December 1, 2011

Civil Engineering Doctoral Student Wraps Up Pepsi Grant, Hopes to Leave Legacy 

It’s always been Stuart Adams’ nature to give back to the community. So when Pepsi’s Refresh Projects launched the month-long social media contest after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, “Do Good for the Gulf,” Adams went to work.

As an undergraduate student, Adams’ family home was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina. And having personally experienced the University Recreation Center’s gym being closed for an extended period of time after Hurricane Gustav, Adams realized the impact these types of closures could have on schools – more specifically elementary and high schools.

“I grew up here, and it’s my duty to give back,” Adams said. “Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav were definitely learning experiences for me and have guided my research interests.” 

Adams’ proposal sought to help K-12 schools implement hazard mitigation strategies, minimize school closure time following hurricanes, and educate students on hurricane mitigation techniques. Pepsi awarded Adams one of the $25,000 grants to put his plan in action.

For the past year, Adams has worked diligently to bring new technology to the University and community, host engaging educational sessions at local schools, including Parkview Baptist and Baker High School, and prepare the LaHouse to give his demonstrations for future field trips.

One of the purchases Adams made with the grant money was for an unmanned aerial vehicle – or in laymen’s terms a research-quality remote control helicopter. The UAV allowed Adams to take aerial photography of the schools he visited to assess potential hazards.

Although Adams research grant concluded in September, he hopes that its legacy will continue.

“Pepsi enabled me to continue doing what I like to do—hurricane research and community outreach. The grant allowed me to get involved with the community and see firsthand kids being excited about my research,” Adams said. “The grant has also given me access to tools that will help me to continue my research.”


For more information, contact Cassie Arceneaux, College of Engineering, or (225) 578-0092.

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