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After the Spill: A Dialogue Between Students & Policymakers

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Conference at a glance
  • The 6th Annual Roosevelt @ UGA Conference will be held on April 8th-9th, 2011 at The University of Georgia Campus.
  • Students will explore solutions to man-made environmental disasters side by side with experts, policymakers, and fellow students.
  • Housing accommodations will be provided for out of town visitors.
  • All programming will occur at the Zell B. Miller Learning Center 
Register for the conference here!

What is "After the SpIL: A Dialogue between Students and Policymakers?"

The University of Georgia chapter of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network is pleased to announce its sixth annual conference, After the Spill: A Dialogue Between Students and Policymakers. The conference is April 8-9, 2011, at the UGA campus in Athens, GA.

After the Spill will add a student voice to the conversation about emergency preparedness for human-made environmental disasters. Using the Deepwater Horizon oil explosion as the focal point for discussion, experts and students will present side-byside on key policy issues within environmental disaster science, emergency relief strategy, and claims resolution process. Discussion from the conference will culminate in a journal presenting expert reflections on the Deepwater Horizon disaster, student research, and conclusions from conference deliberations.

The conference stems from efforts by members of the UGA chapter to investigate policy responses to incidents like the Deepwater Horizon explosion. This initiative included a trip to the Gulf Coast to meet with stakeholders highly involved during the cleanup efforts and subsequent claims process. Conference participants will have the opportunity to reflect on findings from their grassroots research and formulate a much-lacking youth contribution to the national dialogue about preparing for human-made environmental disasters.


Guest Speakers

Billy Nungesser, Parish President, Plaquemines Parish Louisiana
President Nungesser is currently serving his second term as President of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. During the Deepwater Horizon spill, President Nungesser was a prominent player in the response efforts, appearing on CNN alongside Anderson Cooper, among other media coverage. President Nungesser serves on the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, a twenty-member group tasked with developing a master plan on costal protection for the state. During his time as parish president, he has also received accolades for his focus on hurricane preparedness and recovery. Prior to entering elected office, President Nungesser established General Marine Leasing Company, served as chairman for the Plaquemines Parish United Way, and served on the board of Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry.

Joseph Montoya, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. Montoya is a professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. His research works at the interface between biological oceanography and biogeochemistry, with a strong focus on the role of nitrogen cycle processes in structuring the flow of biomass and energy through marine ecosystems. Dr. Montoya did fieldwork in the Gulf of Mexico, producing data on the disaster as the crisis evolved.
Albert ‘Rusty’ Gaude, Marine Agent, LSU AgCenter Sea Grant Extension Project
Rusty Gaude is the easternmost of the Louisiana Sea Grant agents, concentrating his efforts on Plaquemines, St. Bernard and Orleans parishes. Although his historical area of expertise is global warm water aquaculture, he currently is involved in primarily Mississippi River-driven issues such as coastal restoration, wild fisheries (finfish and shellfish), and freshwater reintroductions into the surrounding marshes. He sees his chief focus in developing underutilized opportunities of the unique situation provided by the dynamic conditions of the lower Mississippi River. Rusty worked extensively with minority fishing populations to assist them with navigating the claims process following the Deepwater Horizon disaster
Dr. Terry Hazen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Terry Hazen is a microbial ecologist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he heads both the Ecology Department and the Center for Environmental Biotechnology. In addition he is a principal investigator with both the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the Energy Biosciences Institute, where he spearheads the search for new microbes and their organic-degrading enzymes in Puerto Rican rain forests and petroleum reservoirs. When a deepwater oil plume was formed in the aftermath of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico this past summer, Terry Hazen led a team that was able to directly study the microbial activity within the oil plume. His report that the oil had been degraded to virtually undetectable levels within a few weeks after the damaged wellhead was finally sealed made headlines across the country.

Dr. Will Duncan, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Biography forthcoming
Dr. Samantha Joye, Professor of Marine Science, The University of Georgia
Dr. Samantha Joye is the UGA Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in the department of marine sciences in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She is an expert in biogeochemistry and microbial ecology and works in open ocean and coastal ecosystems. Her work is interdisciplinary, bridging the fields of chemistry, microbiology and geology. Dr. Joye has been studying natural seepage of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico for fifteen years. Her current research in the Gulf oil spill zone is documenting the distribution of deepwater plumes of oil, measuring the activities of microbes breaking down the oil, and assessing other variables such as dissolved oxygen concentration and other environmental impacts of the spill. She was among the first to document weathered oil on the seafloor and is continuing to study its impact on the Gulf system.


See the complete agenda here


During the Fall 2010 term, a group of student researchers traveled to the Gulf Region and compilied a state-by-state analysis of the spill’s repercussions, making use of quantitative measures of the economic and environmental outcomes, to facilitate cross-state comparison. The trip to the Gulf resulted in a deeper understanding of residents' needs, which was documented in their blog.

After the Spill Info Sheet.pdf12.91 KB
Call For Submissions.pdf47.4 KB
After the Spill Agenda.pdf15.78 KB
SpillAgenda.pdf15.78 KB
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