Resilience Webinar Series – Partnership Projects, Outcomes, and Impacts on Local Resilience: City of Rockport, Texas and Texas A&M University
Featured Speakers: Jaimie Masterson, Jeewasmi Thapa, Amanda Torres, and Forrest Williams (January 27th, 2022 at 12:00pm-1:30pm ct)
In early 2021, EPIC-N announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), and the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N). Part of the agreement involves a deep-dive webinar series that shine a light on examples of local resilience projects fulfilled by EPIC-N Programs. The “Resilience Webinar Series – Partnership Projects, Outcomes and Impacts on Local Resilience” series has already begun and will run until the end of the year.
The second webinar of the series will feature Texas A&M’s “Texas Target Communities”(TxTC) project. With this webinar we will be joined by Jaimie Masterson, Director of Texas Target Communities; Jeewasmi Thapa, Texas Target Communities Program Coordinator; Amanda Torres, Senior City Planner; and Forrest Williams, Community Development Director. They will discuss projects completed during the 2018-2019 academic year, their outcomes and their own perspectives on how their work together impacted local resilience in the city of Rockport.
Webinars in this series will follow this format:
- EPIC-N and US EPA ORD staff will provide a short introduction to the webinar series and introduce the speakers
- EPIC-N staff will moderate the webinar asking speakers about their involvement in the selected projects
- Speakers may share prepared slides, websites, resources, when able
- Following the moderate presentation, those attending the live webinar will be able to engage the panelists in a question-and-answer session
The webinars are free and open to the public.
Suggested hashtags for social media: #EPICN #LocalGov #University #Resilience #Texas #TexasA&M
After the webinar concludes, the moderated presentation will be shared on the EPIC-N YouTube Channel. The full version of the webinar including the Q&A’s and the links to any resources shared will be published in the EPIC-N Member Commons for EPIC-N members to use as they desire.
More about the Featured Speakers
Jaimie Masterson is the director of Texas Target Communities (TTC) at Texas A&M University, a high impact service-learning program that works alongside underserved communities to plan for resilience. Based on this work, in 2019, the Liberty County Strategic Plan received the national Silver Planning Achievement Award from the American Planning Association. She is author of “Planning for Community Resilience: A Handbook for Reducing Vulnerabilities to Disasters,” which focuses on hazard mitigation strategies and tools for government officials, planners, and emergency mangers that can be incorporated pre-disaster. She is the engagement coordinator Institute for Sustainable Communities and the Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard project funded by the Department of Homeland Security and a part of the Center for Coastal Resilience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Masterson also consults with small communities to develop comprehensive plans, economic development plans, and other planning needs to fold and infuse resilience practices into community initiatives. Additionally, Masterson authored the Rapid Disaster Recovery Housing Program Report (RAPIDO) which identifies disaster recovery policy recommendations, a technical guide for program implementation, and a program comparison of current disaster recovery challenges and successes. The RAPIDO program focuses on pre-disaster and post-disaster planning strategies for local jurisdictions and social service organizations. Masterson previously worked as a landscape designer and secondary education instructor. She received her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Master of Urban Planning with a Certificate in Environmental Hazards from Texas A&M University.
Jeewasmi Thapa works with under-served communities to plan for resilience. As a program coordinator, she manages Texas Target Communities projects and serves as a liaison between community partners and the university. She designs community engagement workshops on visioning, goal setting and needs assessments. Jeewasmi is responsible for developing and presenting planning studies and reports. She also supervises interns and guides students to explore planning principles and best practices to create place-based strategies that fit the local context. Ms. Thapa is a certified planner and serves as a planning ambassador for the American Planning Association. She received her Master of Urban Planning from the Texas A&M University, along with a certificate in Environmental Hazard Management and a certificate in Sustainable Urbanism. She also has a bachelor‘s degree in Architecture and has worked as an architect in her hometown, Kathmandu, Nepal. Her areas of interest include community engagement, environmental planning, economic development, hazard mitigation, and disaster recovery.
Amanda Torres MPA, CFM is a Senior City Planner for the City of Corpus Christi, Texas. Prior to this, she was the Community Planner in Rockport, Texas and City Planner and Assistant to the City Manager in Aransas Pass, Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics and a Master of Public Administration from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Ms. Torres has been recognized by her work in resilience and disaster recovery by the Gulf of Mexico Climate & Resilience Community of Practice and the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Forrest Williams graduated from Texas A&M University with his bachelors in 2017 and then went to grad school at Texas A&M and graduated with a Master’s in Urban Planning in 2019. While in his masters program he worked at Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) as a graduate assistant researcher, where I assisted in various projects related to Local Emergency Planning Committees. Forrest had internships with the City of Dickinson, Spring Valley Village, and other projects within the program such as my final project on the Downtown Bryan Master Plan. In July 2019 Forrest began working for the Town of Flower Mound as the Comprehensive Planner and then in February 2020 began working for the City of Caldwell as the Community Development Director. In his current role Forrest advances many of the city community development programs and processes, while increasing transparency and communications to the public. Recently Forrest was promoted to Administrative Services Director.