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Camila Young (Fed)

Research Social Scientist

Camila Espina Young (PhD) is a research social scientist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Structures Group, within the Materials and Structural Systems Division of the Engineering Laboratory. Prior to joining NIST, Dr. Young worked as a Journalism Adjunct teaching Communication Research at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. Trained as a Mass Communication Researcher, Dr. Young leverages her mixed-methods skillset to better understand how different aspects of communication impact the way in which people respond to messages and content. Her work seeks to improve risk, crisis, and disaster communication outcomes by incorporating research-based principles and practices.

As part of her dissertation work, Dr. Young employed a multi-method approach to study disaster communication outcomes on social media. She completed a content analysis of Hurricane Matthew tweets to gauge whether and to what extent author and message characteristics impacted the way in which Twitter users engaged with those posts online. She also conducted an online experiment to explore how flood mitigation campaign design choices on social media – specifically concerning content modality and imagery – can impact audience risk perceptions, crisis information seeking and sharing intentions, as well as guidance compliance intentions.

At NIST, Dr. Young works as part of the NIST Hurricane Maria Program. The goals of this multi-year program are to characterize: (1) the wind environment and technical conditions associated with deaths and injuries; (2) the performance of representative critical buildings and designated safe areas in those buildings, including their dependence on distributed infrastructure such as electric power and water; (3) the performance of emergency communications systems and the public’s response to such communications; and (4) the impacts to and recovery of selected businesses, hospitals, and schools, along with the critical social functions that they provide. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Young is involved in the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) project characterizing the performance of critical facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and shelters.

She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia; a M.A. in Media Studies from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York; and a B.A. in Information and Journalism from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her current research interests include the role of visuals in disaster and emergency communication efforts; the social amplification of risk; media effects; and audience perceptions, attention as well as behavior. 


Created August 15, 2019, Updated December 8, 2022