Student Wins IAEM Poster Contest

Student Wins IAEM Poster Contest

Millersville Student’s Research Poster Wins 1st Place

November 14, 2016

Chris Soelle won 1st place in the poster competition at the 64th Annual International Association of Emergency Management (IAEM) that was held in Savannah, GA October 14th through the 19th. Soelle is a second year graduate student in the Master of Science in emergency management program and a graduate assistant at the Center for Disaster Research and Education. 


His research is on the practice of naming winter storms and the sharing of hazardous weather information on Twitter. Soelle collected tens of thousands of tweets from the 2015-2016 winter season. He analyzed these tweets to determine what types of information Twitter users are sharing and who these users are. Dr. Sepi Yalda, a professor of meteorology, coordinator of the Millersville’s Master of Science in emergency management program, and director of the Center for Disaster Research and Education is Soelle’s research advisor. 


“There are a lot of great preparedness, response, and recovery information available on social media and initial results suggest emergency managers are not actively involved in this conversation. This could be a missed opportunity to reach this audience,” stated Soelle.


In 2012 The Weather Channel (TWC) began naming winter storms in an effort to increase hazardous weather awareness. In 2015, the federal weather agency in the United Kingdom (UK Met Office) started a trial period of naming winter storms that affected their nation and neighboring Ireland. The UK Met Office has cited public safety and the ability to reach new audiences as the reasons for naming winter storms. 


“The UK Met Office starting to name winter storms really spurred my interest in this topic,” said Soelle. “Here in the US, TWC is the only weather organization naming winter storms nationally and other organizations/agencies have been openly opposed to this practice. These same opposition organizations respect and admire the UK Met Office. So the UK Met Office naming winter storms has really made people pause and reevaluate their position on the practice.”


The Annual Academic Poster Competition included other graduate and undergraduate students in emergency management programs from around the country. Participants were evaluated on poster content, visual display, and oral presentation/discussion.