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Sustainable Development Research

Coming Soon: Call for Proposals for Round 3 of the Sustainable Development Research Awards
(Will go live by April 20, 2024)



The 2024 Graduate Student Sustainable Development Research Award Recipients:

Jahidul Alam     English (Ph.D.)
     Francis Bacon and Early Modern Environment: Exploring How Salomon’s House Refutes His Anthropocene
     SDGs 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
      Faculty Reference: Clancy Ratliff

Leticia Andrus     Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
     Diversity Beyond Borders: A Literature Review of the Representation of International Students in Diversity Discourses in American Universities
     SDGs 4, 8, 16, 17  
     Faculty Reference: Sebnem Cilesiz

Bipin Bastakoti     Environmental Resource Science (M.S.)
     Soil Health Degradation in the Vermilion-Teche Basin of Louisiana
     SDGs 2, 8, 13, 15  
     Faculty Reference: Durga Poudel

Presious Batubo    Earth and Energy Science (Ph.D.)
     Analyzing Sedimentary Deposits to Reconstruct Medium-sized Paleo-Tsunami using Deep Neural Networks
     SDGs 9, 11   
     Faculty Reference: Gabriele Morra

Katarina Brankovic    Francophone Studies (Ph.D.)
     Building a Culture of Inclusivity, Diversity, and Accessibility: Advancing Sustainability at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
     SDGs 4, 11, 16   
     Faculty Reference: Carol Landry

Markashia Brown    Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
     What do we already know about the Financial Literacy of Women & First-Generation African-American Women Students
     SDGs 4, 5, 8, 10   
     Faculty Reference: Amanda Mayeaux

Redeemer Buatsi    Communication (M.S.)
     Reporting Rape in the United States-A Content Analysis of Media Coverage of Rape in the State of Louisiana 
     SDGs 3, 5, 16   
     Faculty Reference: Patricia Holmes

Kirsten Cases     Architecture (M.Arch)
     Reacclimating Neglected Infrastructure Through Stabilizing Carbon Dynamics
     SDGs 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17
     Faculty References: Corey Saft & Olivia Pontiff
     Link to Kirsten Cases' project on Adaptive Reuse

Allison Comeaux    Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
     How Do Post-Secondary Disability Service Accommodations in the U.S. Impact Educational Attainment
     SDGs 4, 16   
     Faculty Reference: Amanda Mayeaux

Anamika Das     English (M.A.)
     Application of Natural Semantic Metalanguage in cross-cultural meaning analysis: comparing the usage of Bangla happy greetings with American English
     SDGs 4, 10, 16, 17  
     Faculty Reference: Mark Honegger

Shayan Ebrahimi    Systems Engineering (Ph.D.)
     Accelerating Decarbonization through Digital Twinning
     SDGs 7, 9, 12   
     Faculty Reference: Farzad Ferdowsi

Kubiat George     Engineering: Chemical (M.S.)
     Synergistic effect of UV and condensation on the degradation of carbon black reinforced EPON-IPD thermosets with high enthalpy storage of shape memory
     SDGs 2, 6, 9, 11   
     Faculty Reference: William Chirdon

Holly Heafner     Environmental Resource Science (M.S.)
     Environmental inequities and lead toxicity: a geospatial and demographic evaluation of soil contamination in Lafayette, LA
     SDGs 3, 4, 10, 11, 16  
     Faculty Reference: Anna Paltseva

Atif Khan     Engineering: Civil (M.S.)
     Utilization of Sugarcane Bagasse ash and Rice Husk ash in sustainable construction bricks
     SDGs 7, 8, 9, 11, 12  
     Faculty Reference: Md. Jamal Khattak

Farooq Azam Khanzada    Systems Engineering (Ph.D.)
     Does Automated Enforcement at Signalized Intersections Truly Enhance Safety?
     SDGs 11    
     Faculty Reference: Xiaoduan Sun

Deepak Jain Veerendra Kumar    Systems Engineering (Ph.D.)
     Advancing Soiling Loss Predictions in PV Systems with Enhanced Models
     SDGs 7, 13   
     Faculty Reference: Terry Chambers

Tyrell Lassair     Earth and Energy Science (Ph.D.)
     Urban Agriculture as a Strategy to Increase Food Access and Alleviate Food Insecurity
     SDGs 2, 3, 4   
     Faculty Reference: Anna Paltseva

Lillian Mambiri     Systems Engineering (Ph.D.)
     Bio-fabrication via Stereolithography of 4D Polycaprolactone-based Scaffolds for Osteogenesis, Angiogenesis and Tumor Mechanobiology
     SDGs 1, 3, 10, 12   
     Faculty Reference: Dilip Depan

Mahpara Mashiyat    Earth and Energy Science (Ph.D.)
     Observations of structural and functional changes in mineral and organic soil wetlands caused by saltwater intrusion events in Louisiana
     SDGs 13, 14, 15   
     Faculty Reference: Jorge Villa

Tasnima Supty     Biology (M.S.)
     Impact of Childhood Adversity on Neuroinflammation: Exploring the Connections & Implications
     SDGs 3, 4, 8, 11, 16  
     Faculty Reference: Karen Smith

Jon-Patric Veal     Psychology (M.S.)
     How Variations in Perspective Taking Can Mediate the Effects of Empathy on Implicit Racial Bias
     SDGs 10, 16   
     Faculty Reference: Emily Sandoz

22. Renee Vincent     English (Ph.D.)
     When DNR Means 'Do Not Rescue': Hurricane Katrina and Medical Inequity within Disaster
     SDGs 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17 
     Faculty Reference: David Squires


MARCH 8, 2024

The LITE Center at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Includes detailed information about this Research Program, the Faculty Researchers, Future Award Programs and the 22 Graduate Student Research Award Recipients


Sustainable Development Research Awards Programs - Overview

In Spring 2023, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette awarded $40,000 in faculty research grants related to Sustainable Development - that is, research related to Social Inclusion, Environmental Protection or Economic Growth - and to the 17 United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. This initiative was a collaboration between 5 campus entities: Faculty Affairs (Dianne Olivier), the Graduate School (Mary Farmer-Kaiser and Philip de Mahy), the Office of Campus Diversity (Kiwana McClung) the Office of Sustainability (Gretchen Vanicor) and Brian Bolton, Professor of Finance and the Dwight W. Andrus, Jr. / BORSF Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Finance. This program has several key goals: (1) to celebrate the amazing research being done across the UL Lafayette campus, (2) to show how vital research on sustainable development is for Southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast Region, and (3) to create a platform to share research and to encourage collaborations where faculty can help solve some of society's greatest challenges.

In the initial phase in Spring 2023, we rewarded 19 faculty projects. We identified 4 "Ambassadors," or senior faculty who will take on additional responsibilities of leading this work going forward and 15 "Fellows." All 19 faculty are required to (a) submit their research to the committee members, and (b) present their research at a to-be-determined research seminar open to the entire UL Lafayette community. The winning faculty members and their projects are listed below.

This initial phase is the first of several, anticipated to last for at least 3 years. Phase 2, which was launched on December 1, 2023, seeks to recognize and reward graduate student research on Sustainable Development. Applications are due by January 31, 2024 and the winning projects & students will be announced around February 1, 2024. We expect to award another $30,000 to $40,000 to 15-25 graduate student projects.  After that, we expect to have 2-4 more rounds of grants for faculty, graduate students and all members of the UL Lafayette community. Learn more about Phase 2 for graduate student research.


Sustainable Development Research - Faculty Ambassadors - Spring 2023

  • James Albert - Professor - Biology, Ray P. Authement College of Sciences
    “Documenting Body-Shape in Riverine Fishes”
    Sustainable Development Goals: 6, 15
  • Emad Habib - Professor - Civil Engineering, College of Engineering
    “Fostering Flood-Resilient Communities: Integrating Hydrodynamic Modeling, Socio-Economic Risk Assessment, and Inclusive Communication”
    SDGs: 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16
  • Liz Skilton - Associate Professor - History, College of Liberal Arts
    “The Sustainability of Coastal Restoration: Tracking Community Understandings of Restoration Projects at 5 or More Years”
    SDGs: 8, 11, 13, 14, 15
  • Heather Stone - Associate Professor - Educational Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education & Human Development
    “Isle of Memories: Stories of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw”
    SDGs: 4, 10, 16"
    Link to Dr. Stone's film on this topic

Sustainable Development Research - Faculty Fellows - Spring 2023

  • Stephanie Arceneaux - Senior Instructor - LHC Group - Myers School of Nursing
    Education of Nursing Students on Human Trafficking Improves Knowledge”
    SDGs: 5, 11
  • Emily Blosser - Assistant Professor - Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
    “Food for Thought: Exploring the Impact of Food on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals Using a Podcast”
    SDGs: 2, 3, 5, 10, 12, 13, 15
  • Ling Fei - Assistant Professor - Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
    “A 3D-Printed, Freestanding Si/Carbon Composite Lattice for Li-Ion Batteries”
    SDGs: 7, 11
  • Tori Flint - Associate Professor - Educational Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education & Human Development
    “Literacies Beyond Bars: (Re)claiming and (Re)imagining Identities Through Multimodal Family Literacy Practices”
    SDGs: 4, 16
  • Randy Gonzales - Associate Professor - English, College of Liberal Arts
    “Filipino Food, Louisiana Ingredients”
    SDGs: 2, 12
  • Liane Hancock - Associate Professor - Architecture, College of the Arts
    “Serving the Under-served: Building Resiliency for Manufactured Homes across the Coastal South”
    SDGs: 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17
  • Emily Kane - Assistant Professor - Biology, Ray P. Authement College of Sciences
    “You’ll Never Look at a Roadside Ditch the Same After This! Small, Boring Fish Make a Big Impact on Pest Control”
    SDGs: 3, 5, 6, 11
    Link to Dr. Kane's video on this research
  • Do Kyun David Kim - Professor - Communication, College of Liberal Arts
    “Measuring the Duration of Flood Risk Perception and Recommendations for Sustainable Development: Climate Change, Natural Disaster, and Community Education for Preparation”
    SDGs: 4, 10, 11, 13
  • Manyu Li - Assistant Professor - Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
    “Cultivating a Sense of Belonging for Inclusive and Equitable Education: From Research to Application”
    SDGs: 4, 10, 16
  • Nathan Roberts - Professor - Educational Foundations & Leadership, Education & Human Development
    (with Marietta Adams, Aimee Barber & Amanda Mayeaux)
    “Lactation Policies and the K-12 Teacher Workforce:  A Law and Policy Analysis to Determine a Model Policy to Encourage and Support the Recruitment and Retention of Female Teachers”
    SDGs: 3, 4, 5, 8
  • Emily Sandoz - Professor - Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
    “Promoting Appetitive Learning of Consensual, Empowered Vulnerability: A Contextual Behavioral Conceptualization of Intimacy”
    SDGs: 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 16, 17
  • David Squires - Assistant Professor - English, College of Liberal Arts)
    “‘Proof That We Ever Was’: Exhibiting the Ernest J. Gaines Center Collections"
    SDGs: 4, 10, 16
  • Yu Wang - Assistant Professor - Chemistry, Ray P. Authement College of Sciences
    “Development of Novel Water Purification Materials for the Removal of Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)”
    SDGs: 6, 11
  • Christine Weill - Associate Professor - Communicative Disorders, College of Liberal Arts)
    (With Ryan Nelson & Holly Damico)
    “Investigating Our Legacy: Twenty Years of Language and Literacy Projects in Southwest Louisiana”
    SDGs: 1, 4, 10
  • Yung-Hsing Wu - Professor - English, College of Liberal Arts
    “‘Reading Race with Oprah’: A Conference Panel”
    SDGs: 4, 5, 8, 16


Office of Academic Affairs

  • Dr. Dianne Olivier
    • Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office of Faculty Affairs
    • Professor of Educational Foundations and Leadership

The Graduate School

Office for Campus Diversity

  • Kiwana McClung
    • Chief Diversity Officer
    • Professor of Architecture, SLEMCO / LEQSF Regents Professor in Art & Architecture II

Office of Sustainability

Brian Bolton (

This page is maintained by Brian Bolton, Professor of Finance and the Dwight W. Andrus, Jr. / BORSF Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.