Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Hurricane Maria Team

 

 

 

jmain_cropped.jpg

Joseph Main (Lead)

Dr. Joseph A. Main is a research structural engineer in the Structures Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He completed his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2002 and joined the Structures Group in January 2005 as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate. Dr. Main's research interests relate to the evaluation of structural performance under extreme loads, including wind, fire, and local damage scenarios. Dr. Main serves as Team Lead for the NIST Hurricane Maria Program, and Lead Technical Investigator of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) investigating the impacts of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. He also leads an NCST project focused on the performance of critical buildings in Hurricane Maria.

Full Bio


 

mdillard_cropped.jpg

Maria Dillard (Associate Lead)

Dr. Maria Dillard is a Research Social Scientist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Community Resilience Group and serves as Acting Director of NIST’s Disaster and Failure Studies Program. Her research is focused on community response to hazards and chronic stressors and the development of methods for measurement and modeling community resilience, recovery, well-being, and vulnerability. Dr. Dillard serves as Associate Team Lead for the NIST Hurricane Maria Program and Associate Lead Technical Investigator of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) investigating the impacts of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. She also leads a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project in the Hurricane Maria Program that examines the recovery of the services provided by schools and hospitals and the role of these social institutions in the recovery of communities following disasters. 

Full Bio


 

Regina Avila

Regina Avila is a Digital Services Librarian and Data Librarian at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. She joined NIST in 2009 to implement the agency’s NIST Digital Archives, leading a team in the digitization and preservation of the agency’s publications. Since then her duties have included leading a library team to investigate research data management services. As a Data Librarian, she successfully collaborated with NIST's IT department and laboratories in curating and publishing research data including the development of tools to create data management plans, the NIST enterprise data inventory, and data documentation. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Ms. Avila supports data management and curation activities.

Full Bio

 


 

Dereka Carroll-Smith

Dereka Carroll-Smith

Dr. Dereka Carroll-Smith is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the NIST PREP program at the University of Maryland-College Park. She also holds a joint appointment as a Program Coordinator and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Atmospheric Sciences at Jackson State University, and as a Visiting Scientist in the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology division at the National Center of Atmospheric Research. Dereka received her B.S. in Meteorology from Jackson State University in 2012, her M.S. in Atmospheric Science from Purdue University in 2014, and her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. Her research interests include extreme weather and climate modeling, along with severe weather risk and human impacts modeling. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Carroll-Smith is involved in an NCST project focused on the multi-hazard characterization of Hurricane Maria’s impacts, including the challenges associated with measurement of extreme rainfall during the hurricane. 

 


 

Joel Cline

Joel Cline

Joel Cline is the Coordinator for the Tropical Program at the National Weather Service (NWS) Headquarters. He has worked for the National Hurricane Center in Miami for nine hurricane seasons, including Hurricane Andrew, and for several years at a Weather Forecast Office in Raleigh, NC, all as a lead forecaster. Joel was a forecaster for the 1999 World Games of the Special Olympics, the 2001 World Cup, and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympics in Salt Lake City. He was a project manager for Operational Weather Services for the NWS Pacific Region and worked with wildfire crews while forecasting on site, and he led the tropical program and tsunami services after the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami. He has also led the DOE Renewable Energy effort to improve forecast models on the same scales for wind, solar and water energy efforts. Joel holds two BS degrees from NC State University in Meteorology and Computer Science, two MS degrees from University of Miami in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, and an honorary Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. He is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) for the NIST Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria’s Impacts on Puerto Rico. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Joel is involved in an NCST project that focuses on investigating the role of emergency communications in public response for those under imminent threat, and he is also contributing to an NCST project focused on hazard characterization for Hurricane Maria.

 


 

bdavis_cropped.jpg

Benjamin Davis

Benjamin Davis is a Management and Program Analyst in the Disaster and Failure Studies Program in the Materials and Structural Systems Division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He graduated with his MBA from Florida A&M University and joined NIST in 2015.  Ben serves as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) for the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Advisory Committee, which advises NIST on how to execute the NCST Act. As a member of the  National Construction Safety Team under the Hurricane Maria Program, Ben provides project management, communications, and contract management support for the Hurricane Maria Program. 

Full Bio


 

jdukes_cropped.png

Jazalyn Dukes

Dr. Jazalyn Dukes is a Research Structural Engineer in the Earthquake Engineering Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Her research interests include probabilistic analysis methods, finite element modeling, seismic retrofit of structures using fiber reinforced composites, and multi-hazard reconnaissance studies. Dr. Dukes is also a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) for the Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria’s Impacts on Puerto Rico. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Dukes is involved in an NCST project characterizing the performance of critical buildings and a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project focused on distributed infrastructure. 

Full Bio

 


 

Zeinab Farahmandfar

Zeinab Farahmandfar

Dr. Zeinab Farahmandfar is a Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) research scientist in the Community Resilience group and NIST Hurricane Maria Research Investigation team in the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Farahmandfar’s research encompasses the areas of multi-hazard resilience of underground infrastructure and optimal planning and operation of integrated infrastructure systems. With a primary focus on water supply systems, her research interest is focused on the development and validation of strategies for making underground infrastructures more resilient. She is also interested in modeling the interdependencies between different infrastructure systems to enhance their collective resilience against natural and man made hazards. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Farahmandfar conducts research on infrastructure-related aspects as part of a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project.

Full Bio

 


 

kharrison_cropped.jpg

Kenneth Harrison

Dr. Ken Harrison is an Operations Research Analyst in the Community Resilience Group in the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  Dr. Harrison's research at NIST involves the development of models and decision-support tools for community resilience planning.  Dr. Harrison is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) for the Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria’s Impacts on Puerto Rico. Dr. Harrison also leads a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project in the Hurricane Maria Program that examines the impacts to recovery of distributed infrastructure supporting critical buildings and emergency communications.

Full Bio


 

helgeson_cropped.jpg

Jennifer Helgeson

Dr. Jennifer Helgeson is a Research Economist in the Applied Economics Office of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She currently leads the office's work on the "Economics of Community Resilience Planning."  Her research interests are focused around survey assessments and economic analyses that consider behavioral aspects and approaches to dealing with environmental issues. Dr. Helgeson is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria and its impacts on Puerto Rico. Dr. Helgeson also leads National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project in the Hurricane Maria Program that examines the impacts to and recovery of small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), and retail and service industries.

Full Bio


 

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

Dr. Katherine Johnson (Jo) is a Social Scientist and Earthquake Risk Mitigation Policy Analyst in the Earthquake Engineering Group within the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Johnson is a natural hazards social scientist with experience in a long-term collaborative project to build resilience in a rural and low-lying coastal social-ecological system on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Johnson leads an NCST project that focuses on investigating the role of emergency communications in public response for those under imminent threat. She also contributes to a NCST project characterizing the performance of critical buildings.

Full Bio


 

thomaskirsch_cropped.jpg

Thomas Kirsch

Dr. Thomas Kirsch is the Director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) and a Professor of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He is a board-certified emergency physician and expert in disaster management and science, austere medicine and health care management. He comes to NCDMPH from Johns Hopkins University where he was a Professor of Medicine (Emergency Medicine), Public Health (International Health) and Engineering (Civil Engineering). Dr. Kirsch is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria and its impacts on Puerto Rico. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Kirsch is assessing the technical conditions associated with deaths and injuries that resulted from Hurricane Maria.

Full Bio


 

kuligowski_cropped.jpg

Erica Kuligowski 

Dr. Erica D. Kuligowski is a research social scientist in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fire 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. Previously, Dr. Kuligowski served as Team Lead for the NIST Hurricane Maria Program, Lead Technical Investigator of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) investigating the impacts of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, as well as leader of an NCST project that focuses on investigating the role of emergency communications in public response for those under imminent threat. 

Full Bio


 

levitan_cropped.jpg

Marc Levitan

Dr. Marc Levitan researches tornadoes and hurricanes, their impacts, and mitigation for the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP), a multi-agency program whose purpose is to achieve major measurable reductions in the losses of life and property from windstorms. Dr. Levitan served as the first Director (Acting) of NWIRP, from 2015-2018.  He was also the Lead Investigator for the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Technical Investigation of the 2011 Joplin Tornado. He currently leads implementation activities for many of the recommendations resulting from these tornado studies.  Dr. Levitan is a member of the National Construction Safety Team Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria and its impacts on Puerto Rico. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Levitan is characterizing the wind environment and studying the performance of critical facilities, such as hospitals, schools and shelters, under two NCST projects. He is also studying the causes of the loss of functionality and extended-duration outage of the wireless communication system under an NWIRP project.

Full Bio


 

NIST/Loerzel

Jarrod Loerzel

Jarrod Loerzel is a Research Social Scientist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Community Resilience Group. Mr. Loerzel holds a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and a Master of Public Administration from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Mr. Loerzel is involved in an NWIRP project characterizing the performance of critical buildings and a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project that examines the recovery of the services provided by schools and hospitals and the role of these social institutions in the recovery of communities following disasters.

Full Bio


 

Photo of Keith Martin

Keith Martin

Keith Martin is a Librarian at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Research Library, where he serves as a liaison to the NIST Engineering Laboratory. Mr. Martin has a M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons University and joined NIST in 2001. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Mr. Martin provides customized research to support the information needs of the Hurricane Maria team.

Full Bio


 

judithmr_cropped.jpg

Judith Mitrani-Reiser

Dr. Judith Mitrani-Reiser is the Associate Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (Engineering Laboratory) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Division includes four research groups: Community Resilience, Earthquake Engineering, Structures, and Infrastructure Materials. The Division also houses three statutory programs: National Construction Safety Team (NCST), National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). Mitrani-Reiser provides leadership in the development and coordination of statutory processes for making buildings safer as authorized by various statutes, including the NCST, NWIR, and NEHR Acts. She manages and provides oversight on building failure investigations and coordinates work with other Federal agencies to reduce losses in the United States from disasters and failures of our built environment.

Full Bio


 

C Rivas

Cynthia Rivas

Cynthia Rivas is a geographer in the Structures Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Ms. Rivas is a Ph.D. candidate from the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration and the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware, where she earned a geographic information systems (GIS) certificate. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning and a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies and Society and Environment from the University of California, Berkeley. She provides geospatial support and expertise for the Hurricane Maria Program, including the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria’s impacts on Puerto Rico.

Full Bio


 

Alfredo Henriquez

Alfredo Roa-Henriquez

Dr. Alfredo Roa-Henriquez is a Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Economist in the Applied Economics Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He works closely with NIST’s Community Resilience Group and the Recovery of Business and Supply Chains’ project that is part of the Hurricane Maria Program. His research interests are focused on the economic analysis of resilience by considering post-disaster actions that lead businesses and government to minimize the negative impacts associated with natural hazards and to hasten recovery thereafter.  This work employs survey research and econometric tools for measurement and modeling post-disaster actions, recovery, and economic resilience. The research aims to provide a standard structure to assess impacts of investments, strategic choice or implementation actions in the resilience and recovery post-disaster.

Full Bio


 

rodzik_raphaelle

Raphaelle Rodzik

Raphaelle H. Rodzik is a Project Coordinator with the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) responsible for a range of research and educational projects, including work in school age trauma training and hospital systems modeling. Prior to joining the National Center, Ms. Rodzik worked for three years as an Epidemiologist II in Communicable & Environmental Diseases and Emergency Preparedness at the Tennessee Department of Health, specifically with the Healthcare Associated Infections & Antimicrobial Resistance team. From 2010-2015, Ms. Rodzik worked at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Emergency Medicine as a Senior Research Program Coordinator. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Ms. Rodzik supports the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) project characterizing the technical conditions associated with deaths and injuries that resulted from Hurricane Maria.

Full Bio


 

sweaver_cropped.jpg

Scott Weaver

Dr. Scott J. Weaver is Director of the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) in the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NWIRP is a federal interagency science-based program focused on achieving major measurable reductions in the losses of life and property from windstorms, by leveraging the latest science and best practices from across the federal government, academia, and the private sector. Weaver also holds an appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland, and is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria and its impacts on Puerto Rico. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, he is involved in an NCST project focused on the multi-hazard characterization of Hurricane Maria’s impacts, including the technical conditions associated with the wind environment and other hazards, such as rainfall, flooding, storm surge, and landslides.

Full Bio


 

emilywalpole2018.jpg

Emily Walpole

Dr. Emily Walpole is a research social scientist in the Community Resilience Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Walpole holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, (specifically, working within The Environmental and Social Sustainability Lab). She also holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park in Environmental Science and Policy. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Walpole is involved in a National Construction Safety Team (NCST) project that focuses on investigating the role of emergency communications (among other factors) in public response for those under imminent threat from Hurricane Maria.

Full Bio


 

dyeo.jpg

DongHun Yeo

Dr. DongHun Yeo is a research Structural Engineer in the Structures Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His present research includes Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and wind tunnel testing for structural engineering applications, uncertainty quantification in experimental and numerical simulations, structural reliability, advanced design of high-rise buildings for wind, extreme wind climatology, and fluid-structural interactions. Dr. Yeo is a member of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST). Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Yeo is the leader of an NCST project focused on hazard characterization, including investigation of topographic effects on the wind environment using CFD, wind tunnel studies, and field measurements. He is also involved in an NCST project focused on the performance of critical buildings in Hurricane Maria.

Full Bio


 

Camila Espina

Camila Young

Camila E. Young is a Research Social Scientist in the Structures Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Ms. Espina is a Mass Communication Ph.D. candidate from the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.  She holds a Master of Arts in Media Studies from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, and a Bachelor of Arts in Information and Journalism from the School of Public Communication at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Mrs. Young is involved in a National Construction Safety Team (NCST) project characterizing the performance of critical facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and shelters. 

Full Bio


 

Tingting Zhao

Tingting Zhao

Dr. Tingting Zhao is a PREP Fellow and Research Scientist in the Community Resilience Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) focusing on critical infrastructure resilience, including transportation, water distribution, and power systems. Her research interests include infrastructure system modeling and simulation, interdependent critical infrastructure resilience, transportation system design and operational optimization, leveraging mathematical programming, simulation-based optimization, and machine learning technologies. Within the Hurricane Maria Program, Dr. Zhao conducts research as part of a National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP) project characterizing the performance of critical infrastructure and investigating countermeasures to enhance community resilience through preparedness and restoration.

Full Bio

Contacts

Media Contact

Created October 25, 2018, Updated May 27, 2020