Meyer Congratulations to CDRA Research Assistant, Michelle MeyerImage of

Congratulations to CDRA Research Assistant, Michelle Meyer

Congratulations to Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis (CDRA) Research Assistant, Michelle Meyer, on the successful defense of her Sociology dissertation!


On Friday, May 17, CDRA Research Assistant, Michelle Meyer, successfully defended her dissertation. Congratulations to Michelle on completing her Ph.D. in Sociology and on her graduation from Colorado State University!


Michelle’s dissertation is titled Social Capital and Collective Efficacy for Disaster Resilience: Connecting Individuals with Communities and Vulnerability with Resilience in Hurricane-prone Communities in Florida. In this research, Michelle drew upon her interest in community disaster resilience and her desire to address social vulnerability concerns.


The dissertation itself explored the relationship between individual and community resilience and social vulnerability in communities that are prone to hurricanes in the United States. The two main concepts of interest—social capital and collective efficacy—grounded the research. To address her primary research questions, Michelle used a mixed method case study approach. This included in-depth descriptive interviews and corresponding explanatory survey work in Leon and Dixie Counties in Florida.


Lori Peek served as Michelle’s dissertation advisor and doctoral mentor. She noted that Michelle’s “innovative research has pushed conceptual boundaries in the sociology of disasters and has helped establish the relevance of social capital and collective efficacy in current resilience research.” Michelle focused on these two concepts because, in her words, they “have the potential to meet the needs of vulnerable populations and they are what makes a community, ‘a community,’ or more than an aggregate of individuals.”


In addition to Dr. Peek, Michelle’s dissertation committee included Professors Mike Lacy (Sociology), Jennifer Cross (Sociology), and Craig Trumbo (Journalism and Technical Communication).


Michelle recently began working for Texas A&M University as a Research Scientist for the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center. Michelle is a Project Manager for a National Science Foundation-funded project focused on mitigation practices and policies among Gulf and Atlantic coast jurisdictions. She is also collaborating with researchers at the Center on other responsibilities such as grant and article writing.


Let’s all congratulate Michelle on her successful dissertation defense, her graduation, and her new job! These are tremendous accomplishments, and we wish her all the best with what promises to be a bright future, indeed!