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Student Paper Competition Criteria

ASFPM Foundation's 12th Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition Criteria

Every spring the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) conducts an annual national conference that attracts more than 1,200 people floodplain management professionals from federal, state and local government as well as the private sector for a week-long event that showcases state-of-the-art techniques, programs, practices, resources, materials, equipment, accessories and services to accomplish flood mitigation, risk reduction and other community goals. Since 2011, the ASFPM Foundation has sponsored a student paper competition as another way to engage the next generation in the important conversations pertaining to our profession. Three finalists are invited to present their papers at the conference where they will also have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of topics that will be relevant to their future career. Next year's competition will be a part of the program at the 2022 ASFPM annual national conference on May 15-19, 2022 in Orlando, FL. Teams consisting of one or more students are encouraged to submit abstracts on subjects relating to floodplain or stormwater management. The goals of this  program are to encourage student engagement in floodplain management topics and to identify talented individuals with the potential to make lasting contributions to the floodplain management body of knowledge.


Any graduate or undergraduate student currently enrolled at any college or university in a field related to floodplain management is eligible to submit. The related fields include, but are not limited to, engineering, geology, geography, planning and public administration (see below for list of suggested topics). Papers may be written by a team of students, but only one scholarship will be awarded to each of the top three teams, and only one person will be invited to attend the conference as our guest to present the paper. The intent of this scholarship is to assist current students and as such we require they be enrolled during the critical dates of this competition (i.e. abstract submission deadline and full paper submission deadline).

Submission Process and Timeline:

  • Abstracts must be submitted by January 29, 2022 as a PDF file via email to (See abstract criteria below). Students must  also submit an enrollment certificate or unofficial transcript which most universities provide free of charge to demonstrate active student status.
  • Abstracts will be reviewed by an ASFPM Foundation panel and three finalists will be invited to submit a full paper. Students will be notified by February 4, 2022 whether they have been selected.
  • Finalists' full papers along with an updated unofficial transcript or certificate of enrollment will be due by April 16, 2022.
  • The three finalists will receive free registration at the ASFPM annual national conference, free lodging at the conference hotel, domestic air travel and up to $200 reimbursement of meal and other travel expenses to make their presentations at a special student session during the conference on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
  • Papers and student presentations will be judged by a panel of floodplain managers. Winners will be announced at the awards luncheon on Thursday, May 19, 2022.


First Place: $1,000 scholarship; Second Place: $500 scholarship; Third Place: $250 scholarship. All prizes also include a complimentary one-year student membership in ASFPM.

Topic Areas of Consideration:

Students are encouraged to submit abstracts on studies related to one or more of the following topics:

  • Coastal flooding, planning and sustainability
  • Inland lake flooding issues
  • Riverine flooding, planning and sustainability
  • Urban flooding, planning and sustainability
  • Alluvial fan flooding, prediction and unique hazard considerations
  • Estuaries
  • Floodplain management and stormwater control standards
  • Regulatory compliance with floodplain regulations
  • Local/state mapping programs (including higher standards)
  • Community Rating System
  • Flood warning
  • Post-flood response
  • Letters of Map Change (LOMCs)
  • National Flood Insurance Program reform
  • Flood mitigation planning
  • Noteworthy flood mitigation project successes
  • GIS applications for flood risk assessment
  • Levee inventories, recertification of levees and non-levee embankments
  • Impacts of decertification of levees
  • Dam safety and dam failure
  • Natural and beneficial floodplain functions
  • Environmentally friendly flood mitigation
  • Flood warning, mitigation and risk outreach/education programs
  • Stormwater and watershed modeling advancements and research needs
  • Hydrology and hydraulics advancements and research needs
  • Climate variability and extreme precipitation research
  • Flood hazard data management tools
  • LiDAR tools, industry advancements and data needs for floodplain management and modeling needs
  • Floodway standards
  • Geomorphology of floodplains and resultant implications on the built environment
  • Human impacts on floodplains including water quality and ecological factors
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA) present and anticipated impacts on floodplain management and Risk MAP

Faculty Advisors:

Each student is allowed a faculty advisor or advisors. The advisors may provide advice and resources, and may review the papers and presentations prior to their submittal. The advisors may be recognized as a junior author on papers, however the papers should principally be the work of student teams. Faculty advisors for participating teams may not serve on any of the selection or judging panels.

Abstract Criteria:

Abstracts must be submitted by Saturday, January 29, 2022 as a PDF file via email to

  • Submit the abstract as a PDF document.
  • The body of the abstract must be 500 words or less, double-spaced, and should concisely describe the research and expected results from the study.
  • The font must be 11-point font.
  • The abstracts will be evaluated based on their significance and applicability to the field of floodplain management, and on the originality of the idea of the abstract.
  • Students who have competed as semifinalists in the past are ineligible to submit again.
  • Students who have previously submitted an abstract that was not selected may compete again.

Paper Criteria:

If selected as a finalist, deadline for submission of the paper is Saturday, April 16, 2022.

  • Length of paper is six to eight pages, including figures, tables and references.
  • The font must be 11-point font for all parts of the paper. Do not change typeface within the paper.
  • The line spacing must be double-spaced.
  • The page margins must be one inch on all sides.
  • Titles, authors, authors' affiliation should be centered, single-spaced at the top of the first page.


Paper - 70 percent
Presentation - 30 percent

For questions regarding the competition criteria, contact or call (608) 828-6325.

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