UNO research get oil spill awards

Two University of New Orleans-led research projects have received nearly $650,000 from money related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the school announced.

The money was awarded during the first round of Louisiana’s RESTORE Act Center of Excellence grant process. The money comes from fines and penalties levied in the wake of the spill.

Mark Kulp, an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, will lead a research project, which received a $349,000 grant, to map faults in the Mississippi River delta.

A research group led by Marla Nelson, an associate professor of planning and urban studies, will get $295,000 to design an effective and equitable relocation policy for people in Terrebonne Parish.

Both projects relate directly to the implementation of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.

Kulp’s research project will use shallow, high-resolution and deep seismic data and sediment coring to evaluate faults in the Mississippi River Delta Plain. Researchers will study northern Terrebonne-Timbalier Bay; Bayou Lafourche, near Golden Meadow; and the Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne areas to better understand the vertical motion of land surfaces. The scientists will use seismic data donated by the hydrocarbon industry to map fault trends.

Kulp is joined on the project by Nancye Dawers, of Tulane University; John Lopez, of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation; and others.

Nelson’s project will identify the opportunities and challenges in designing a relocation policy for Terrebonne Parish that retains traditional communities while reducing risk. The team plans to interview residents about their concerns and priorities regarding the role of government in helping them relocate, should they decide to move farther inland.

Nelson’s collaborators include Tracie Birch, of the Coastal Sustainability Studio; Anna Brand, of UNO’s Department of Planning and Urban Studies; and Tara Lambeth, of UNO’s Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology.

Sixty-one proposals for research and collaborative awards were submitted to the Center of Excellence; seven were selected for funding. Experts from within Louisiana and around the country evaluated each proposal.

LSU nursing program seeking applicants 

The LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing is accepting applications for fall enrollment in its Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program.

Students who complete the program will graduate with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

The application deadline is July 24.

The program consists of 94 credit hours and prepares graduates to attain certification as psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. It trains students for an evidence-based nursing practice in a variety of settings.

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners can assess, diagnose and treat individuals with psychiatric disorders. Areas of specialty include child and adolescent mental health nursing, gerontological-psychiatric nursing, forensics and substance use disorders, among others.

The LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing is the only nursing school in Louisiana within an academic health sciences center.

For questions about the program, contact the director of the Office of Student Affairs, Tracie Gravolet, at (504) 568-4114 or

Tulane's Upward Bound program gets grant

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Tulane University’s Upward Bound program two grants totaling $2.5 million, doubling the size of the program that facilitates and supports college readiness and access for first-generation college students.

The grants, which will be distributed over the next five years, will be used to expand participation beginning with the 2017-18 academic year.

Upward Bound is part of the College and Career Success initiatives at the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives. It provides year-round services intended to prepare students academically, socially and financially for success in college and beyond.

Participating high school students receive academic tutoring, career exploration, personal counseling, assistance applying for financial aid, ACT workshops, college prep courses, regional and national college exploration trips and leadership development.

Participants commit to the program until high school graduation and participate in a six-week summer program and an academic-year component that includes weekly tutoring and a Saturday academy.

Upward Bound has a 100 percent high school graduation rate and an 88 percent college persistence rate, meaning the students return for their sophomore year, well above local and national averages.

Nationally, the college persistence rate for the nation’s most disadvantaged students is 9 percent, according to Tulane officials.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.