Ellen Kujawa, a current student on the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management programme, is one of nine recipients to be awarded a 2020 Science Policy Fellowship on the United States' National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Gulf Research Program (GRP), which seeks to benefit Gulf Coast communities and ecosystems.
Ellen has been paired with a non-profit host organisation, the Data Center, in New Orleans, Louisiana, which focuses on democratising data and answering pressing policy questions on disaster recovery, coastal migration, racial disparity indicators, and regional economic analysis.
The focus of Ellen's MSc dissertation has been to quantify equity in policy implementation by examining the United States' emergency response to floods. Specifically, her work has focused on whether a community's racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic composition helps to determine the scale of federal aid allocated to residents after a flood. She's sourced flood response records through a Freedom of Information Act request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and combined the data with community composition from the U.S. Census, modelling relationships between affected areas and the immediate and longer-term aid they received from FEMA.
Having had academic and professional experiences in both the northeast and midwest, Ellen is looking forward to exploring further questions of equity in policy implementation in a new region of the United States through the fellowship programme. She hopes to begin doctoral study after her fellowship year concludes.