North Carolina Sea Grant
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News Releases

May 13, 2019 | Katie Mosher

Katie Mosher,, 919-515-9069

Spencer Rogers receives one of the annual Awards for Excellence from Vice Chancellor Mladen Vouk. Photo by Lee Cannon.

Spencer Rogers, North Carolina Sea Grant’s coastal construction and erosion specialist, was one of two recent winners of annual Awards for Excellence in the NC State University Office of Research and Innovation.

Laura Kroeger, research program specialist, also was honored. Rogers and Kroeger will represent the office at the NC State University Awards for Excellence Ceremony, on June 11.

“All 13 nominees for the 2019 Awards for Excellence have shown they are among the university’s highest achievers,” Vice Chancellor for Research Mladen Vouk said during the awards announcement. “I thank you all for the phenomenal work you’ve done over the last year and the dedication you have shown to our university and the state of North Carolina.”

The 2019 nominees in the ORI group included: Julie Leibach, Sea Grant science writer and digital content specialist; Jobi Cook, NC Space Grant associate director; and Nicole McIntosh, research coordinator for the state’s Water Resources Research Institute. (See the full list of ORI nominees with photo at the end.)

Among his many projects, Rogers (here) conducts rip current experiments, during which he deploys drifters and then tracks their movements in the water. Photo courtesy of Bill Birkemeier,

Rogers’ Four Decades of Service

As a Sea Grant employee for over 40 years, Spencer Rogers has regularly gone above and beyond to provide scientific, research-based information to coastal property owners, government agencies, designers and building professionals — earning a statewide and national reputation as one of North Carolina’s “go-to people” for coastal construction and erosion knowledge.

Rogers’ focus on coastal safety has been a tremendous service to North Carolina residents, property owners and visitors. Of particular note are his research and outreach efforts related to rip currents and coastal construction.

“I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that his research and outreach relating to rip current safety has and will save lives,” notes Frank Lopez, Sea Grant’s extension director.

“Because he focuses on sound science offered up in plain-spoken, understandable terms, Spencer is sought after as a public speaker to local homeowner’s associations and town meetings, state and national panels, and international conferences on topics like flood insurance, the role of sand dunes in coastal management, and beach safety,” Lopez adds.

Additionally, in his work with the North Carolina Building Code Council and local communities, Rogers has saved homeowners over $1 million annually through reduced insurance premiums, Lopez estimates.

“Spencer has thrived at North Carolina Sea Grant since 1978 because of his love of the extension role — never knowing who will call, stop in or send a message seeking his assistance,” Lopez said. “There have been many of these personal encounters, and he still takes great pride and satisfaction in telling me about them.”

Laura Kroger. Photograph courtesy of NC State University Office of Research and Innovation.

Kroeger Serves Research Enterprise

Kroeger’s current role requires working with all parts of ORI and its partnering divisions and colleges, as well as external local, regional and national collaborators. But her main focus is to provide essential administrative support to the Vice Chancellor for Research’s four advisory committees — the Research Leadership Academy (RLA), the Research Operations Council (ROC), the Research Support Council (RSC) and the University Research Committee (URC).

Kroeger got her start as the Springboard office manager, where just one of her many jobs was to serve as the always smiling face who greets each and every office visitor. She quickly became university program associate in 2017, before moving to the role of research program specialist in 2019.

Her nomination letter noted that one thing all who’ve worked with Laura seem to agree upon is that she is committed to providing customer service of the highest quality.

From left to right: Vice Chancellor Mladen Vouk; Laura Kroeger (ORI); Jobi Cook (Associate Director, NC Space Grant); Sasha Campbell (Digital Communications Manager, Office of Research Commercialization); Derek Gatlin (Grant Proposal Developer, PDU); Nicole McIntosh (Coordinator for Research and Outreach, WRRI); Andrea McCarrick (Scientific Technical Editor, NCICS); Megan Bortner (Accountant, ISSC); Andrew Thrasher (Research Scholar, NCICS); Julie Leibach (Science Writer, NC Sea Grant); Meg Chester (Director of Finance and Compliance, PowerAmerica); Spencer Rogers (NC Sea Grant). NOT PICTURED: ORI Award for Excellence nominees James Rennie (Research Associate, NCICS) and Brooke Stewart-Garrod (Research Associate, NCICS). Photo by Lee Cannon.




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