The Continuously Operating Caribbean GPS Observational Network (COCONet) project funded by the National Science Foundation as a Collaborative Research project between UNAVCO and the University Consortium for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is pleased to announce the recipients of the COCONet Graduate Fellowship awards for 2013.

The COCONet Graduate Fellowships support students undertaking high impact research and graduate-level training in the Earth sciences in the Caribbean region where there is a significant need for more expertise and study to meet immediate concerns and provide longer-term benefits to the COCONet community. The benefits include but are not limited to, educational advancement, professional workforce development, hazards mitigation, development and planning, and understanding and living with Earth processes.

Congratulations to the outstanding COCONet Graduate Fellows for 2013.

For more information please contact Glen Mattioli, Director of Geodetic Infrastructure at UNAVCO and Principal Investigator for COCONet.
Email: mattioliunavco.org


Roby Douilly

A doctoral graduate student in geophysics at Purdue University. Roby is from Haiti. He has a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Universite d’Etat d’Haiti and a Masters degree in seismology from Purdue University. His doctoral research is focused on understanding and modeling the rupture process of the Enriquillo and Leogane fault zones in Haiti in order to estimate the distribution and strength of future ground shaking to improve risk resiliency in Haiti and other seismic zones.


Halldor Geirsson

A doctoral graduate student in geophysics at Pennsylvania State University. Halldor is from Iceland. He has a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters degree in geophysics from the University of Iceland. His doctoral research is focused on understanding the tectonics and deformation related to the subduction of the Cocos plate beneath the Caribbean plate near El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. His research will help to assess earthquake hazards (such as the 5 September 2012 magnitude 7.6 Nicoya earthquake) and volcanic hazards (such as the 1999 eruption of Cerro Negro in Nicaragua).


Ophelia George

A doctoral graduate student in geology at the University of South Florida. Ophelia is from the Commonwealth of Dominica, an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea. She has a Bachelor’s degree in geologic sciences from Florida International University and a Masters degree in geophysics from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Her doctoral research is focused on changes in plate tectonics affecting volcanism in the Lesser Antilles over the past 40 million years in order to generate a new hazards map for the island arc polygenetic volcanic system.


Esteban Josue Chaves Sibaja

A doctoral graduate student in seismology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Esteban is from Costa Rica. He has a Bachelor’s degree in physics from the Universidad Nacional (UNA, Costa Rica) and has worked at the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI). His doctoral research is focused on understanding the seismic coupling between the Cocos and Caribbean plates in the subduction zone beneath the Nicoya and Osa Peninsulas of Costa Rica. Both regions have the potential for a very large earthquake and tsunami.


Steeve Symithe

A doctoral graduate student in geophysics at Purdue University. Steeve is from Haiti. He has a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Universite d’Etat d’Haiti and a Masters degree in geophysics from Purdue University. His doctoral research is focused on understanding the motion between the Caribbean, South American, and North American plates in order to build better kinematic models and improve knowledge of earthquake risks in Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic share several dangerous faults that cross national borders) and elsewhere.