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Student Paper Competition Criteria

ASFPM Foundation Offering 11th Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition

Finalists have been selected. The competition will be held virtually on May 11.

Every spring the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) conducts an annual national conference that attracts more than 1,200 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, resources, materials, equipment, accessories and services to accomplish flood mitigation, risk reduction and other community goals. Since 2011, ASFPM Foundation has sponsored a student paper competition as a 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. This year's competition will be a part of the program at the 2021 ASFPM Virtual Conference on May 9-13, 2021. 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. 

Eligibility:  Download a flyer.

Any undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled at any college or university in a floodplain management related field 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 from each team will be invited to attend the virtual conference as our guest to present the paper. The intent of this scholarship is to assist current student and as such we require they be enrolled during the key dates of this competition (i.e. abstract submission deadline and full paper submission deadline).

Submission Process and Timeline:

  • Abstracts must be submitted by Feb. 12, 2021 as a PDF file or Word doc via email to ASFPM Foundation Coordinator.  (See abstract criteria below.) Students must also submit an enrollment certificate or unofficial transcript which most universities provide free of charge to demonstrate active enrollment 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 Feb. 26, 2021 whether they have been selected.
  • Finalists' full papers will be due by April 16, 2021 along with an updated enrollment certificate or unofficial transcript.
  • The three finalists will receive free registration at the ASFPM annual national conference and will make their presentations at a special student session during the virtual conference on Tues., May 11, 2021. 
  • A panel of floodplain management professionals will judge the papers and student presentations. Winners will be announced at a virtual booth event on May 12, 2021.


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

All prizes also include a complimentary one-year student membership in the Association of State Floodplain Managers. 

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 Feb. 12, 2021 as a PDF file via email to to ASFPM Foundation Coordinator.

  • 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 April 16, 2021.

  • 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.

 Download a flyer.

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