SBS Researcher Receives Early-Career Research Fellowship from Gulf Research Program

Extra Information: Bakkensen has also been in the news for her analysis of the economic impacts of extreme weather in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced the recipients of its Early-Career Research Fellowships for 2017.

Laura Bakkensen, an assistant professor in the University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy, was one of the 10 recipients chosen for the fellowship.

The Early-Career Research Fellowships recognize professionals at the critical pre-tenure phase of their careers for exceptional leadership, past performance, and potential for future contributions to improving oil system safety, human health and well-being, or environmental protection.

Each fellow receives an award of $76,000, paid to their institution in the form of a two-year grant, for research expenses and professional development. In addition, fellows receive professional guidance from a mentor at their home institution to foster their development as leaders. Bakkensen’s mentor is Bonnie Colby, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

“National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Early-Career Research Awards are incredibly prestigious and spotlight scholars who have the potential to achieve great things in their field,” said Brint Milward, director of the School of Government and Public Policy and the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation Fund Chair. “The money that the fellowship provides makes success more likely as well. SGPP is very proud that Laura Bakkensen has been honored with this award.”

“I was incredibly honored and, of course, incredibly excited to learn that I have been selected for a 2017 Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellowship,” Bakkensen said. “It is a wonderful program that will give me valuable resources to further my research goals including mentoring support from UA’s Dr. Bonnie Colby as well as a network of other early career researchers from across the United States.”

Bakkensen utilizes applied microeconomic and econometric methods to study the interplay between humans and the environment. She researches individual responses, overall community resilience, and policy responses in the face of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. Her research informs policy on public insurance and regulation, pre- and post-disaster aid, severe weather warnings, and public adaptation projects. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from Yale University. 

Several of Bakkensen’s research interests focus on the Gulf Coast. Bakkensen is analyzing natural disaster resilience in the Southeastern coastal states, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. In addition, her current work analyzing preferences to avoid living in flood zones will help us better understand flood risk to vulnerable communities.

“This year marks the Gulf Research Program’s third class of fellows,” said Maggie Walser, director of education and capacity building for the Gulf Research Program. “The talented and promising researchers and professionals receiving these awards will add to a growing network of future leaders in the science, engineering, and health professions that can work together to tackle the complex, interdisciplinary challenges that face the Gulf coast and other coastal regions. The ultimate impact of these fellows will extend far beyond the lengths of their fellowship terms.”

The Gulf Research Program was established in 2013 as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and seeks to improve understanding of the interconnecting human, environmental, and energy systems of the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. outer continental shelf areas.


*This story is a customization of the official press release from the Gulf Research Program, found here.

Published Date: 

08/08/2017 - 9:22am