Department of Homeland Security Awards Grant to COB Professor

September 25, 2017

Hurricane Harvey did a number on Southeast Texas, but many can attest, social media helped lessen the storm’s impact.

“The focus and basis of my research for the past eight years has been how to use technology, such as social media, effectively in disaster management to benefit everyone, including the young and the elderly, in both urban and rural populations,” said Dr. Louis Ngamassi, an assistant professor in Prairie View A&M University’s College of Business. “I’m originally from Cameroon, and several years ago, I lost many of my family members to an HIV epidemic. Since then, I have made it my mission to research and study how technology, and the right social media tools, can help people avoid, prevent, and learn from such tragedies.”

Before we get to the grant that’s stated in the title, let’s go back to 2015 when Ngamassi enrolled in and completed a 10-week summer research program with VACCINE, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence hosted at Purdue University. That fall, he used what he learned to establish a course here at PVAMU called Crisis Informatics, to educate students about the science behind disaster management.

“My class teaches students how to be key players in disaster management,” said Ngamassi. “They learn how to gather and analyze social media data. They are also introduced to social network analysis and visual analytics.”

Fast forward to 2017, Ngamassi’s research paid off with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

“The $1 million, five-year grant from Homeland Security is a wonderful and historic achievement for PVAMU,” said Dr. Munir Quddus, dean of the College of Business. “We congratulate Dr. Ngamassi on his creative research covering social media and disaster management.”

Ngamassi said the grant will reward students with internships, scholarships, and various workshops from the Department of Homeland Security.

(story by Marchita Shilo)