Center Ph.D. students score spots in selective course for spatial modeling

Photos showing Lindsey Smart and Scott Beck conducting fieldwork

Lindsey Smart and Scott Beck have landed two of the available 22 seats at the “Introduction to Spatial Agent-Based Modeling” short course to be offered at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) this December in Annapolis, MD. According to Dr. Nick Magliocca, Assistant Research Professor at SESYNC, “The response to this course offering was overwhelming…Consequently, the selection process was very competitive.”

At the course, Lindsey and Scott will hone their skills in agent-based modeling (ABM), an approach that helps researchers build sophisticated models to explain patterns in natural and social systems from the bottom up. Both students are members of the Landscape Dynamics Lab Group at the center and use agent-based modeling in their dissertation research. Scott is currently developing a model to help clarify competing demands for resources in a region of South Africa that is experiencing rapid urban growth yet surrounded by conservation reserves. Lindsey’s work focuses on the growing problem of saltwater intrusion along the North Carolina coastline; she will model potential future scenarios of adaptation, based on landowner’s perceptions of risk and preferred responses to change.

The week-long course at SESYNC will be an “intensive immersion” in agent-based modeling, according to the program website, with daily assignments and a final model contributed by each participant to the OpenABM repository.

Congratulations, Lindsey and Scott, on your admittance to this excellent educational opportunity!