ATU’s Stansfield to Present at National Conference

Ashleigh Stansfield
Ashleigh Stansfield

Arkansas Tech University Class of 2022 graduate Ashleigh Stansfield has been selected to present a poster as part of the 47th annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop.

Stansfield’s project is entitled “2015 and 2017 Meramec River Flooding: A Case Study on Community Perceptions.”

She became interested in the topic because she is from the region of Missouri that was affected by the flooding.

“Other research has shown that man-made factors have increased the severity of flooding in the region, and I believe understanding the affected community’s perceptions is an important step in mitigating against future severe flooding,” said Stansfield, who is from Fenton, Mo. “I believe my research has shown those in the community who were directly impacted by the floods identify man-made structures and land development as a main cause of the severity of the flooding events in 2015 and 2017. Those impacted also believe another flood of this magnitude is likely to occur in the future.”

The workshop, scheduled for July 10-13, is hosted by the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Stansfield was in the University Honors program at Arkansas Tech and a double major in emergency management and mathematics. She earned a place on the ATU Dean’s List seven times. During the spring 2022 semester, she participated in an internship with the environmental safety and emergency preparedness team at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.

“I hope my research can be used as a base for a broader research project,” said Stansfield. “For my research, I was only able to interview six people impacted by flooding. I hope another team can expand on this and survey a larger portion of the population to explore differences in perception between those who were directly impacted and those who were not.

“Aside from this,” continued Stansfield, “I hope this study and others similar can remind decision-makers that the beliefs and understandings of the general population matter and should always be considered when practicing emergency management.”

Stansfield received her Bachelor of Science degrees in emergency management and mathematics from ATU at the conclusion of the spring 2022 semester. Her future aspirations include beginning her career in health care emergency preparedness before pursuing graduate study.