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Dr. Erica D. Kuligowski

Dr. Erica D. Kuligowski is a fire protection engineer in the Engineered Fire Safety Group of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Kuligowski holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as a B.S. and M.S. in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests are human behavior in fires, people movement, evacuation and wayfinding systems, and computer modeling of fire evacuations. Dr. Kuligowski joined NIST in June 2002 and is involved in the study of occupant evacuation behavior, egress data collection and analysis from buildings, emergency evacuation strategies, and evacuation modeling. 

Dr. Kuligowski was part of two NIST Investigation teams, where she studied the evacuation of building occupants from the 2001 World Trade Center Disaster and performed evacuation modeling to recreate scenarios of the 2003 Rhode Island Night Club Fire. At present, Dr. Kuligowski is involved in a project to collect behavioral and movement data from occupants who evacuated high-rise buildings during emergencies and practice drills.

Dr. Kuligowski worked on her Ph.D. dissertation in Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder on occupant decision-making and behavior performed during the pre-evacuation period of the 2001 World Trade Center disaster. In addition, Dr. Kuligowski is Program Committee Co-chair for the 5th International Conference on Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics, March 8-10, 2010.



Fire Protection Engineer
Fire Research Division
Engineered Fire Safety Group


University of Colorado, Boulder, Ph.D., Sociology, 2011

University of Maryland, College Park, M.S., Fire Protection Engineering, 2003

University of Maryland, College Park, B.S., Fire Protection Engineering, 2001


Phone: 301-975-2309