March 20, 2009

Carol Friedland, MS, PE, a doctoral student in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) and an instructor in the Department of Construction Management and Industrial Engineering (CMIE) at LSU, was awarded the State Farm Companies Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Award for her work on storm surge damage of residential buildings. Marc Levitan, LSU Hurricane Center Director, Charles P. Siess Jr. professor, and associate professor of CEE serves as Friedland’s dissertation advisor. As one of this year’s award recipients, Friedland will receive a $10,000 research grant. LSU will also receive a $3,000 maturity grant.

Friedland developed an academic interest in the modeling of storm surge damage to residential buildings after witnessing the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge damage to residential buildings. She will also explore management of large datasets for validation studies, investigation of the suitability of remote sensing for storm surge damage detection, and the development of an analytical damage model framework that would be used to estimate storm surge damage to buildings. Friedland and a team of other researchers from the LSU Hurricane Center have collected a vast amount of field data on housing damage during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike to support her research.

Friedland holds a BS degree in civil engineering with honors from the University of Wyoming and a MS degree in civil engineering from LSU. She is scheduled to complete her PhD degree requirements by spring of 2009.

The State Farm Companies Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1963 and funded by the State Farm Mutual Company. According to its website, “the Doctoral Dissertation Award is designed to stimulate research and development of new knowledge in the fields of insurance and business, and to increase the number of qualified teachers of insurance and business at U.S. colleges and universities.” Generally, up to three awards are given annually in each of the two fields. Winners are selected by an independent committee of scholars based on academic achievement, quality of the dissertation proposal, and recommendations from the dissertation advisor and faculty members.

Article excerpted from December 2008 Civil and Environmental Engineering Newsletter, Julie Mueller, 225-578-9170,


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