Luther senior Pyzdrowski selected to research flood resilience during summer

Over the course of the last 10 years, Decorah and other communities across northeastern Iowa have experienced multiple floods characterized as 100-year floods. As the effects of climate change intensify, events like these are only expected to increase. Halina Pyzdrowski, Luther College senior of Minnetonka, Minnesota, is researching flood resilience in the Upper Iowa Watershed for her summer research project at the college.

Pyzdrowski, the daughter of Karen and Paul Pyzdrowski, of Minnetonka, is a 2014 graduate of Hopkins High School. She is majoring in environmental studies at Luther.

"This research has served as a great capstone of my Luther experience. I am now taking all the skills and academic knowledge I have gathered throughout my freshman, sophomore, and junior year and applying them to a project that will leave an impact on a community that has left an imprint on my life," said Pyzdrowski.

Pyzdrowski is working with Rachel Brummel, Luther assistant professor of environmental studies and political science; Steve Holland, Luther associate professor of economics; Jon Jensen, Luther associate professor of philosophy and environmental studies; and Britt Rhodes, Luther associate professor of social work, on her project "Examining Flood Resilience in the Upper Iowa Watershed."

Pyzdrowski's research cohort is interested in understanding and ultimately enhancing flood resilience in communities across Northeastern Iowa. Community flood resilience is the ability of people living in a common watershed to plan and act collectively to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a flood. It refers to a community's ability to recover from a disaster and become better prepared to manage future events. Climate change effects the likelihood of flooding as a warmer air holds more moisture, leading to heavier precipitation.

"It's incredible to hear how the community comes together to help each other out and how, in some ways, disasters can bring people together rather than apart," said Pyzdrowski.

The group's collaboration is one of 26 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther's College Scholars Program and Dean's Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities at Luther intended to deepen the learning process and that are part of Luther's academic core.

The results of the project will be presented at Luther's Student Research Symposium in 2018.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: