(August 24, 2017) --

Steve Dykstra draws in the sand to explain the geomorphology of Dauphin Island.

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab campus hosted 45 graduate, post-doctoral, and early career professionals for the Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers Conference of the Americas between August 21 to the 23. 

The 4th annual international conference brought young researchers and engineers together from North America, Latin America, and South America. It's a chance for them to collaborate and receive feedback on communication and presentation skills. 

“We created this conference to be where young folks in coastal science and engineering can go to a venue where maybe there's a little less intimidation to present preliminary work, and mostly for a networking aspect to meet the coastal scientists and engineers that they might be working with for the next 20 or 30 years,” conference organizer and developer Jack Puleo said. 

Puleo is a professor at the University of Delaware in the Center for Applied Coastal Research. He brought six students from the University of Delaware for the conference. 

Each participant delivered a twelve-minute presentation followed by a three-minute question and answer session. The format is the same as the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting to be held in New Orleans this December. The AGU Fall Meeting is one of the largest science conferences held in the world.

Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski presents his talk on the impacts of river discharge ont he environment.

Along with their presentations, the participants heard from four keynote speakers well known in the field and industry. Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dr. Stephanie Smallegen with the University of South Alabama, Hilary Stockdon with the U.S. Geological Survey, and Scott Douglas with South Coast Engineers.

In addition to the keynote speakers, presentations, and networking events, the group got a closer look at Dauphin Island with a geomorphology led by DISL graduate students Steve Dykstra and Cy Clemo.

“I feel a lot more confident presenting my research and communicating my research after giving a presentation here at this conference,” University of West Florida undergraduate Ty Briggs said. “Everyone at this conference was really informative and willing to lend a hand, and let me know about how things are in the industry and give advice about grad school and just furthering my education.”

The conference is made possible by several sponsors including RBR, Nortek USA, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, Michael Baker International, VTI, Mott MacDonald, and Baird.