Illustration of buildings  

Timothy W. Collins, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at El Paso
Timothy Collins is an assistant professor of geography in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of Texas, El Paso. His work centers on understanding social vulnerability to environmental hazards using multimethod research approaches. In research on wildfire hazards, he has examined influences on self-protective decision-making at the household level. He has also engaged the hazards-of-place and environmental justice literatures through GIS-based spatial analyses of risk to water scarcity in Arizona and multiple hazards in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez metropolis. In a related line of research, he has sought to clarify understanding of the role of societal organizations in the production of unequal environmental risk based on historical and institutional analyses of wildfire hazards in Arizona and flood hazards in El Paso-Ciudad Juárez. Since arriving in El Paso, he has become increasingly interested in contributing to knowledge about transnational dimensions of risks, hazards and disasters. His work has been published (or accepted for publication) in journals such as Antipode, Applied Geography, Environmental Hazards, Environment and Planning C, Geoforum, Population and Environment, Society and Natural Resources, and The Professional Geographer. He holds a Ph.D. in geography from Arizona State University, where he was an NSF IGERT in Urban Ecology fellow, and a B.A./M.A. in geography from California State University, Chico.

Sara Grineski, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Texas at El Paso
Sara and Isis in the red rock arch.jpg Sara Grineski is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso. She received her PhD from Arizona State in Sociology in 2006. As a PhD student, she was the recipient of a 5-year NSF IGERT fellowship in urban ecology. Through this fellowship, she developed her interests in geography and GIS. Sara’s research interests include health inequalities and environmental hazards, mainly in the southwestern US and along the northern Mexican border. Her hazards-related research includes quantitative environmental justice studies in Phoenix, Arizona, El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and qualitative studies of environmental injustice, specifically parents’ experiences managing children’s asthma in hazardous environments including poor quality rental housing and polluted ambient environments. Her teaching interests include global health inequalities, environmental injustice, and social theory.

Bandana Kar, Geography and Geology, University of Southern Mississippi

I am an Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography & Geology at University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. My research interests are in GIScience algorithm development, remote sensing and hazards, development of decision support systems. My research objectives include: (1) studying socio-environmental dynamics, which affect the origination of disastrous events, and (2) developing algorithms and implementing GIScience approaches to model social and environmental factors that maximize vulnerability and risk of communities from hazards. I have a PhD in geography from the University of South Carolina at Columbia, a MS in geography from the State University of New York at Albany, a Master of City Planning from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, India and a B.Arch in Architecture from the CET, OUAT, India.

Abbie B. Liel, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder

Abbie Liel is an assistant professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Her research focuses on structural engineering innovations in assessment and design to enhance society’s resilience to natural and manmade hazards. Particular interests include assessment of collapse, structural damage and life safety risks when structures are subjected to extreme loads, nonlinear modeling of structures, and earthquake performance of housing and schools worldwide. Dr. Liel earned her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at Stanford University, M.Sc. degrees in Building, Urban Design and Development and Civil Engineering from University College London and a B.S.E in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, with a certificate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She has been the recipient of a Marshall Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Peter M. Madsen, Organizational Leadership and Strategy, Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University

Peter M. Madsen is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and Strategy at the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. He received a PhD in Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley in 2006. His research focuses on how organizations and their members learn about and attempt to manage uncertainty and risk (including safety, environmental, and financial risks). His recent work focuses specifically on organizational strategies for learning from failure, especially catastrophic failure, including: the effective use of accident investigations, the development and utilization of “lessons learned” systems and near miss reporting systems, and the development of organizational safety culture. Peter also studies the interplay between individual and organizational learning and organizational memory and knowledge management. His work has been published in top management and safety journals, including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Quality and Safety in Health Care, and Engineering Management Journal.

William L. McGill, Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University

William L. McGill (”Will McGill”) is an assistant professor of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on risk analysis, uncertainty modeling and decision analysis applied to homeland security, defense, and intelligence problems. His particular interests are in adversary reasoning, extreme events modeling and data fusion, deception and counterdeception and risk analytic tradecraft. His past research focused on risk, uncertainty, and reliability analysis, including both probabilistic and non-probabilistic methods with applications to critical infrastructure protection and the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System. Previously, as an intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency, he helped develop training courses and new methodologies for risk analysis, uncertainty modeling and logical reasoning. In 2003-2004, Dr. McGill was the first ASME Fellow to the Department of Homeland Security where he helped develop strategic risk analysis methodologies for infrastructure protection. Dr. McGill holds a Ph.D. in reliability engineering from the University of Maryland, is a registered professional engineer and is a certified reliability engineer with the American Society of Quality.

Laura McLay, Statistical Sciences and Operations Research, Virginia Commonwealth University
Laura McLay is an Assistant Professor of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. Dr. McLay’s long-term research goal is to establish a research portfolio in the area of homeland security and emergency management by applying operations research methodologies. Her research interests blend the rare and catastrophic risks associated with terrorism with the more frequent natural risks of health emergencies. In the long-term, she is interested in research that combines these two areas by focusing on how emergency medical services can be used to respond to man-made and natural disasters. In all such risk scenarios, she is interested in determining how to optimally use scarce resources in order to prevent and manage extreme events.

Dr. McLay’s interest in the domain of homeland security is to investigate how to optimally deploy and use current and next-generation screening technologies to prevent nuclear material from entering the United States through ports or airports using discrete optimization methodologies. Her interest in the domain of emergency response focuses on how to optimally leverage multiple types of emergency medical resources to save patient lives. This research challenges traditional approaches by focusing on the first responder to 911 calls, since medical research suggests that the response time interval of the first responder is one of the most important factors in determining patient survival. Dr. McLay’s research has been published in a wide spectrum of journals. She is a member of INFORMS, IIE, Tau Beta Pi, Alpha Pi Mu, and the Virginia Academy of Science.

Cindy L. Menches, Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Cindy Menches is an Assistant Professor of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Her two-pronged research approach focuses on damage assessment and hazard mitigation. Her damage assessment research focuses on the identification of similarities and differences in how damage assessment experts comprehend, and make decisions about, undamaged and damaged buildings. This research has led to the development of a preliminary cognitive-level theory of building damage decision-making that will aid in understanding the long-term impacts of such decisions on community recovery. Dr. Menches is also conducting research on the equity and impacts of hazard mitigation projects on rural and urban communities throughout Texas. Of particular interest is (1) the decision-making process used by communities to select projects for submission to federal grant program, (2) the spatial distribution of federal funding for projects and how this relates to community demographics, and (3) the overall effectiveness of projects that ultimately get implemented in disaster-prone communities. Dr. Menches holds a BS degree in Civil Engineering-Building Science from the University of Southern California, an MS degree in Architectural Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to joining the faculty at The University of Texas, she spent nine years as a civil engineer/project manager in the U.S. Air Force followed by five years in private industry as a project manager.

Scott B. Miles, Environmental Studies, Western Washington University
Dr. Scott Miles is an expert on disaster risk reduction, decision sciences, and urban planning. He possesses a unique set of skills and experiences across the fields of civil engineering, geomorphology, geographic information systems, and urban geography. As a social scientist with an engineering background, Dr. Miles has a strong foundation in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. He is experienced in the design and statistical analysis of survey instruments (questionnaires). He is a trained group facilitator who is also familiar with qualitative data collection (e.g., interviewing) and discourse analysis. Dr. Miles received his Ph.D. in geography from University of Washington, where he studied the synergy between urban geography, community disaster resilience, and participatory methods. He received a post-graduate diploma from the University of Edinburgh in GIS, with a focus on environmental modeling. His MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering is from University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he focused on geotechnical earthquake engineering and numerical methods. An undergraduate degree in the same field was received from Washington State University. Dr. Miles was a member of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Western Region Earthquake Hazards Team for six years, where he developed earthquake and landslide hazard maps with community partners. At the USGS, he worked with Dr. David Keefer to develop a GIS-based model of earthquake-induced landslide hazards. With Dr. Stephanie Chang, Dr. Miles has also developed a prototype computer model of community disaster loss and recovery (ResilUS). He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University. He has been instrumental in establishing WWU’s new Institute for Global and Community Resilience, as well as their Disaster Reduction and Emergency Planning undergraduate program.

Pallab Mozumder, Earth and Environment, Florida International University
Pallab Mozumder is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Economics and Management in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida. He is also affiliated with the Social Science Research Lab at the International Hurricane Research Center. Before joining FIU, Pallab worked as a post-doctoral fellow at The Environmental Institute (TEI), University of Massachusetts. He completed his Ph.D in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM) and also received an interdisciplinary Masters degree in Water Resources Program at the same university. He is broadly trained in the fields of environmental and development economics, public policy and water resource management. Pallab is interested in understanding the socio-economic impacts of natural disasters and the behavioral responses to cope with these adverse shocks. He is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research addressing these issues. Growing up in Bangladesh (a country highly vulnerable to natural disasters), his research interests in natural hazards and disasters evolved quite naturally. His dissertation focused on exploring coping mechanisms after a large scale natural disaster in Bangladesh (Flood of The Century, 1998). While working on his Ph.D at the University of New Mexico (located in the flame zone of southwest US), he came to realize the vulnerability of forest fires in the Wildland-Urban Interface. He has worked on several research projects investigating household evacuation and mitigation behavior in response to wildfire risks. Pallab’s current research focuses on hurricane evacuation and adaptation behavior in the face of climate change and coastal vulnerability in different regional contexts. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Forest Service (USFS).

Earthea Nance, Planning and Urban Studies, University of New Orleans

Earthea Nance is the founding director of disaster mitigation planning for the City of New Orleans. Prior to that she served as director of infrastructure and environmental planning for the City’s post-Katrina recovery office. In August of 2009 she will join the University of New Orleans as their first assistant professor of hazard mitigation planning, where she will lead the creation of a hazard mitigation planning emphasis in collaboration with the American Planning Association. She will also serve as a faculty associate in the University’s Center for Hazards Assessment, Response, and Technology. Previously, she was an assistant professor of urban environmental studies at Virginia Tech and a Martin Luther King fellow/visiting assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned a doctorate in environmental planning and management from Stanford University, and she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California at Davis. She has over 15 years of professional engineering experience in several private and public sector organizations, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She is a registered professional civil engineer and a certified floodplain manager.

Terri R. Norton, Construction Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Terri R. Norton is an Assistant Professor of Construction Engineering and Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before her appointment she was a Member of the Technical Staff in the Structural Dynamics Department at The Aerospace Corporation. Her work there involved dynamic modeling and analysis of space structures. Norton's current research focuses on the effects that natural hazards have on civil structures. She has been an invited lecturer at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, where her seminar topic was on multi-hazard identification and risk assessment. Dr. Norton has been a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo, Bridge and Structures Laboratory. She was also a part of the MCEER Field Mission Team who investigated the recovery efforts a year after the 2002 Molise Earthquake in Italy. Additionally, she assisted a team of engineering researchers as they surveyed how homes built before and after the updated Florida building code faired during the 2004 Hurricane Season. Dr. Norton holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the Florida A&M University and a B.S. in civil engineering from Florida State University.

Patrick S. Roberts, Center for Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

Patrick S. Roberts is an assistant professor in the Center for Public Administration in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. His Ph.D. is in government from the University of Virginia, and his current research focuses on how Americans have defined and constructed public organizations to prepare for and respond to disaster. He is particularly interested in the dynamics of organizations that prepare for hazards and disasters, both in the United States and globally.

Dr. Roberts has published articles in a variety of scholarly and popular journals. Among the classes he teaches are: Normative Foundations; Public Policy: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation; Strategic Management for Public Purposes; and Organizational Behavior and Change.

He has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University, and prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and a Centennial Center Fellow at The American Political Science Association in Washington, DC. Dr. Roberts' background also includes experience as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in Albany, New York. Despite his peripatetic past, Dr. Roberts maintains ties to his south Texas roots.

Aric Shafran, Economics, California Polytechnic State University
Aric Shafran is an assistant professor of economics in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly. His research spans several areas of economics, including environmental economics, experimental economics, and decision making under risk and uncertainty. He has recently worked on studies on the interdependence of wildfire risk among homeowners living in the wildland urban interface and on the economic evaluation of river restoration projects. He was also instrumental in starting up an experimental economics lab at Cal Poly and is actively involved in running and conducting research through the lab. His recent experimental work concerns individual preferences for self-protection against risk, in isolation and in non-cooperative games. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Engineering and B.S. in computer science from Cornell University.


Patric R. Spence, Communications, Western Michigan University

Patric R. Spence (Ph.D) is Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Western Michigan University. His research focuses crisis and risk communication, examining audience perceptions of risk and emergency messages produced by emergency management, organizations, government and news agencies. Specifically, looking at how these messages motivate various publics to take action in light of perceived threats during the lifecycle of a crisis. Other research examines how the physical and psychological needs of underserved populations are handled in the context of public health events and disasters; industry response, and the role of new media in disaster preparation, response and recovery. He has written widely on the issues of race and class surrounding Hurricane Katrina and issues of gender and information seeking in disasters.

His research has recently been cited in the National Consensus Statement on Integrating Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities into Public Health Emergency Preparedness, released by the Office of Minority Health, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He also works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent work has been published in Communication Research Reports, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Black Studies, the Howard Journal of Communication, Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods, the Journal of Emergency Management, Journal of Radio and Audio Media, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, and Sociological Spectrum. Recent book chapters can be found in Through the Eye of Katrina: Social Justice in the United States (Carolina Academic Press), Minority Resiliency and the Legacy of Disaster (Forthcoming, Edwin Mellen Press) and Interracial Communication: Contexts, Communities, and Choices (Forthcoming, Kendal/Hunt).

Yang Zhang, Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech

Dr. Yang Zhang received his doctoral degree in Urban and Regional Science from Texas A&M University. He is currently an assistant professor of urban planning at Virginia Tech. Dr. Zhang is interested in natural hazards mitigation, post-disaster redevelopment, and sustainable urban form. He also has expertise in Geographic Information System (GIS) and planning support systems. His research has both domestic and international focuses.

In the US, he studied housing recovery, hazard mitigation policy implementation in Miami-Dade County, FL. He is involved in developing algorithms for MAEViz, a scenario-based seismic risk assessment system which provides models to estimate physical damage, economic losses, transportation disruption, population dislocation, sheltering needs and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies. Currently, he is looking at land market feedbacks of flood mitigation policies in the United States. Internationally, his current research looks at redevelopment and housing reconstruction after the 8.0 Earthquake in Sichuan Province.

Yang Zhang has worked research projects for Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M University, the Mid-America Earthquake Center of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the Beijing Urban Planning Commission (China).

Jun Zhuang, Industrial and Systems Engineering, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Jun Zhuang is an Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He has been a faculty member at SUNY-Buffalo since he obtained his Ph.D. in summer 2008 from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Zhuang's long-run research goal is to integrate operations research and game theory to better prepare for, mitigate, and manage both natural and man-made hazards.