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USM’s Hamdan Selected by Peers as CERF President-Elect

Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:49am | By: Jenny Tate

Dr. Leila HamdanThe Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) has elected Dr. Leila Hamdan, Interim Associate Director, School of Ocean Science and Engineering and Associate Professor of Coastal Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), as its president-elect for its 2019-21 Governing Board.

Hamdan will then serve as CERF President from 2021 to 2023 and as Past President from 2023 to 2025.

“CERF has been an enormous source of professional, personal and career development for me through the 20 years I have been a member,” said Hamdan. “I am thrilled to represent the work and mission of CERF on an international stage and develop new program in leadership.” 

Hamdan said her goals for the term are to provide leadership training programs to all members to help them strengthen the federation, and their home institutions, and to enrich career development. She also hopes to open opportunities for leadership for underrepresented groups. 

Founded in 1971, CERF is an organization of approximately 1,700 members engaged in study, management and stewardship of estuarine and coastal environments. The Federation's members are dedicated to advancing human understanding and appreciation of the Earth's estuaries and coasts, to the wise use and management of these environments and to making the results of their research and management actions available to their colleagues and to the public.

Members of the Federation include students, researchers, resource managers, policy makers and educators representing academic and research institutions, government, industry and consulting, and non-governmental organizations. 

“Leila is an outstanding choice as President-elect of CERF. She is passionate about the organization’s mission, is an excellent scientist and mentor, and will do everything possible to amplify CERF in a positive way during her time in leadership,” said Dr. Joe Griffitt, Interim Director for USM’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering and Associate Professor of Coastal Sciences.

The CERF President serves as the principal elected officer of the Federation, presides over the Governing Board and provides direction on the business of the federation, the development of its vision, and guides how members carry out CERF’s mission. 

“I hope to bring more people from the USM community into the federation, and use this opportunity to amplify the School of Ocean Science and Engineering’s innovative research and technology in coastal and marine science,” Hamdan said.

Dr. Hamdan is a trained molecular microbial ecologist and an active researcher and graduate student mentor. Her studies focus on geomicrobiology and the impact of changing environmental conditions on the structure and function of marine and estuarine communities. Her work is centered around microbial biogeography on continental margins and the impacts of hydrocarbons and chemical dispersants on communities found on artificial reefs (shipwrecks) in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Hamdan also currently serves as the Director of Scientific Support for the Gulf – Caribbean Oceanographic Consortium.

The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, not-for-profit, and non-partisan organization. The Federation’s mission is to promote research in estuarine and coastal ecosystems; support education of scientists, decision-makers and the public; and facilitate communication among these groups.