Katharine Schassler, ’21, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Certificate(s): Urban Studies

I worked on a project involving inflatable storm-surge barriers, a dynamic and largely still-emerging approach to coastal resiliency. Specifically, I helped the group understand how academic engineers can bridge the gap between theory and research to build structures that address environmental catastrophes. I interviewed community partners in a particularly susceptible region of New York City called Jamaica Bay, as well as a representative of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Resiliency. I learned and used ArcGIS to map Federal Emergency Management Agency floodplains within this region, motivating future work and development of that technology to service this community. During my work, I honed the skills to navigate interdisciplinary research by communicating with engineers, civic officials and community organizers alike, and I developed an understanding of the relationship research groups have to the real world. My work also provided concrete jumping-off points for future directions of the project, specifically notes on a potential pilot site and additional collaborators.

* This internship is connected to the PEI Urban Grand Challenges project, “Novel Deployable Storm Surge Protection for Coastal Cities.”