacts of decertification, dam failure, levee inventory, non-levee embankments, natural and beneficial floodplain functions, environmental/green construction for flood mitigation, flood outreach/education programs, stormwater, watershed modeling, hydrology and hydraulics (H&H), flood hazard data management and tools, LiDAR, floodplain mapping, Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs), local/state mapping programs (including higher standards), floodway standards, geomorphology of floodplains and resultant implications on the built environment, human impacts on floodplains including water quality and ecological factors, Endangered Species Act (ESA) present and anticipated impacts on floodplain management, and Risk MAP.

Faculty Advisors:

Each student is allowed a faculty advisor or advisors. The advisors may provide advice and resources, and may review the papers and presentations prior to their submittal. The advisors may be recognized as a junior author on papers, however the papers should principally be the work of student teams. Faculty advisors for participating teams may not serve on any of the selection or judging panels.

Abstract Criteria:

The body of the abstract must be 500 words or less, double-spaced, and should concisely describe the research and expected results from the study. The abstracts will be evaluated based on their significance and applicability to the field of floodplain management, and on the originality of the idea of the abstract. The abstract must be submitted in a PDF file by Jan. 31, 2018, to Diane Brown at Students who have competed as semifinalists in the past are ineligible to submit again. Students who submitted an abstract that was not selected may compete again.

Paper Criteria:

If selected as a semifinalist, deadline for submission of the paper is March 30, 2019.

  • Length of paper is six to eight, double-spaced pages, including figures, tables and references.
  • The typeface will be 11 point calibri for all parts of the paper. Do not change typeface within the paper.
  • The line spacing will be double-spaced.
  • The page margins will be one inch on all sides.
  • Titles, authors, authors' affiliation should be centered, single-spaced at the top of the first page.


Paper - 70 percent
Presentation - 30 percent

For questions regarding the competition criteria, contact ASFPM Outreach and Events Manager Diane Brown at or (608) 828-6423.

Past Student Papers

2018 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in Phoenix, Arizona

The Case for a Floodplain Enhancement Rating System: Has the time come for an ASFPM accreditation program?, by John MacDougall, Pamela Reber, Evan Stewart and Paul St. Louis from University of Washington-Seattle 
Who Knows What Comes Tomorrow: A Case Study of Resilience in Boulder County, Colorado, by Simone Domingue, a PhD student in the Department of Sociology from University of Colorado-Boulder

 Winners of ASFPM Foundation's Student Paper Competition. L-R: ASFPM Foundation   President Doug Plasencia, Pamela Reber and Simone Domingue. Photo by John Hays.

2017 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in Kansas City, Missouri

Exploring the Concept of Cumulative, Probabilistic Flood Hazard Maps, by Maryellen Hearn from Technical University of Dresden, Erasmus Mundus Flood Risk Management Master

After the Flood: Exercising Best Practices in Property Acquisition Programs and Open Space Projects, by Ashton Rohmer from the Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Quantifying the Future Flood Impact and Damages in the Chesapeake Bay Regions Due to Storm Surge, Sea Level Rise and Marsh Migration, by Ali Mohammad Rezaie from Civil Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering, George Mason University


2017 competitors L-R: Ashton Rohmer (2nd place), Ali Mohammad Rezaie (3rd place), Maryellen Hearn (1st place) and ASFPM Foundation President Doug Plasencia.

2016 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Large Scale High Resolution Flood Inundation Mapping in Real Time, by Adnan Rajib from the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University

Evaluating Risks of Dam-Reservoir Systems Based on Rare Event Simulation, by Qianli Deng, a student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland-College Park

Assessing Sediment Accumulation in Reservoirs Behind Dams in the Lake Erie Watershed from Past to Present, by Fatemeh Alighalenbabakhani, a Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Wayne State University-Detroit

2016 competitors L-R: ASFPM Foundation President Doug Plasencia, 2nd place winner Qianli Deng, 1st place winner Adnan Rajib, and 3rd place winner Fatemeh Alighalenbabakhani. Photo by Michele Mihalovich.

2015 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in Atlanta, Georgia

Developing Flood Loss Curve for City of SacramentoMd Nowfel Mahmud Bhuyian 

Salmon Refuge: The Endangered Species Act and FEMA's NFIPPatrick Johnson

Mitigating Calgary, Alberta's Vulnerability to FloodingAdnya Sarasmita

2015 Competitors, Pictured L-R:
Adnya Sarasmita, University of Washington, 2nd place; Patrick Johnson, University of Idaho, 1st place; Md Nowfel Mahmud Bhuyian (Tanvir), University of Tennessee Technological University, 3rd place.

2014 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in Seattle, Washington

Bioretention Research and Demonstration Project, Grant Livingston

Preventing Flood Damage to Businesses in Historic Downtown Snoqualmie, WA, Kristen Vitro

Mitigating Total Flood Impacts through Intentional Flooding in Agricultural Land along the Lower Nooksack River, Francesca White

Student Paper 2014
2014 Competitors, Pictured L-R:
Grant Livingston, Oregon State University, 1st place
Kristin Vitro, University of Washington, 2nd place
Francesca White, University of Washington, 3rd place
Doug Plasencia, ASFPM Foundation President

2013 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in Hartford, Connecticut

Flood Resistance to Flood Resilience: Mapping our Water Systems Below to Understand how to Shape Our Land Above, Kendra FitzRandolph

Fish and Floods: Implementation of the 2008 Biological Opinion on the National Flood Insurance Program in Washington State, Meg Olson

2012 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in San Antonio, Texas

Risk Analysis and Damage Assessment for Flood Prone Areas in Washington DC, Arian Lessani

Historic Levees and Cultural Resource Management in South Jersey, Jesse Lattig and Marshall Tidwell

2011 Collegiate Student Paper Competition in Louisville, Kentucky

Uncertainty Analysis in Flood Inundation Mapping, Younghun Jung

The Effect of Land-cover Changes on Lag Time in the Banklick Creek Watershed, KY, Katelyn Toebbe

Project Safe Haven: Vertical Evacuation Opportunities on the Washington Coast, Jeana C. Wiser

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