Hazard Researcher, Dr. Michelle Meyer, Joins IfSC as new Discovery Lead

Date: 1/9/2019

Author: Cassie Oswood, Public Relations Manager

The Institute for Sustainable Communities recently appointed Dr. Michelle Meyer as the new Discovery Lead for Community Resilience. She has also been appointed as the Associate Executive Director of the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center. Dr. Meyer’s research interests include disaster recovery and mitigation, environmental sociology and community sustainability, and the interplay between environmental conditions and social vulnerability. Particularly, she studies inequality and how disaster and environmental settings intersect with structural forces that maintain or transform inequality. She uses the lens of social capital and collective efficacy to theoretically understand how relationships between individuals and between governmental and nongovernmental organizations generate or hinder disaster risk and recovery. Hence, her interests have led her to research expansively on volunteer organizations, volunteerism, and philanthropy in disaster. Dr. Meyer has worked on various research projects including disaster risk perception, nonprofit collaboration for disaster recovery, and evaluation of disaster response plans for individuals with disabilities among many others. She has also worked with over 12 undergraduates on research projects, most of which are from groups 

She aims to generate research that contributes to communities’ capacity to be resilient in the face of environmental threats and do so in an equitable manner. Thus, she regularly collaborates with nonprofit organizations on applied research including T.E.J.A.SGeoHazards International, local long-term recovery organizations, Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN)the American Planning Association, as well as with high school students. 

            Dr. Meyer’s recent projects focus on responses to crisis. The goals of the RAPID: Organizational Development in Response to Crisis project is to research the Cajun Navy movement and the many organizations of volunteers that conduct water-based rescues in disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Dr. Meyer’s team explore the growth of the organizations and their interactions with emergency management to produce more efficient and effective systems of rescue, as well as volunteer motivations, challenges, and opportunities for the future of civilian rescuing. 
          Welcome Dr. Meyer!