I first came to Michigan Tech as a Peace Corps Masters International student in 2005. After finishing my Peace Corps service in El Salvador I returned to MTU in 2010 to complete my thesis on volcano geodesy. I started down the PhD path in the Fall of 2011 in geology but wanted to put a stronger emphasis on “social geology.” My doctoral research focuses on volcano geodesy, risk communication and evacuation behavior. It straddles the interface of geophysics and social vulnerability in an effort to better understand magmatic systems, volcanic hazards, and risk behavior. Under the guidance of Dr. Greg Waite my research has been conducted at volcanoes Pacaya and Santiaguito, Guatemala and has employed both physical and social science methodologies. I use GPS geodesy to measure surface deformation and model magmatic storage locations and plumping systems in volcanoes. I also use structured questionnaire-surveys and statistical methodologies in an endeavor to better understand the causal relationships between volcanic eruptions and evacuation behavior. By integrating both physical and social sciences my aim is improve volcano monitoring strategies and hazard communication to vulnerable populations so that people in at risk communities can make more informed protective action decisions.
I would like to thank the Graduate School and all the benefactors for providing me with financial support through the Finishing Fellowship. This opportunity allows me to focus my energy on completing my dissertation without the stress and worry about where funding comes from. It is truly and honor and privilege to have this support.