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December 16, 2022

Translating earthquake science into engineering-based risk and loss assessments is an important tool for disaster management decision-making. Expanding that to include metrics related to societal impacts is part of an ongoing USGS Mendenhall Fellowship featured in an article, published by the Natural Hazards Center (NHC), where Fellow Sabine Loos is working in partnership with the USGS.

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Sabine Loos, Mendenhall Fellow

In the article, Loos shares her thoughts on the USGS Mendenhall Research fellowship program and how she is using this opportunity to advance thoughtful, human-centered metrics that expand on the environmental and physical earthquake information provided by the USGS. “Throughout my PhD, I saw how many folks around the world look to the USGS whenever an earthquake happens. I slowly learned about the USGS mission and admired how the Earthquake Hazards Program has been able to develop globally available information while being transparent and open with the methods and data they apply.” Loos is focused on quantifying risk in a way that prioritizes vulnerable communities for more equitable outcomes, more specifically to develop socially equitable earthquake risk strategies and solutions.

Loos highlighted the Mendenhall program as an important vehicle to support this work. “The Mendenhall program is an opportunity to work with USGS scientists and collaborators from academic institutions on research aligned with USGS science strategy and mission. When I learned about it, I knew it could be a perfect opportunity for me use my work to help extend their products in a way that could have tangible impact. While the natural hazards community and USGS have made a ton of progress developing ways to quantify risk, the focus has been on what is easiest to measure without differentiating or acknowledging who experiences those impacts, let alone the important and harder-to-measure effects from disasters,” said Loos. “One of the most exciting parts about our work, though, is that we can incorporate USGS earthquake information users that prioritize vulnerable communities in their work.” 

Loos recently completed a PhD in engineering jointly between Stanford University and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. After completing her fellowship in 2023, she will serve as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Read the full article: Exploring Equity in Risk: A Q&A with Mendenhall Fellow Sabine Loos

Learn more: Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program 

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