The 5th Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers Conference – Americas was held at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Yucatán Campus from November 9-11, 2018. Alec Torres-Freyermuth (UNAM), the Local Organizing Committee, and Jack Puleo (University of Delaware) organized the event to provide a non-intimidating environment for young coastal scientists and engineers to present their research. There were numerous opportunities throughout the conference for participants to develop connections with peers, including a visit to Uxmal Mayan ruins.
Torres-Freyermuth and Puleo provided brief opening remarks related to the major goals of the conference. YCSEC-A 2018 had four keynote presentations from distinguished leaders in the field of coastal engineering: Tim Janssen, Spoondrift; Maitane Olabarrieta, University of Florida; Katherine Brutsche, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Alex Souza, CINESTAV-IPN.
There were 63 oral and poster presentations by students and early career professionals representing 27 institutions from seven countries. The oral presentations and posters were of high quality. Conference participants served as conveners for the sessions, provided feedback and scored the oral and poster presentations. These scores were used to help determine nine conference awards.
The diverse group of award recipients included Christine Baker (University of Washington), Ashley Ellenson (Oregon State University), Elizabeth Holzenthal (Oregon State University), Alejandra Lira-Pantoja (SMITHGROUP), Gabriella Mauti (University of Ottawa), Shannon Nelson (University of West Florida, UNDERGRADUATE!), and Raul Osorio (Mississippi State University) for best oral presentations. Demetra Cristaudo (University of Delaware), Gemma Franklin (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), and Sunghoon Han (Texas A&M University) received awards for best poster presentations. Furthermore, the Spoondrift Spotter Innovation Challenge winner was Raul Osorio with the project focused on marsh terrace efficacy as a restoration technique in coastal Louisiana. Conference participants completed two networking activities: (1) creation of a stop motion video on coastal processes and (2) characterizing the beach using low tech tools. While the beach survey activity was informative, it was also a great opportunity for a swim.
Conference registration, housing and other fees were minimized by generous support provided from the Coordinación de la Investigación Científica and Instituto de Ingeniería at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, The University of Delaware, the Center for Applied Coastal Research at the University of Delaware, Queen’s University, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Nortek, Spoondrift, DHI, VTI, RBR and Yucatan Travel.
The Local Organizing Committee consisted of Christian Appendini, Ruth Cerezo-Mota, Paulo Salles, Gonzalo Martín, Gabriela Medellín, José López-González, Ma. Eugenia, Allende-Arandía, Bernardo Figueroa, Mónica Enriquez, Alma Rivero Santiago, and Juan Alberto Gómez Liera. Thanks also to Karen Greco from the University of Delaware.