I arrived to MTU in August 2020 as a geoscientist and science communication specialist wanting to develop into a researcher in disaster risk reduction. I now study how people live with natural hazards with the goal of improving our ability to adapt to our changing environments.
My dissertation examines evacuation processes at Fuego volcano, Guatemala, where Tech has a long history of volcanological and risk reduction research. In 2018, an eruption of Fuego volcano destroyed three populated areas; one evacuated, resulting in no casualties, while two did not, resulting in hundreds of deaths. My work aims to understand information availability, use, and limitations in evacuation decision-making during this deadly eruption and present day. The overarching goal of my research is to decrease risk to communities on the flanks of Fuego volcano through informing improved evacuation practices. The research will also inform forensic disaster research and risk reduction in other contexts as well.
This fellowship will enable me to complete my dissertation in Spring 2023 to start my next chapter, a postdoctoral Mendenhall Fellowship with the USGS Volcano Hazards Program starting in June 2023. I am proud to be joining the ranks of the many other MTU alumni working in the Natural Hazards Mission Area at the USGS. I will be the first social scientist within the Volcano Hazards Program. I am grateful to my supportive, multidisciplinary committee, for which I chose MTU. Thank you to my co-advisors Greg Waite (GMES) and Rüdiger Escobar Wolf (GMES) and committee members Luke Bowman (GMES), Angie Carter (SS), and Kari Henquinet (SS).