Spring 2018
Volume 7 Issue 1

A Message from the Directors

Dear DRC Alums and Friends,

DRC has had a busy year—with more to come!—and we hope you’ll enjoy this issue of the Dispatch to see what we’ve been up to. 

First, we have some wonderful news to report: DRC will be the home of the Bill Anderson Fund Flagship. The Bill Anderson Fund, named for respected DRC alum Bill Anderson, is dedicated to increasing the number of historically underrepresented students in all aspects of disaster science. This had been Bill’s longtime ambition. The Flagship will work with satellite institutions at other universities to recruit student Fellows and to organize annual workshops and other professional and scholarly development activities. See the Fund’s webpage to learn more.

Additionally, DRC has been active in the field. In the long tradition of quick-response research, DRC fielded research teams to Charlottesville, Virginia, after the riots; to Houston, after Hurricane Harvey, and early this year, to Hawaii, after the ballistic missile false alarm.

Apart from research and teaching, one of DRC ’s missions is public engagement and outreach. Especially during last fall’s trio of hurricanes, we had intensive engagement with the media, sharing information on such topics as warning and evacuation, donations management, emergency response, and community recovery. Some of these outreach efforts—including a Facebook Live interview--drew the attention of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, who visited last fall, meeting with DRC faculty and students and a number of community advocates from the area.

Check out the rest of the Dispatch and, as always, let us hear from you.

Best wishes,
Tricia Wachtendorf and James Kendra

New Horizons in Disaster Research


Defining and Optimizing Societal Objectives for the Earthquake Risk Management of Critical Infrastructure

DRC core faculty Rachel Davidson and Jim Kendra are working with an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional team of scholars to study ways to bolster critical infrastructure resilience, in their project “CRISP Type 2/Collaborative Research: Defining and Optimizing Societal Objectives for the Earthquake Risk Management of Critical Infrastructure.” Critical infrastructure systems, such as electric power and water supply, are vital to the economy, national security, and public health, and therefore must be designed, managed, and operated so they function reliably and efficiently even in the case of an extreme event. The project will provide a scientific basis to help infrastructure managers and policymakers in such crucial functions as emergency planning, retrofit planning, and drafting design codes. The project will help broaden participation in disaster research and practice by providing summer internships for the scholars who are Bill Anderson Fund Graduate Fellows. Read more about active DRC research projects.

The New York Times Magazine




"Quarantelli saw the better side of disasters... He proved that disasters bring out the best
in us."

Disaster Research Center co-founder Enrico L. Quarantelli was featured in The New York Times Magazine special issue "The Lives They Lived." A special thank you to Jon Mooallem for bringing attention to just some of the contributions of this remarkable man who meant so much to the disaster research community and the DRC family.

E.L.Q. Resource Collection


New Acquisitions


The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage Archive

The E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection is pleased to announce the arrival of The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage* (IICAH) Archive, developed in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Art Conservation Department through the work of Art Conservation student Taylor Pearlstein. The IICAH was formed to address critical challenges facing cultural heritage organizations in Iraq with regard to recovering and restoring museum collections that were looted or damaged during the country's recent wars and national turmoil. As part of a larger research effort, Pearlstein compiled the archive to serve as a resource for cultural heritage professionals who may look to the IICAH as a model for long-term, international conservation education. The archive will become part of the Resource Collection and will be available to researchers beginning this summer. To make an appointment to use this archive, or to learn more about the IICAH, visit our Collection Spotlight page on the Disaster Research Center website. 

The Professional Papers of Ollie Davidson

The E. L. Quarantelli Resource Collection recently acquired the professional papers of Ollie Davidson, former disaster preparedness, and operations officer for Latin America, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia for the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. The Davidson papers include many OFDA files and documents from 1978 through 1995, FEMA, OFDA, Red Cross and US Chamber of Commerce documents charting the early history, strategy and organizations involved in disaster-related public-private partnerships, and the development of In-Kind Donation policies and procedures, both international and domestic. This new acquisition will be of great interest to those looking at disaster preparedness, response, and relief issues from an international perspective. Learn more about the E.L. Quarantelli Resouce Collection.

Visit DRC

DRC Welcomes Visiting Scholars 

Hiroaki Daimon is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Human Sciences at Osaka University in Osaka, Japan and has been working with Dr. Joanne Nigg as a visiting scholar since September 2017. His research focuses on altruistic human response following a disaster, specifically on voluntarism in Japan since 1995 and the effort to extend support for post-disaster communities in Japan. While at DRC, he's been investigating volunteerism in the U.S. and whether the concept of “pay it forward” triggers future supports.

Liu Yongkui is a Ph.D. student in Management Science and Engineering at Beijing Institute of Technology in Beijing, China and has been visiting DRC since August 2017. Yongkui’s research focuses on risk communication and risk perceptions in Beijing and the influence of media channel preference on threat perceptions of urban citizens toward hazardous chemicals.

Zhang Jianwei is an Associate Professor in the Department of Labor and Social Security at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, China. Professor Zhang has been at DRC since December 2017 and is working on a comparative study of Chinese and American risk management, assistance, and governance during catastrophes.

Interested in visiting the Disaster Research Center? Click here for more information about the visiting scholar program and apply to be a DRC Visiting Scholar in the academic year 2018-2019. 

Publications & Presentations


The Handbook of Disaster Research, 2nd ed.

DRC is pleased to see the publication of the second edition of the Handbook of Disaster Research, edited by former DRC director Havidan Rodriguez, alum Bill Donner, and core faculty member (and alum) Joseph Trainor. In addition, a number of DRC faculty and alums have contributed chapters, including Jim Kendra, Tricia Wachtendorf, Kim Gill, Lauren Clay, Sarah DeYoung, Rachel Davidson, Brian Monahan, Thomas Drabek, Dennis Wenger, and Gary Webb. Our late but much-revered founder, E.L. Quarantelli, is the lead author on the Crisis chapter with Arjen Boin and Patrick Lagadec, and DRC affiliate faculty member Eric Stern is also a contributor.

The Third Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies

DRC has been well-represented at workshops and conferences this year. The Third Northern European Conference on Emergency and Disaster Studies in Amsterdam was practically a DRC mini-reunion, with faculty, students, and alums in attendance. It’s always good to see old and new friends.
Speaker Spotlight

Tohoku Seminar

DRC and IAEM@UD were pleased to host a visiting research delegation from Japan to speak about recovery efforts since the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami/radiological accident 7 years ago. The delegation was headed by Professor Tomohide Atsumi from Osaka University (who has been conducting research in Noda Village since the events) and consists of: three other professors from different universities in Japan; a citizen who has been actively involved with volunteer response and recovery activities; and DRC's Visiting Scholar, Hiroaki Daimon, who is working on his dissertation on this topic.

DRC Faculty Promotions

Victor Perez, DRC Core Faculty

Congratulations and good wishes to DRC core faculty member Victor Perez, of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, who was promoted to associate professor. Read about the interesting work on environmental justice that he is doing locally

Student Achievements


Spotlight: Diego Otegui, Ph.D. Student, Disaster Science & Management

DISA Ph.D. student Diego Otegui is organizing a panel at the International Humanitarian Studies Association in The Hague, Netherlands in Aug. 2018 on humanitarianism in urban violent settings. The panel hopes to revitalize discussions about underlying assumptions that drive humanitarian practices in slum-like, marginal urban areas in Latin American and their implications on the generation of more efficient and pluralistic mechanisms to reach vulnerable populations living in these contexts. Click here for more information about the panel. The deadline for paper submission is June 1, 2018.  Please email Diego directly with any questions.

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

IAEM@UD Student Chapter

The IAEM@UD Speaker Series in Fall 2017 brought in practitioners and researchers from multiple sectors to engage with students on issues in emergency management. Some of the invited speakers included Leremy Colf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Trudi Cameron-Agnew of Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. This spring, part of IAEM@UD's community service initiative included meeting with representatives of the community of Southbridge in Wilmington about assisting the community to develop further evacuation plans in case of flooding. Join, support and participate in IAEM@UD.

Successful Dissertation & Thesis Defenses

The following DRC students successfully defended their dissertations or theses. Congratulations! 
  • Samantha Penta defended her doctoral dissertation, "Figuring Out The Fixing: Understanding the Underlying Processes for Designing and Implementing Crisis Medical Relief Efforts.”
  • Shen-Chang (John) Lin defended his doctoral dissertation, “Application of GIS in Highway Emergency Response.” 
  • Ashleigh Bothwell defended her thesis "U.S. Cities: Trends of Terrorism and Population."
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