Fall 2016
Volume 5 Issue 2

A Message from the Directors

Dear DRC Alums and Friends,

Welcome to the Fall, 2016 DRC Dispatch. Our faculty, staff, and students have been busy over these last few months, with research travel, conferences, and both community and scholarly service.

We are especially pleased with the enthusiasm shown for the Bill Anderson Fund workshop this past weekend. Twenty-three students and faculty visited UD for a packed two days of activities. This was a longtime dream of the late Bill Anderson and we are glad to be collaborating with Norma Doneghy Anderson and his family and friends. Many, many thanks to Russ Dynes, whose gift to DRC helped to make DRC's role in this possible.

DRC faculty, students, and alums were well-represented at several recent conferences, including the Natural Hazards Workshop in Colorado, and the 4th International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction in New Zealand. While DRC is known for its research, the educational and professional development activities of DRC are just as important in helping to build the research enterprise and advance the expertise of the future scholars and policymakers who work on DRC projects.

And we're glad for the work of our student organization, IAEM@UD. They've been busy this year including at our third annual Community Day event and, in partnership with the American Red Cross, in offering training and service opportunities to students at UD.

We hope you'll enjoy this update on DRC's activities, and of course we're always glad to hear from you.

Best wishes,
James Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf

BAF@UD Fall 2016 Workshop

DRC Hosts Bill Anderson Fund Fellows

DRC was glad to welcome students and faculty from the Bill Anderson Fund to the UD campus, and to DRC, this past weekend. The fund was established by the family of revered DRC alum Bill Anderson to carry on his ambition of increasing the number of underrepresented/minority scholars in the disaster field. DRC was pleased to host this recent workshop. Students heard from a panel of practitioners who shared insights on including practitioners in research and entering the applied field as a career. Dr. Erick Jones from NSF and UD graduate student TaLisa Carter discussed the NSF graduate fellows program, researchers shared insight on interdisciplinary collaboration, and mentors led a discussion about turning a paper into a publishable article. Roundtable discussions centered on the academic market, getting the most out of internships, and student engagement. All this, plus quick response training, receptions, and an evening out to see Clybourne Park at the UD Resident Ensemble Players. BAF Fellows also presented their ongoing research during a Friday poster session and a Saturday oral presentation session, sharing the exciting research they are undertaking.

Contributing to the success of this event were DRC staff and students, who handled logistical arrangements for transport, lodging, and meals, and who drove shuttle buses as needed between the various workshop sites.

Bill Anderson and his friends and colleagues have long recognized the need for greater involvement of minority and underrepresented students in this field, who will move into faculty positions and policymaking roles at all levels. The best way to reach this goal is by early engagement and mentoring, and DRC is glad to be involved in this initiative. Read more about the BAF@UD Fall 2016 Workshop in this UDaily article.

Support DRC

Did you know that DRC was able to send 15 students to workshops and conferences in the U.S. and abroad, including:

  • Natural Hazards Workshop in Broomfield, Colorado; 
  • The 4th World Conference on Humanitarian Studies in Ethiopia;
  • The Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and the Society of American Archivists in Atlanta, Georgia;
  • The Joint Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Conservators and the Canadian Association of Conservators in Canada; and
  • The 4th International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction in New Zealand. 
This was in large part due to generous donations we received throughout the preceding year. Help us to continue to advance DRC's mission - educating the next generation of disaster science scholars and informed practitioners.

E.L.Q. Resource Collection


Cross-cultural Collaboration: DRC Welcomes Visiting Scholars

One of the elements that makes the Disaster Research Center a vibrant place for research is DRC's frequent hosting of visiting scholars. Researchers from around the world visit DRC to interact with faculty researchers and graduate students, and more often than not, to utilize the E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection. Over the past 10 years, DRC has hosted over 160 scholars from more than 20 countries, representing five of the seven continents. The Resource Collection not only provides a unique and vast collection of information to visiting scholars, but also benefits from their direct contributions of material. DRC has a strong history of cross-cultural collaboration with non-U.S. researchers, and while the Resource Collection reflects that collaboration through the presence of non-English language material donated by or through visiting scholars, we are always looking to expand this segment of the Collection. Read more about how DRC visiting scholars utilize the ELQ Resource Collection.
Current DRC visiting scholar Xinyuan Wei is a Ph.D. candidate majoring in Administrative Management at Jilin University. She began her year-long stay at DRC in September and, during her time at DRC, will continue her comparative research on Chinese emergency management culture.
Interested in visiting the Disaster Research Center? Learn about the visiting scholar program and apply to be a DRC Visiting Scholar in 2017.

Publications & Presentations

Spotlight: Samantha Penta, DRC Researcher, 
& Sarah DeYoung, UGA Faculty

The forthcoming "Special Issue on the Nepal Earthquake" (also known as the Ghorka earthquake) in the International Journal of Mass Emergencies & Disasters was compiled by Guest Editor and former DRC postdoc, Sarah DeYoung (now an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Disaster Management at the University of Georgia). Daryl Yoder-Bontrager and Samantha Penta, both DRC graduate students, served as Editorial Assistants for the Issue. The final papers selected for the Special Issue include a range of issues that analyze the social, political, and cultural aspects the response, relief, and recovery of the Ghorka Earthquake. 

An upcoming article by Samantha Penta, Sarah DeYoung and Daryl Yoder-Bontrager in the IJMED  Special Issue reports findings from the Disaster Research Center’s quick response field work in Nepal conducted at the end of May and early June following the April 25, 2015 earthquake. The findings are in conversation with the existing body of disaster research, highlighting where they were consistent with existing literature and pointing to areas in which the findings indicated a need for further exploration. The article focuses on four themes that emerged in the data: shifts in organizational activity and structure, psychosocial well-being of people affected by the earthquake, varying definitions of who qualified as a victim, and the roles of chronological and social time in the response and recovery.  There is a need for more research in understanding coordination between organizations, the development and implementation of psychosocial support programs, and the role of caste in shaping response and recovery activity.  Further examination of how social time shapes post-disaster experiences and activity is necessary, as well as how researchers’ concepts of time affect  analyses. Browse DRC Research Projects. Read our special feature in the University of Delaware's Research magazine Volume 6,Number 1, 2016.

DRC faculty and students joined colleagues from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and New Zealand for the 4th International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction. The workshop and site visit took place in Wellington and Christchurch, NZ from Oct 17-19.

Student Achievements


Spotlight: Cynthia Rivas, DRC Researcher & DISA PhD Student

Cynthia joined DRC in June 2014 as a graduate research assistant. Cynthia's main interests are in environmental planning, disasters and geographic information systems/science (GIS). She is currently working on a DRC grant that looks to quantify disaster resilience of critical infrastructure-based societal systems with emergent behavior and dynamic inter-dependencies. The project conducts focus-groups and key informant interviews for health care facilities to determine the factors affecting their decision-making when relocating patients in both pre- and post-disaster situations. Cynthia's GIS work identifies vulnerable locations in hazard prone areas from past woodland urban interface fires to current flooding. In addition, she participated in crowd-source mapping after the Nepal Earthquake in 2015 which helped supply details about damage, visible from satellite imagery, to first responders and humanitarian organizations. Cynthia is a member of the Bill Anderson Fund and participated in the BAF@UD Fall 2016 Workshop. In working with BAF, Cynthia hopes to contribute not only a different perspective, a voice for those currently underrepresented, but also pave the way for future scholars and practitioners in her field.

DRC's graduate students are active in translational research and projects. Follow the Disaster Research Center on Facebook to see more Student Spotlights!

Get Involved with DRC

Alumni Engagement

Alumni are important members of our Disaster Research Center community and DRC ​offers many ways for alumni to stay involved. We encourage alumni to participate in our Alumni Profile Series, share your experience with current students as a guest speaker or host an intern or practicum student. Read about ​DRC alum​ni engagement​​​.

IAEM@UD Student Chapter

In 2016, IAEM@UD brought to campus representatives from emergency management organizations like the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), American Red Cross and Delaware Criminal Justice Council, as well as academics from the Disaster Research Center and representatives from local communities including the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware. To offer different learning settings related to emergency management and field research, IAEM@UD, together with DRC, sponsored a trip to New York City. Students had an emotional and insightful visit to the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, had a chance to visit locations associated with the 9/11 boat evacuation, and heard from former firefighters at the Fire Fighter Museum of New York about their experiences after the disaster and the impact to the agency. As part of IAEM@UD's community service initiative, students partnered with the Red Cross to encourage and prepare UD students and community members to volunteer during local emergencies and disasters. IAEM@UD membership continues to grow, both in size and the disciplines represented! Join, support and participate in IAEM@UD.

Successful Dissertation & Thesis Defenses

The following DRC students successfully defended their dissertations or theses. Congratulations! 
  • Anthony Cario, "Risk Communitation in Local Television News"
  • Ashley Farmer, "Copwatchers: Citizen Journalism and the Changing Police-Community Dynamic"
  • Hans Louis-Charles, "Sovereignty and Natural Hazards: A Study on the Legacy of the United Kingdom's Imperial Practices and Disaster Management Activities of Their Island Possessions"
  • Mary (Maggie) Nelan, "The Social Construction of Disaster Donations: Agility, Adaptability, and Alignment as Success Determinants in Relief Supply Chains"
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