Oct. 15, 2007
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Professor receives grant to head drought workshop in Nigeria
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Abigail Amissah-Arthur, a geography faculty member at Slippery Rock University, has received a $53,400 grant from the National Science Foundation to organize and lead a multidisciplinary workshop on drought management in Nigeria Nov. 13-16.
SRU students Brittany Ryhal, a geography major from New Castle, and Laura Wiencek, a history major from Mercer, will participate in the workshop.
The "U.S.-Nigeria International Workshop: Strategies for Managing Drought Using Climate Forecast and Local Knowledge" will bring more than 30 U.S., European and African climate scientists, geographers, hydrologists and anthropologists together.
"The overall goal of the workshop is to draw upon the complementary expertise of international scientists in order to generate integrated models of drought management that capture the environmental and social complexities associated with frequent drought," Amissah-Arthur said. "We can't prevent drought because it's a natural occurrence, but we can manage it, especially the impact on people."
Scientists at the workshop will include those who participated in the Geological Society of America's recent publication "Managing Drought and Water Scarcity in Vulnerable Environments - A Roadmap for Change in the United States."
"This workshop represents a significant beginning for developing a multidisciplinary, human-impact model that can be extended to address very different environmental and social conditions at local, national and international levels," she said.
Amissah-Arthur invited the SRU students to participate after they took her "Africa" class.
"They're very much interested in issues related to Africa and wanted to go," she said. "Introducing these early career undergraduate students to leading international researchers in the environment and social science communities will help foster greater interest in the sciences."
"I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to go over to Nigeria, because it will give me a chance to learn about a different culture and climates in Africa," Ryhal said.
"It's a great opportunity. What we're trying to do is bring the social, economic and cultural factors together so we can minimize the impact of drought," Wiencek said.
Amissah-Arthur, an expert on climate impacts, joined SRU five years ago. Her specialties include climatology, geographic information systems and Africa. Before coming to SRU, she was a research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate Predictions at Columbia University.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.