Springboard Projects 2022

College of Business

  • Threat and Opportunity for Economic Resiliency in Construction and Real Estate due to Covid-19

    Investigators: Dr. James Slaydon (Lead), Dr. Henry Venta, Dr. Gevorg Sargsyan, and Dr. Ricardo Colon

    This study analyzes the resiliency of the real estate sector in the context of economic growth.
    Three aspects of research:
    • Economic growth and real estate – macroeconomic aspect,
    • Participatory analysis of risk management of SETX real estate and construction industry,
    • Valuation residential and commercial (puede ser que despues hacer )
    As can be seen in the next section natural disasters of this magnitude can harm the vast majority of real properties. This can impact negatively the regionwide overall value of the real estate. Especially that most of the debt is collateralized by real estate via mortgage market or corporate debt. Finally, most financial crises are often triggered by real estate.


  • Oil Price Uncertainty Leads to Strategic Resiliency Responses and Adaptations of the Offshore Industry

    Investigators: Dr. Kelly Weeks (Lead) and Dr. Mahdi Safa

    Global collapse of oil prices has brought into question the future of energy sector recovering from its downturn. The purpose of this study is to assess the prospects for the offshore market throughout 2017 and beyond, entering the recovery phase and the changing political and economic landscape. The authors paid special attention to industry responses across different segments of the value chain and compared company strategies and actions. The sector has to focus on reducing the dependency on the volatile oil price through diversification into renewable energy and liquefied natural gas to bridge the gap between technological and cost related gaps in the oil field. The industry will fully recover if main activities are executed at lower prices while regaining profitability, working down the supply chain in new ways, investing in technology advancement, and talent recruitment – new model for a New World Order.

  • Developing a Framework for Measuring Transportation Infrastructure Resilience in Southeast Texas: Impacts of Extreme Flooding Events

    Investigator: Dr. Minkyum Kim

     "Amid more frequent extreme weather events in recent years, concerns on the resilience of the transportation infrastructure have been grown substantially [1–5]. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Tropical Depression Imelda in 2019 left catastrophic damages in the Southeast Texas (SETX) region. Especially, the enormous disruptions across the transportation network in the region significantly limited mobility of the supply chain, impeding the healthy and timely distribution of resources from and to the region. Hurricane Harvey alone was estimated to cause more than $125 billion in total damages by a group of researchers [1]. While there is a consensus on the significant damages and detrimental impacts of the recent storms in the SETX region, the extent of the damages caused by the two recent historical storms has not been clearly quantified. Yet, to avoid or minimize the damages in the future extreme weather events, one must have a clear understanding of the consequences and impacts of those climate disasters.

    The primary objective of this study is to develop a framework for measuring transportation infrastructure resilience in the SETX region. In order to accomplish the objective, the extent of disruptions and damages data caused by the recent storms will be collected. In addition, the geographical and climatic data of the region during the storms will be collected. A series of meta-data analyses will be performed using the combined damage-climate database to identify the characteristics of vulnerable transportation infrastructure. Based on the identified vulnerability characteristics, a framework for measuring the transportation infrastructure resilience will be developed in consultation with the TxDOT Beaumont District engineers and industry partners. All salient findings from the project, including the resilience measurement framework, will be documented in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and/or journal articles as the primary deliverable of the project.

    The PI envisions that the developed framework will help the transportation sector to assess the resilience of the transportation infrastructure network in the SETX region and establish the supply chain plan accordingly for the future extreme weather event. Furthermore, findings from this project are anticipated to serve as steppingstones for moving up to the higher-level transportation network resilience, which is a prime focus area of research in many state highway agencies including the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Thus, successfully conducting the proposed research project should lead the PI to expand the scope to a higher level and increase the chance of securing more external research grants on the related topics."

  • Macroeconomic Dynamics of Natural Disaster Recovery: Evidence from Southeast Texas (SETX)

    Investigators: Dr. Agim Kukeli (Lead) and Dr. Gevorg Sargsyan

    The purpose of this project is to identify factors that influence the severity of natural disasters that affect macroeconomic variables and the dynamic of recovery from such events. When a natural disaster hits a populated and industrious area all macroeconomic variables worsen. Such variables include the gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment, inflation, and effective demand for goods and services. In addition, depending on the magnitude of the damages to residential, commercial, and transportation infrastructure there are demographic changes. These demographic changes, we postulate, will have an augmented effect on macroeconomic variables. The rationale is that various parties will step in with help to mitigate the immediate effects of such a natural disaster. These comforting measures are followed by compensation from insurance companies for residents and businesses that have had an insurance policy. Other government institutions and not-for-profit entities may step in with additional help to the neediest affected households. Due to major disruptions in economic activity, the production of goods and services declines sharply right after the natural disaster. Such disruption causes a decline in the level of employment. Due to disruptions in economic activity and damages to logistics and transportation infrastructure, a shortage of certain goods and services may occur, and this contributes to an increase in the prices of goods and services. The study will aim at identifying factors that influence the depths of worsening of macroeconomic variables due to a natural disaster. Second, the study will identify the factors that influence the persistence of the effect of natural disasters on the economy. Third, it will estimate the speed of recovery. Finally, it will propose policy prescriptions and help government entities, households, and businesses to make sound decisions based on data and data analysis. These findings and prescriptions will speed the recovery process from natural disasters. In addition, this study will shed light on the sustainable growth of the areas affected and aid the process of preparedness and risk mitigation.

Arts and Sciences

  • Local Government Resilience in Southeast Texas and on the Gulf Coast

    Investigators: Dr. Brian Williams (Lead) and Dr. Brendan Gillis

    This project seeks to better understand resilience in the Southeast Texas region as well as across the Gulf coast from Texas to Florida. Dombrowsky (1998) reminds us that, “it must be foolishness or madness to intervene in systems that people depend on without knowing how the systems work” (29). Therefore, the creation of a Center for Resilience to serve the Southeast Texas region requires an understanding of the historical resilience of the area as well as how the area defines and perceives resilience in the face of disaster. To accomplish this goal, this project is completed by collecting event related documents in the Southeast Texas region and conducting survey research across the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. A historical analysis of the South East Texas Region is accomplished through an analysis of archived state documents related to declared disasters in the Southeast Texas Region. This portion of the project is conducted in conjunction with data collection efforts through a collaboration between the Political Science and History departments. Concurrent with the collection of archival documents, a survey is conducted of local governments across the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. The goal is to identify how local governments in the Gulf Coast perceive and define resilience for their area of jurisdiction. All archival documents, and survey research findings are stored in a knowledge repository at Lamar University. This project also explores the creation of a mobile application that can be used by emergency management professionals in real time to access archived data from the knowledge repository to help solve the problems they face in maintaining a resilient community and reduce the effects of disaster on the community.
  • Data analytics and prediction for newly installed weather stations

    Investigator: Dr. Stefan Andrei

    The Golden Triangle has been hit hard by many storms in the past 200 years. This research project has the main objective to collect as many data as available and use them for the benefit of the Golden Triangle community. The project includes installing two weather stations which will collect and send the data every 15 minutes to a LU server. These data will be then analyzed and processed to check the expected weather patterns and potentially discover new weather patterns about this area. In more details, to implement this promising idea, this project has three main phases:

    1. Installation of two weather stations able to measure ultrasonic anemometer that is more sensitive to changes in wind speed, as well as measure the wind direction.
    2. Data collection and analysis of wind speed and angle, temperature, and other weather-related data. All these data will be used to predict the weather inclement future events as well as determining patterns.
    3. Designing a webpage with the findings, compliant with the Data Management Plan of the Center for Resilience.


    We strongly believe that the Golden Triangle Community may benefit from this research idea. We intend to consider installing the weather stations in other locations in the area.

  • Recovery and Resilience Academy

    Investigators: Dr. Chiung Fang Chang (Lead), Dr. Jennifer Fagen, Dr. Margot Gage, Dr. Brad Harden, Dr. Jesus Garcia


    The Recovery and Resilience Academy will focus on education, community outreach, and research that is geared towards assisting the local community as well as Lamar University students during the pandemic and/or a natural disaster. This work will be done using a multi-disciplinary collaborative approach.

    We intend to expand our research efforts while also partnering with several academic programs at Lamar University and non-academic local professionals to address unequal healthcare distribution and disparate prevalence of ill health in Southeast Texas. The proposed project aims to expand existing efforts already taking place by:

    1. Providing free education and awareness programs of interest to the community. Including those related to hidden illnesses such as (long COVID-19, Lyme disease, ME/CFS), chronic illnesses (i.e., diabetes and asthma), and family health & wellness.
    2. Developing virtual and printing information that addresses medical issues of social inequality--especially for those in at-risk groups.
    3. Expanding the already established LU student virtual emotional support group to local communities via popular social media.
    4. Develop field research involving students to assess the outcome of effectiveness for the academy program. The pre- and post-tests will be assessed for each event and program delivery. Additionally, the methods of focus group and interview survey will be conducted to assess the community needs and development.
    5. Present the research outcome at the professional conference meetings and submit it for future publications.


    The virtual panel of education programs will be developed and hosted in February, March, and April of 2022 in several local communities for reaching out.

  • PRIME: Partnerships for Resilience Interventions and Mental Health Effectiveness – CoAS section

    Investigator: Dr. Ginger Gummelt

    The master’s degree program in Counseling and the bachelor’s degree program in Social Work are seeking funding to increase the training and utilization of a trauma-informed interdisciplinary team approach to behavioral health care and resiliency skills for child and adolescent mental health in vulnerable and medically underserved communities. The Counseling and Social Work Trainees will focus on trauma care and behavioral health, specifically referred to as PRIME, or Partnerships for Resilience Interventions and Mental Health Effectiveness. This program will train and place candidates in the Counseling and Social Work Programs in behavioral health internships. The program will also take the unique approach for advocacy work with the families for services that benefit the support system and resiliency of children, adolescents, and transitioning youth post-disaster.

  • No Visitors: Family perceptions of separation from hospitalized loved ones

    Investigators: Dr. Stacey Knight (Lead), Dr. Ruthie Robinson, and Dr. Cynthia Stinson 

    Individuals who have experienced separation from hospitalized family members due to the “no visitor policies” during the Covid-19 pandemic will be asked to participate in this qualitative study to elicit their perceptions. Potential participants will be recruited through personal contacts and referrals. Interviews will be conducted by the investigators at a time and a place convenient to the participants. This may be over the telephone or via Zoom. A PI developed interview guide will be used. Interviews will be audiotaped and transcribed by the investigators. Using the Colaizzi method of analysis, themes will be derived.

  • The effect of catastrophic river flooding on the brackish water clam, Rangia cuneata, in the lower Neches River

    Investigators: Dr. Matthew Pyne (Lead) and Dr. Ana Christensen

    Rangia cuneata is a brackish water clam found in estuarine ecosystems and is an important part of the aquatic community. Locally, it is found in Sabine Lake and in the Neches River north of I-10. It is extremely abundant where it occurs, often accounting for 95% or more of the community biomass. In 2016, we conducted a survey of rangia beds above and below the salt water barrier to determine the effect of the barrier on historical rangia populations. The barrier cut off salt water intrusions, which flow up the river from the Sabine Lake estuary and are needed for the clam’s reproductive cycle, causing rangia clam beds to go extinct upstream of the barrier. The clam beds downstream of the barrier, however, were completely dominated by rangia with clam densities up to 86 clams per m2. Since our 2016 study, the Neches River has flooded 9 times, including the unprecedent flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, record-breaking freezing temperatures occurred in February 2021. While the effect of low flows and high salinity on rangia clams are well understood, the effect of flooding and freezing events on this important species is not well known. The goal of this project is to revisit the clam beds downstream of the salt water barrier and assess the effect of flooding and freezing on rangia. We will survey the rangia populations to determine how clam density and individual clam age have changed in the last 5 years. We will also compare the genetic structure of Neches River clams to the clams in Sabine Lake to determine if the river clams are genetically isolated from the estuary clams.

  • Real-Time Waterborne Pathogen Detection with Mobile Electronics

    Investigator: Dr. Ian Lian

    Pathogen detection in water samples, without complex and time consuming procedures such as fluorescent-labeling or culture-based incubation, is essential to public safety. We propose a design to be integrated with the common mobile electronics to achieve two key features: (a) High performance detection: a microfabricated lens is used to form a narrow beam scanning to produce a dark-field optical scattering image of an object of interest that overlays with the bright-field image produced by the same CMOS image sensor (b) Simplified sample preparation: use of capillary-driven microfluidics integrated with latex immuoagglutination approach, which offers high specificity and sensitivity, for cost-effective and rapid detection of pathogen levels from water or liquid samples.

  • Tunable Laser Imaging for the Detection of Methane Leaks in Soils

    Investigators: Dr. Philip Cole (Lead) and Dr. Jim Jordan

    We seek to identify and quantify methane leaks remotely and empirically understand the fluid dynamics of methane leakage through various soils, which then may exit into the atmosphere. In the statewide freeze in the second week of February 2021, there were catastrophic power failures across Texas due to interruptions in the natural gas supply chain. “Nearly 4 million Texas customers—representing more than 11 million people—lost power during the Arctic blast” (see: Dallas Fed Economics). Clearly maintaining the natural gas infrastructure is within the mission of the Center for Resiliency by maintaining the power grid and thereby keeping Texans from freezing to death. We seek to build upon the research project titled Detection of Methane Leaks in Soils awarded from the Center for Midstream Management and Science (Sept 1, 2021 – Aug. 31, 2022) in adapting novel and innovative methane-detection technologies for solving challenges faced by the petroleum industry in the midstream arena.

    We will build at least ten 3’ modules for circulating the methane under differing flow rates. These modules will be built of industrial-standard pipes and fittings used for midstream applications. Each module will have 1” diameter piping for input and output for circulating the methane gas. We will drill one hole per module to simulate a point of leakage in the pipe for the methane. We will need to excavate a trench to at least a depth of 4 feet and 12 feet in length, into which we will place the modules. We will cover the modules in three types of soil, which will need to be packed down. To check for leaks, we will use the PHX42 Flame Ionization Detector (FID) as the “methane sniffer” to insure that all modules and ancillary feedthroughs are gas tight. We must adhere to Method 21 of the EPA for our initial tests as that is the industry standard. We will further make use of the FID to readily identify methane leaks from the packed earth. We will couple these FID measurements with optical gas imaging (OGI) from the infrared cameras through Tunable Laser Imaging for the Detection of Methane Leaks in Soils. Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometer (TDLAS), which are purchasing through the Center for Resiliency, can be mounted on a tripod. We will therefore have a redundant system of methane identification from the points of exit into the atmosphere. Ultimately, we will use the TDLAS as the primary identification tool once we have conducted all the necessary cross checks. We expect that the use of the TDLAS will be transformative towards leak detection of methane from buried pipes and will form the cornerstone of future resiliency studies.

  • Increased Risk of Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease After a Disaster

    Investigators: Dr. Maryam Vasefi (Lead), Dr. Kami Maki, Dr. Stacey Knight, Dr. Ginger Gummelt, and Sommer Shackelford


    The stress of the hurricane can bring on anxiety and depression that show up as memory loss for the first time in adults specifically in older adults. In addition, the stress and changes associated with hurricane aftermath may lead to depression and/or anxiety in people already diagnosed with dementia. This comorbidity can cause a rapid decline in functioning for these patients and can cause the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the stress of the hurricane might (1) make signs of memory loss and dementia noticeable for the first time, or it might (2) make memory problems associated with dementia worse. For that reason, we investigate changes in the decline of memory after the hurricane and compare it to typical rates of decline of memory to see if communities should prepare for a greater need for memory care after a hurricane.


    The project will be completed in the following three stages:

    Stage 1 - Theoretical research and collection of related data

    Stage 2 - Implementation of different data mining techniques for analyzing data and producing results as stated in the Methodology

    Stage 3 - Report writing and dissemination of results in scientific communities.


    Community-based research will be conducted to identify factors that were associated with those who had the slowest rate of decline and to improve adaptive skills and promote community resilience to disaster. (1) Community background research including historical, geographical, and culture will be investigated. (2) The sampling will comprise of those who experienced a disaster and were diagnosed with mild cognitive implements before or after a disaster (prospective data). (3) Data will be collected through prospective research data, medical records of the patients with mild cognitive impairments, and an informal interview regarding community disaster preparedness. (4) Data will be assessed using qualitative and quantitative measures. (5) Intervention for disaster resilience will be generated regarding cognitive decline progression.


    Data mining techniques are widely used for the prediction of a variety of chronic and progressive diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. The capability of identifying risk factors is very critical since it affects the progression of cognitive decline and has enormous effects on the quality of life of the adult population. The outcome of this project will be beneficial for people's mental health and will suggest planning studies intended to reduce disaster impacts and community resiliency.

  • Preliminary Assessment of Coastal Marsh Blue Carbon Potential Pre- and Post- BUDM Restoration to Incentivize Industry Actions for Resilient Coasts

    Investigators: Dr. Matthew Hoch (Lead) and Dr. Reda Amer 

    Coastal marshes are a critical defense against the destructive forces and flooding of tropical storms, and their high primary productivity and habitats support wildlife and fisheries of economic and cultural value. However, those of the SETX Chenier Plain experience subsidence, leading to dieback of marsh vegetation and conversion to open water, which diminishes their effectiveness in protecting coastal communities. Beneficial use of dredge material (BUDM) restoration results in elevating land and reestablishing vegetation productivity and coastal protection. BUDM restoration is expensive and a Blue Carbon Economy with greenhouse gas emission cap and trade policies can create incentives for greater industry participation in offsetting restoration costs to coastal communities while increasing their resiliency. Blue Carbon Potential (BCP) is the net long-term storage of atmospheric CO2 in coastal sediments which is calculated as net primary production (NPP) of vegetation minus sediment emissions of CO2 and CH4 from microbial respiration and methanogenesis, respectively. Methane emission from coastal marshes maybe greater at subsiding sites with vegetation dieback in SETX Chenier Plain marshes based on the greater relative abundance of methanogens than at healthy and BUDM restored sites. Methane levels in sediments and methane emission to the atmosphere are being measured in SETX to test if BUDM restoration not only increases BCP by increasing vegetation NPP but also by reducing marsh emissions of CH4, a result that could increase the incentive for industry to participate in BUDM restoration for coastal resiliency.

  • LamarStrong: A Resiliency Reader

    Investigators: Dr. Adam Nemmers (Lead) and Theresa Ener

     It is no secret that Lamar and Southeast Texas have faced a good deal of tumult and trauma in recent years; in equal measure, however, have we proved ourselves resilient as we rebuilt ourselves and our communities, ever stronger for the struggle. Many in the community have engaging and interesting perspectives and experiences that warrant public dissemination, discourse, and study. To this end, my editorial team and I foresee soliciting and receiving written work from Lamar (Beaumont, Orange, and Port Arthur) students, staff, and faculty, including poetry, prose, scholarly essays, memoir, and other assorted works. Topics can personal or abstract, academic or creative, and will deal with natural disasters, setbacks, personal crises, tales of triumph, and more. In the process, we will be seeking to partner with Lamar University Literary Press for production of the volume; sourcing community design of the cover and design; offering monetary prizes for the most outstanding work in each category; and holding a book release ceremony and public reading to celebrate and commemorate our work. We hope the publication of this volume will be a boon to the Lamar/ SETX community, and furthermore will serve as a valuable resource for the Center for Resilience for years to come.

  • Developing Spectroscopic Methods for Identifying and Quantifying Organic and Inorganic Toxins

    Investigators: Dr. Suying Wei (Lead), Dr. Perumalreddy Chandrasekara, Dr. Ozge Gunaydin-Sen, and Dr. Sylvestre Twagirayezu

    Hurricanes and massive rainstorms have caused unprecedented chemical disasters in the Southeast Texas (SETX) community. As rising floodwater moves through industrial sites, as well as other relevant enterprises it becomes a toxic brew that mobilizes oil, sewage, heavy metals, and carcinogenic chemicals—a harmful pool of contamination that spreads to nearby communities. The foremost challenge in preventing and remediating toxin is identifying and quantifying them. Toxins in the environment could be present in any of the physical states and quantities, for example, a toxin at the origin could be present in higher concentration and gets diluted during flooding, similarly toxin could be in different physical state depending upon the encountering environmental condition (temperature, pH etc). In this short summer project, we will identify methods to determine organic and inorganic toxins qualitatively and quantitatively.

  • Degree Correlation in Networks: Applications for Resilience

    Investigator: Dr. Jeremy Alm (Lead), Dr. PJ Couch, Dr. Jennifer Fowler, Dr. Jose Vega-Guzman

    Many naturally occurring networks follow a power-law degree distribution. Such networks have been studied with regard to their robustness to random failure and their vulnerability to targeted attacks. Any possible degree-correlation within the network has been largely ignored. In [Alm-Mack 2018], degree-correlation was considered, with the surprising result that in the presence of sufficiently high positive correlation, a network can be more vulnerable to random failure than targeted attack. This tells us that when studying vulnerabilities of networks, degree-correlation must be considered.

    In this proposed study (Phase 1), we will add the passage of time as a factor and consider the time-evolution of power-law networks under the removal and reinstatement of nodes. This work also has application to immunization strategies in small communities, where there are not enough vaccines for everyone.

    The study of networks has application in many fields. While Phase 1 would focus on the theoretical broad term of networks, Phase 2 would aim to collaborate with other disciplines to create more practical applications. For example, by discovering the correlation structure of the networks involved in disaster response, we could help build stronger networks aimed at providing services to the populations with the greatest need. Or by collaborating with engineering, this research could lead to the development of more robust power networks.

College of Education and Human Development

  • PRIME: Partnerships for Resilience Interventions and Mental Health Effectiveness – CoEHD section

    Investigator: Dr. Rebecca Weinbaum


    The master’s degree program in Counseling and the bachelor’s degree program in Social Work are seeking funding to increase the training and utilization of a trauma-informed interdisciplinary team approach to behavioral health care and resiliency skills for child and adolescent mental health in vulnerable and medically underserved communities. The Counseling and Social Work Trainees will focus on trauma care and behavioral health, specifically referred to as PRIME, or Partnerships for Resilience Interventions and Mental Health Effectiveness. This program will train and place candidates in the Counseling and Social Work Programs in behavioral health internships. The program will also take the unique approach for advocacy work with the families for services that benefit the support system and resiliency of children, adolescents, and transitioning youth post-disaster.

  • I’m Stronger Today: Resiliency and Coping Curriculum Grades 2-5

    Investigators: Dr. Rebecca Weinbaum and Dr. Kim McGough

     This resiliency and recovery project presents a curriculum that targets grades 2-5 to address coping and resiliency during times of distress or trauma. The curriculum includes 8 lessons, intended to be conducted by a teacher or a school counselor in the areas of a) the mind body connection; b) feelings and thoughts; c) communities where I belong; and d) I'm stronger today. Schools will be given 30-40 activity books that include a pre-test and post-test to measure any changes in coping and resiliency attributes and skills as a result of the 8-week curriculum.

  • Disaster Preparedness for Non-Profit Foodservice Operations in a Multi-Disaster Region: A Case Study Approach

    Investigators: Dr. Jill Killough (Lead) and Dr. Kim Wallet

    Non-profit foodservice organizations located in the Southeast Texas region have experienced multiple disasters over the past several years. This project seeks to understand and identify factors associated with a non-profit foodservice operations ability to prepare, respond, and recover from multi-disasters. Non-profit foodservice organization directors will be invited to participate in this qualitative study. Organizations which serve a vulnerable population, such as the elderly and families with children, will be utilized as the sample. Key employees within the selected non-profit organizations will be interviewed in-person utilizing a topic guide, note taking, and audiotape. Results of the interviews will be analyzed for themes. The theme analysis will be used to develop a preparedness model for non-profit organizations. Resources for educators who prepare students to work in non-profit foodservice operations will also be developed utilizing a case study approach to assist in planning and recovering from multiple disasters. Future education and outreach needs of a non-profit foodservice organizations will be identified.

College of Engineering

  • Flood Coordination Study

    Investigator: Dr. Liv Haselbach (Lead), Dr. Nick Brake, Dr. Reda Amer, Dr. Qin Qian, Dr. Xing Wu, and Frank Sun

    The Southeast Texas Flood Coordination Study (SETx FCS) is an ongoing multi-faceted project on flood related items in SETx. Items to focus on in Year 1 include the following (1) FCS coordination which includes monthly meetings with stakeholders and other members for communication and outreach, plus select task group meetings with stakeholders that meet periodically such as a Terrain Modeling group led by the USGS and the University of Texas Austin (UT), a Communications group, a Historical Data group and a Gauge group. (2) The largest ongoing subproject is the deployment and asset management of over 80 Low Cost flood Sensors (LCS) in an eight county region. This is in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (DHS S&T). Tasks will include sensor asset management, aiding with sensor installation and technical support, and mapping high resolution elevations near sensor locations. A literature review and case study on IoT sensor acquisition and deployment, compound flood monitoring and sensor maintenance, and flood monitoring interagency communication will be completed. A survey of surrounding sensing areas will be completed to establish alert thresholds and improve public data visualization within the OneRain sensor platforms. (3) The High Frequency Radar (HFR) subproject is with an external grant from the Texas GLO under a contract from UT El Paso. High Frequency Radar networks provide near real-time surface current data that is applicable to coastal hydrodynamic characterizations and enables more: accurate modeling and assessment of pollutant fate and transport and water quality mechanisms. To fill HFRadar coverage gaps, UTEP et al. propose to commission HFR networks in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake. Lamar is assisting in Year 1 with the installation approvals and regular site inspections. (4) NOAA Flood Governance is a project through NOAA led by UT with other partners. The primary goal of their project is to understand how coastal communities perceive current and future flood hazards, and how local governance networks emerge and are shaped by climate and flood factors. Lamar is assisting with connections to the stakeholders in the SETx region and helping to map their connections. (5) Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) and Dredge studies. To understand the flood impact in Southeast Texas, the project assesses the nonpoint source pollution in the Lower Neches River and dredging issues of Port Arthur. It is a study that applies deep learning neural networks and multiply linear regression model to analysis the historical field water quality data and in-situ real-time Wireless Sensor water quality data to understand the relationship between the water quality and the runoff from the local rain events; and to develop HEC-RAS hydrodynamic and sediment transport models to predict dredging schedules at Port Arthur.
  • Multidimensional Reliability, Resiliency and Aging Modeling and Analysis of Components in Energy Systems

    Investigators: Dr. Xuejun Fan (Lead) and Dr. Mohammadreza Barzegaranbaboli

     This proposal aims to demonstrate vital needs for cross-disciplinary collaboration between different departments within the College of Engineering on the research of reliability and resiliency in energy systems. Drs. Xuejun Fan and Reza Barzegaran, from the Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, respectively, bring a diverse group of students together to identify the most substantive research questions, recognize community needs, knowledge gaps, and barriers to research progress in this area. The objective of this exploratory proposal is to develop a framework on multidimensional reliability, resiliency, and aging modeling and analysis of components in energy systems.

    Specifically, a case study will be carefully selected starting from circuit simulation and power distribution analysis. Subsequently, component-level and system-level thermal simulations will be conducted. Because circuit simulation requires component parameters, which are dependent on temperature and time due to degradation, thermal and electronic simulations are coupled with each other. Therefore, an iteration process is required. Moreover, a reliability analysis simulation will be implemented to determine the failure probability.

  • Increasing the Oil and Gas Pipeline Resiliency using Drones and Image Processing Algorithm

    Investigators: Dr. Berna Tokgoz (Lead), Dr. Jing Zhang, and Dr. Seok Hwang

    Pipeline systems are a vulnerable section of the midstream industry, posing an immediate threat to human lives, other infrastructures, and the environment. The requirement for safe operation and effective preventive maintenance of pipelines grows as oil and gas demand rises. Timely identification of possible threats and defects can reduce the potential consequences. Drones are being used to improve the efficiency of pipeline inspection from humans. Data from drones are utilized to detect possible irregularities due to various defects occurring along the pipelines. This research introduces a resilience framework discussing misalignment, deformation, missing parts, cracks, soil movement, and broken components. The potential system disturbances and their short and long-term impacts on various components are investigated for regularly expected and severe events. The outcome of this research is to improve the midstream industry, enhance pipeline maintenance, increase system resiliency, and promote environmental and public safety.

    The pipeline is the primary means of transporting oil and gas. There are currently 2.8 million miles of pipeline networks in the U.S. alone. Lack of pipeline maintenance can result in pipeline leakages, significant environmental damage, and a substantial economic loss for cleanup and restoration. Many root causes contribute to developing pipeline damage, such as cracks or fractures, on pipes and pipe joints, resulting in oil and gas leakage. Such defects broadly include corrosion, structural deterioration, and misalignment of pipes and support structures. Pipeline failures due to such issues typically result in fatal injuries or deaths, property damages, environmental pollution, and economic loss. The U.S. alone experienced 11,000 pipeline incidents resulting in 400 fatalities, 1,500 injuries, and $6.5 billion in property damages between 1996-2016. Currently, the typical inspection practice is a visual inspection conducted by third-party inspection agencies. Inspectors walk through the pre-established areas to find leaks and defects in pipes and pipe support systems, which is usually time-consuming and frequently error-prone. Inspection relying on human visual observation is greatly limited to handle the demand for monitoring and assessing the vast aging pipeline networks. The limitation presents the midstream industry difficulties in performing proper level of pipeline maintenance.


    This research focuses on continuing the work on detecting defects of small parts in the support design systems such as pipe shoes, guides, and U-bolts. Moreover, soil movements near the pipelines can further deteriorate the supporting structure by adding additional load to the pipeline design and eventually degrading individual pipes and pipe connections. This research suggests using ArcGIS data to predict soil movement near the pipelines, classify the tolerance loss level, and quantify the resiliency framework for missing, broken and cracked components.
  • Resilience Analysis and Enhancement of Power Grid during Disasters using Machine Learning-based Restoration Algorithm

    Investigator: Dr. Mohammadreza Barzegaranbaboli

    This proposal proposes a quantitative resilience measure and a machine learning-based restoration framework for power grid resilience analysis and enhancement. The power grid components will be classified into four categories and the resilience is going to be calculated for each category based on two time-dependent quality functions: number of online components and the total power of available components, in that category. A disaster scenario based on the publicly available data is going to be simulated on the Texas synthetic power grid as a case study and the resilience is evaluated in different stages of a natural/climate disaster. To enhance the power grid instantaneous and average resilience after the disaster, a machine learning-based restoration algorithm is proposed and different models including Gaussian Regression, Linear Regression, and Tree Regression models are compared together in terms of prediction error and resilience enhancement percentage. The machine learning training will be also performed for different database size including multi thousand datasets, and the corresponding resilience values are compared. The objective is to have a sensible enhancement of power grid post-disaster resilience versus the conventional non-systematic random approach.

  • Use Connected Vehicle Environments to Improve Resiliency of Transportation System in Severe Weathers 

    Investigators:  Dr. Yueqing Li (Lead), Dr. Xing Wu, and Dr. Berna Tokgoz

    Severe weather significantly impacts the driving behavior and the resilience of the transportation system. Research showed that reduced visibility from severe weather (e.g., foggy, rain, snow, hurricane) would lead to more dangerous rear-end collisions. Drivers would decrease their speed and increase their reaction time. As a result, the travel speed would go down leading to a smaller traffic flow and even a jam in severe situations. The transportation system will be less resilient and require a longer time to recover the traffic flow.

    Connected vehicle (CV) technologies enable vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, roadway infrastructure, and traffic management entities in real-time. It can give abundant and accurate information to drivers, which can help drivers make more preparations for the upcoming traffic emergency events or the changing environments of driving situations. Several studies have evaluated the impact of connected vehicle environments on driving performance in foggy weather. However, no research has investigated how connected vehicles environments could enhance the resilience of the transportation system. The study aims to investigate how connected vehicles environments can improve the resiliency of the transportation system in severe weather through driving simulation and traffic flow simulation.

    The study will perform 3 tasks:

    • Review the previous research of using connected vehicle environments to improve the resilience of transportation systems in severe weathers through literature.
    • Investigate how connected vehicle environments impact driving behaviors under severe weather through driving simulation. Car following driving scenarios in connected vehicle environments under severe weather will be programmed on the STISIM driving simulator. Vehicle operation status and warning messages will be provided to the drivers through a human-machine interface. Participants will be recruited for the experiments. Driving behavior data (average speed, headway distance, headway time, acceleration) will be collected in the control condition and the connected vehicle environments in severe weather.
    • Investigate how connected vehicle environments improve the resilience of transportation systems in severe weather through traffic flow simulation. Driving behaviors collected in Task 2 will be used to program the car following the traffic flow model on PTV VISSIM, which is a widely accepted traffic flow simulation software. Then, run the traffic flow simulation and evaluate the resilience of the transportation system in severe weather in both control conditions and connected vehicle environments.
    The research will be the first one to combine driving simulation and traffic flow simulation to evaluate the resilience of the transportation system. It shall bring both theoretical and practical contributions to the transportation resilience area."
  • RnR Corps.

    Investigator: Dr. Tracy Benson (Lead)

    In the aftermath of a natural disaster (i.e., hurricane), first responders, including police and medical personnel, are tasked with safety, security, and medical needs of those affected. Once the most immediate needs are addressed, there are whole communities that require food, water, and debris removal that are generally supported by volunteers. Volunteer organizations are vital to the efficiency and success of these efforts. This Training Program seeks to help prepare students, faculty, and staff if they wish to assist volunteer organizations in delivering essential services to affected communities. The proposed activities for Summer 2022 include building collaborations with local community and volunteer organizations and industrial leaders, purchasing supplies, and developing a training checklist.

College of Fine Arts and Communication

  • Mental Health Recommendations and Interventions for Survivors of Repeated Environmental Disasters in Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast Region

    Investigators: Andre Favors (Lead) and Christina Segura

    This study builds on current research the project authors are developing on risk negotiation, coping strategies, and the lived experiences of survivors of repeated disasters in the Southeast Texas and Upper Gulf Coast region. This project will add the findings from a Delphi Study of mental health practitioners and researchers to the current data from survivors we have collected. At the conclusion of this study, we hope to combine the perspectives of the lived experiences of participants of our previous research with the expert testimonies gathered through this research to develop a proposed set of guidelines and recommendations for mental health practitioners and others involved with disaster response efforts who work with survivors of repeated environmental disasters within our region. We then hope to disseminate and provide outreach related to the proposed guidelines and recommendations developed from this project to relevant communities within our region.

  • Success with Stories: Integration of a digital program into Head Start

    Investigators: Dr. Lekeitha Morris (Lead) and Dr. Monica Harn

    There is no way to address community resiliency from any disaster without addressing the educational needs of our most vulnerable populations including children and families from low SES backgrounds. Pandemics and natural disasters cause housing insecurity, food insecurity, healthcare insecurity, and financial insecurity at disproportionate rates on communities of color and families from low SES backgrounds. These insecurities are associated with low educational outcomes for children. These disproportionate effects mean teachers and other educational service providers must be prepared with tools to meet the needs of families and overcome the challenges faced by these families during periods when face-to-face instruction is not available.

    Success with Stories: Integration of a Digital Program into Head Start will help us understand the research processes when integrating a self-managed online program in a Head Start Center. Digital parent training programs can provide a supplement to face-face programs and reach families from low-income households and minority families. Additionally, digital programs like Success with Stories can provide an avenue to continue to educate children and support families during times when they are without face-to-face instruction. The regional location of Lamar University creates the opportunity for LU to lead the way and be a model program for how to deliver continuity of services during disaster and recovery efforts. Findings from this work will be shared with local educational stakeholders in an effort to decrease the impact of disasters on children’s academic success. Additionally, the research team is confident that the information learned from this work will provide support for external funds to further evaluate Success with Stories."

  • Enhancing Communication Response for Residents Information Program (E-CRRIP)

    Investigator: Stephan Malick

    Effective communication is a critical component for any organization or informational operation.
    The Enhanced Communication Response for Residents Information Program (E-CRRIP)
    proposal assesses the creation and implementation of effective communication practices and
    strategy shared by official responders and media outlets to the public on all aspects of the Center
    for Resiliency Planning (CfRP) outreach.
    Information strategy and management response should be designed to minimize the impact and
    influence of inaccurate information or disinformation/misinformation actors on the credibility
    and transparency in the dissemination of information for residents, economic and social
    institution’s abilities to communicate effectively during natural disaster response.
  • The impact of information on the ability of communities to build resilience in the face of extreme weather events.

    Investigators: Dr. Pratiti Diddi (Lead) and Dr. Awais Saleem

    The goal of this exploratory, qualitative research is to understand media and communication preferences
    during a weather crisis and how communication contributes to improving resilience and preparedness for
    extreme weather events. Using semi-structured interviews the study aims to answer questions about
    participants’ understanding of resilience, what community stakeholders want and need to know during a storm, and how they access help and information during the weather event.
  • Bounce Back: Artmaking and Resiliency

    Investigators: Donna Meeks (Lead), Xenia Fedorchenko, Dr. Joana Hyatt

    Bounce Back: Artmaking and Resiliency re-envisions current departmental community outreach programming by engaging area art educators in curriculum construction and area high school students in artmaking strategies that explore issues of resiliency, rebuilding, and response to broader social concerns such as the pandemic, climate change, and social justice. The program includes a summer high school art camp culminating in a pop-up exhibition, a secondary and post-secondary juried area art educator’s exhibition, both in the Dishman Art Museum, development of exhibition guides, and two in-service workshops for Region 5 art educators. Lamar University Department of Art & Design upper division students will be engaged in all aspects of the program including design of exhibition tour guides.

    Dr. Joana Hyatt, Associate Professor of Art Education, will connect this project to current art education curriculum and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) research with an area art teacher’s exhibition, Bounce Back: Artmaking and Resiliency, scheduled in the Dishman Art Museum July 19th through August 6th, and a summer high school art camp scheduled for July 11th through the 15th including a pop-up exhibition on July 15th in the Dishman Art Museum. The five day Summer Art Camp experience will explore themes of resilience and be thematically organized using a SEAL (social-emotional artistic learning) focus. The juried area art educator’s exhibition will be used to further the exploration of resiliency and related themes through art. Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) seeks to promote an understanding of self-awareness, an ability to process experiences, to understand others, and make responsible decisions. When art is added to social-emotional learning practices, SEAL based instruction promotes the creative act of making and analyzing art from multiple perspectives. Continuing a SEAL focus, two In-Service workshops will explore Professor Lois Hetland’s Eight Studio Habits of developing craft, engage and persist, envision, express, observe, reflect, stretch and explore, and understand art world. The 6 hour workshops will be offered on July 7th and 8th. All In-Service workshop participants will be encouraged to submit works including those created in the workshops.

    Professor Donna M Meeks, Painting and Drawing, will present an In-Service workshop Discovery and Surprise, as an exploration of Hetland’s envision and express through the use of an online AI image generator to rapidly generate surprising visual ideas using acrylic paint on canvas. Participants will be asked to abstract a composition from a generated imagery and explore painting technique and color palette to establish mood and content. Finished artworks may be image based, abstract or non-objective expressions of personal experience and recovery in Southeast Texas.

    Associate Professor Xenia Fedorchenko, Printmaking and Drawing, will present an In-Service workshop Marked and ReMarked, as an exploration of Hetland’s express and stretch and explore through the rapid processing of visual ideas using the techniques of frottage, collage, simple relief and stencil printing. Through play and experimentation, workshop participants will be asked to capitalize on visual mistakes and explore personal narratives about experience and recovery in Southeast Texas. Finished artworks may incorporate found and collected imagery, materials and objects to develop surfaces of complex marks and meanings.

    Click here for photos of the exhibit.