REU student studies Miami flooding with modeling research

By Maria Gabriela Gonzalez Starchek

Hannah Toth works on modeling research.
Hannah Toth works on modeling research.

Miami is vulnerable to flooding. Hannah Toth spent her summer working on a stormwater management model in hopes of finding a way to reduce flooding in prone areas. 

Toth came across the FIU Institute of Environment’s Coastal Ecosystems Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) while browsing the National Science Foundation website for interesting research opportunities. Currently majoring in civil engineering at Ohio State University, Toth decided to get out of her comfort zone and apply to a program that focused on a different topic. She spent her summer studying the effects of low impact developments on rainfall runoff under the mentorship of FIU professor Tiffany Troxler. 

While working in Troxler’s Lab for Wetland Ecosystems Research, Toth studied the stormwater management modeling and flood mitigation from the Little River Watershed, which is one of the most flood prone watersheds in the city of Miami. She implemented low impact developments, known as LIDs, that are man-made natural environments used to decrease water-resistant surfaces and increase water infiltration.  

“I met so many great people, and I learned an incredible amount about the ecosystem in south Florida,” Toth said. “The REU definitely encouraged my interest in research.”

After finishing her bachelor’s degree in environmental and water resources-civil engineering, Toth plans to continue research and gain more experience for her next degree, a PhD.