June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.995.1 - 12.995.8
Katrina - An Internship Opportunity
Hurricane Katrina has been identified as one of the costliest and deadliest natural disasters in recent United States (U.S.) history. On August 29, 2005 the Gulf Coast from southeastern Louisiana to the panhandle of northern Florida devastatingly changed in less than 24 hours. The most significant damage occurred along the Mississippi coast. The resulting storm surge caused catastrophic damage to commercial and residential dwellings, electrical and gas utilities, water and sewer utilities, highway infrastructures as well as telecommunications infrastructures.
The lack of any communications proved to be a desperate need for everyone. In response to this need, a volunteer organization known as RadioResponse.org was developed. In addition to volunteers, telecommunication companies donated many different types of equipment to support the effort. Initially, the organization was staffed by communication specialists from around the country to design, build, and deploy a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) network in the most severely impacted area, Hancock County, Mississippi. Once the WISP was established, the volunteers left the area, but a continuing need occurred to maintain and expand the WISP network. A request from the Hancock County civil defense for technical support allowed students at a local university’s Information Technology program to fulfill the program’s internship requirements as well as provide a greatly needed public service.
It is anticipated that the information presented in this paper evidences the importance of inter- agency collaboration. Furthermore, this paper provides a perspective on the implementation of an internship program and suggests modifications to the internship requirements to respond to catastrophic events in local areas. Therefore, the content of this paper could be used as an educational experience for students and professionals that are trying to integrate internship experiences into an undergraduate curriculum.
Overview of the Unprecedented Storm
Hurricane Katrina stormed onto the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005 causing severe damage across all of south Mississippi and portions of Alabama and Louisiana. While most people associate Hurricane Katrina with the decimation of New Orleans, the city was not destroyed by a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina; instead, the city was impacted by high water from Lake Pontchartrain breaking the levees that surround the city. Katrina made its way on shore in the early morning hours at the twin coastal cities of Waveland and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. It lashed the shores with winds and waves for more than 6 hours. At an overpass of Interstate-10, more than 6 miles inland, waterlines reached 20 feet above sea level. In the Gulfport, Mississippi harbor, containers from moored ships road the crest of waves and slammed into everything in their path. The off-shore casinos of Biloxi which once resided just a few feet over the gulf were deposited in the middle of nearby thoroughfares.
After the storm, governors, congressional delegations, FEMA and The President were assailed for their failure to respond to the needs of citizens in the affected areas. FEMA was, and still is,
Houston, S., & Walters, B., & Sulbaran, T. (2007, June), Katrina – An Internship Opportunity Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2048
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