FR ALIN E XPLORER SUMMER 2019
THE STUDENTS EACH HAVE THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL PROJECTS UNDER THE THREE RESEARCH THRUSTS
NATURAL HAZARDS AND PHYSICAL IMPACT
During the 2018 fall semester, DRRM VT scholars worked in groups to analyze different research problems regarding certain disasters such as Hurricane Maria and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Although overarching topics may have overlapped, how each group defined the problems within the topic varied just by collaborating across different disciplines. Doctoral students Laura Szczyrba and Duygu Pamukcu conducted their study on housing recovery in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, which they have continued to work on with professors. “We are taking that class project, and we are reworking it for publication,” said Laura Szczyrba. While the program is very dynamic, the students each have their own individual projects under the three research thrusts: natural hazards and physical impacts, socioeconomic impacts and recovery, and stakeholder interaction and engagement.
SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACTS AND RECOVERY
The natural hazards and physical impacts thrust focuses on postdisaster destruction and mitigation strategies through a lens of business and urban affairs. The approach to this research involves using current resources to create projections of future hazard and physical impact, as well as making advancements in overall predictions of hazards. “I want to make uncertainty quantifications so that the decision making can be more accurate and correct,” said Jun-Whan Lee, a Ph.D. student in the DRRM VT, with a civil engineering background. DRRM VT was a match for Lee because of his prior work experience which left him with questions he wanted answered. His research incorporates the natural hazards and physical impacts thrusts through its focus on developing models for tsunamis and storm surge in order to predict hazards not only accurately but also rapidly.
STAKEHOLDER INTERACTION AND ENGAGEMENT
Improving place-based models and using existing data and methods are two approaches that are also used under the socioeconomic impacts and recovery thrust. Under this research thrust, Duygu Pamukcu, an international doctoral student from Turkey with a background in business information technology, focuses on improving risk assessment policies and operations through the use of optimization and simulation. “It is really hard to communicate with non-environmental organizations because they don’t know how to implement theoretical or academic approaches to their study; so, I would like to learn how can I connect with them better,” explained Pamukcu. Although Pamukcu is at the beginning of her research, she is passionate about taking what she learns from her DRRM VT graduate research back to Turkey, where she will try to implement her findings into the disaster management efforts and apply them to inter-organizational communication.