The University of Notre Dame’s Tracy Kijewski-Correa is the Leo E. and Patti Ruth Linbeck Collegiate Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences; and associate professor of global affairs at the Keough School of Global Affairs.

Kijewski-Correa’s research focuses on disaster risk reduction and civil infrastructure challenges posed by increased urbanization and vulnerability. Her interdisciplinary scholarship links science and technology to communities in greatest need, delivering scalable paradigms to enhance the resilience and sustainability of civil infrastructure and inform the decisions of stakeholders such as homeowners, designers, planners, emergency managers and policymakersShe has significant experience working in Haiti.

She returned from her latest trip to Haiti in July and is currently coordinating a response to the earthquake right now as part of interagency collaboration.  Below is an excerpt from a recent piece she wrote for the Keough School of Global Affairs’ blog Dignity and Development on her work in Haiti.

“As a practitioner of disaster risk reduction (DRR) I am at the mercy of time, making patience exceptionally difficult. That tension was underscored as I returned to the Haitian beachfront communities I initially surveyed in a 2016 National Science Foundation project following Hurricane Matthew. Now, nearly five years later, I am advising our master of global affairs students witnessing firsthand the hurricane’s long-term impacts on shock resilience through the Keough School’s Integration Lab (i-Lab)

In a desperate attempt to quantify the elusive notion of shock resilience, I plot points on overly simplified recovery curves. The y-axis neatly projects the figurative gap we must close to restore community functioning to its pre-disaster levels. Unfortunately, the data evident five years later here in Haiti’s Tiburon Peninsula projects a time horizon on the x-axis that is seemingly infinite, in sharp contrast with the risibly short recovery period demanded by short-term aid funding….

In short, work on DRR in Haiti—and in so many countries like it—is a fool’s errand if one fails to recognize, respect, and accommodate these time scales and commit to addressing the factors that create them. The willingness to do so is an invitation to adopt the lens of integral human development (IHD) to consider how a community’s structures and systems interact and even limit the assets available to households for recovery, whether those be the natural, physical and financial assets we so commonly associate with DRR, or the spiritual, social, and political assets that are equally critical to recovery.”

More on her work:

In addition to serving as a core faculty in the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Simulation Center, Kijewski-Correa is serving as the inaugural director of the Structural Engineering Extreme Event Reconnaissance (StEER) network, building on her experiences coordinating responses to the 2017 hurricane season in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to assess the damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Her efforts rallied more than 70 engineers from two dozen organizations who volunteered to assess over 2,600 homes and businesses in the United States, including damage to homes in Naples, Marco Island, and the Florida Keys. She is currently coordinating the response to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, and also has conducted reconnaissance experiences and longitudinal recovery studies following the 2005 Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

When weather threatens communities, Civil Engineering Professor Tracy Kijewski-Correa heads towards them. At Notre Dame, we're fighting to protect our community. What would you fight for? (video