Derek Loftis Ph.D. ’14, assistant research scientist at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), was part of Virginia Beach’s winning entry for Amazon Web Services’ City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge. The award provides $50,000 worth of access to the company’s high-capacity web servers, allowing Virginia Beach to obtain real-time observations and stream live forecasts during major flood events. VIMS can also use the data to inform its storm-surge modeling efforts. In June, Loftis also took part in Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington, D.C., as one of five emerging leaders invited to a round table discussion hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. He discussed how his work can provide new ways to make flood forecasts and real-time observations more readily accessible to citizens and communities.