Jennifer Wehof ‘13 Honored for Contributions to Coastal Science

10/8/2012

Jennifer Wehof '13 of Stevens received the Student Educational Award from American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA). The award is given annually to a student whose research furthers the state of coastal science.

Wehof’s award-winning paper, “Application of the storm erosion index for predicting erosion due to increased waves and water levels,” applies a storm erosion index to data from Duck, N.C. to see if it correctly predicts beach erosion from both hurricanes and northeasters. The ongoing research project may result in the index becoming more widely used to categorize storms that cause coastal damage.

As the award winner, Wehof is invited to present her findings at the 2012 National Coastal Conference, the ASBPA annual meeting to be held Oct. 9-12, 2012 in San Diego. Additionally, her research paper will be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue of Shore & Beach, the ASBPA’s technical journal.

Wehof is the first-ever undergraduate student to win the award and the fifth Stevens recipient in the past ten years.

“I put a lot of work into my research and even though it is not complete yet, I was still able to draw some conclusions from the work I have done so far,” Wehof said. “I am really excited to be presenting my work at the conference and also looking forward to the opportunity of meeting a lot of professionals and graduate students.”

An Environmental Engineering major pursuing her B.E. and M.E., Wehof has been involved in many activities to support the mission of the ASBPA – to preserve, protect and enhance the nation’s beaches, shores and other coastal resources. She has been part of the Stevens Summer Scholars program since her freshman year, working with the Stevens Center for Maritime Systems on a variety of coastal project and accompanying staff researchers on field work. Some of her projects included monitoring beach nourishment in Long Branch, N.J. and understanding the damage of winter storms on beach communities.

Wehof – a Cooperative Education student – also spent this summer in the Netherlands working for UNESCO-IHE, the largest water education facility in the world. There, she modeled shoreline changes on coastal inlets from sea level rise and changes in precipitation and runoff, and explored the relationship between wave properties and beach recovery time after a storm.

Wehof is also member of the Stevens student chapter of the ASBPA, the first student chapter ever established at the collegiate level. The professional organization enables members to network with other scientists and engineers in the ocean and coastal communities, learn about advances in the field, and conduct coastal projects, education and outreach activities, such as beach clean ups.

Three other Stevens students – Omar Lopez, Liz Livermont and Spicer Bak – were also selected to present papers at the annual conference. Stevens ASBPA President Andrew Rella will also attend and represented the university at the ASBPA Board of Directors meeting.