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Student Paper Competition Criteria

ASFPM Foundation Offering 9th Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition in 2019

NOTE:  The 2019 Student Paper Competition took place in May 2019. Announcement and rules for applying for the 10th Annual Student Paper Competition to be held in June 2020 will be posted sometime in Fall 2019.

Every spring the Association of State Floodplain Managers conducts an annual national conference that attracts more than 1,200 people for a week-long event that showcases state-of-the-art techniques, programs, 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. Three finalists are invited to present their papers at the conference. Next year's competition will be a part of the program at the 2019 ASFPM annual national conference on May 19-23, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 floodplain management body of knowledge.


Any full-time student enrolled in a floodplain management related field at any college or university is eligible to submit. The related fields include, but are not limited to, engineering, geology, geography, planning and public administration (see below for suggested topics list). 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.

Submission Process and Timeline:

  • Abstracts must be submitted by Jan. 12, 2019 as a PDF file via email to ASFPM Chapters and Foundation Coordinator Gigi Trebatoski.  
  • Abstracts will be reviewed by an ASFPM Foundation panel and three semifinalists will be invited to submit a full paper. Students will be notified by Feb. 1, 2019 whether they have been selected.
  • Semifinalists' full papers will be due by April 12, 2019.
  • The three semifinalists will receive up to $1,000 for travel assistance to make their presentations at a special student session during the conference on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
  • Papers and student presentations will be judged by an eminent panel of floodplain managers. Winners will be announced at the awards luncheon on Thursday, May 23, 2019.


First Place: $1,000 scholarship; Second Place: $500 scholarship; Third Place: $250 scholarship. 

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
  • 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
  • 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 Jan. 12, 2019 as a PDF file via email to ASFPM Chapters and Foundation Coordinator Gigi Trebatoski.

  • 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 semifinalist, deadline for submission of the paper is April 12, 2019.

  • 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 ASFPM Chapters and Foundation Coordinator at or (608) 828-6325.

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