DRC-Disaster Research Center

2005-2006 REU Cohort

2006-2007 REU Cohort

2007-2008 REU Cohort

2008-2009 REU Cohort

2009-2010 Cohort

2010-2011 Cohort

Training the Next Generation of Disaster Scholars: DRC's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site

Principal Investigator: Havidan Rodriguez
Co-Principal Investigator: Joanne Nigg
Program Coordinators:Lauren Barsky and Brittany Scott
Past Program Coordinators: Lynn Letukas
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF,) Department of Defense (DOD), University of Delaware

Program Description

Please note that in the Spring of 2011, after six years as an REU site, the DRC REU program will be suspended until further notice. While we are considering reinstating the program at a later time no firm plans have been made.

Beginning in the summer of 2005, the Disaster Research Center (DRC) at the University of Delaware established a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. The DRC-REU Program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the University of Delaware. The main goal of the program is to engage undergraduate students in hands-on research training and enhance their understanding of the social science aspects of disasters. Each summer, a nine week research training institute is held at the DRC-REU site to provide students with the necessary academic background, training, mentoring and research experiences that will greatly contribute to increase interest in disaster research and strengthen the next generation of social science disaster scholars. REU trainees work with leading scholars and researchers on state-of-the-art research projects that focus on issues such as: risk communication, aspects of vulnerability and resilience, disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, public health and environmental issues in disasters. Students and staff also attend numerous trips that promote education in the disaster field including the Natural Hazards Conference in Boulder, CO, tours of an Emergency Operations Center and the World Trade Center and the Disaster Roundtable in Washington, DC, as well as some recreational activities.

A stipend and all transportation and lodging expenses are included in the REU program. Students traditionally underrepresented in graduate schools, are strongly encouraged to apply. Students should have declared a social science major (e.g., Anthropology, Geography, Psychology, Political Science, Public Health, Sociology or Urban Affairs) and/or completed at least 12 credits in the social sciences. 

REU Objectives

The implementation of the DRC- REU Program is based on the premise that exposure to research training and mentoring is essential for the professional development and growth of undergraduate students. Research focusing on minority students in institutions of higher education has found that research training and mentoring are two key variables that increase both the undergraduate graduation rates and enrollment in graduate programs. The DRC-REU experience will contribute to increasing the talent pool of students in general and minority students specifically in professional, academic, and research institutions in the United States, for the principal investigators and other members of the selection committee intend to ensure that there will be a strong representation of minorities and women as REU trainees such as Latino/a, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asians. Each year, 70% (n=7) of the REU trainees will be selected from institutions of higher education throughout the nation and the remaining 30% (n=3) will be selected from the University of Delaware . DRC graduate and undergraduate research assistants will be working, interacting, and providing guidance to trainees through their active participation in the core research projects. The primary objectives of the DRC-REU are to:

  • Provide undergraduate students with a strong academic program and research experiences focusing on the social science aspects of hazards and disasters

  • Increase the number of students generally and minority students specifically pursuing a Ph.D. in the social sciences.

We will provide the DRC-REU students with a theoretically-based academic program and hands-on research experiences that will allow them to:

  • Enhance research and academic training in social science approaches to hazards, disasters, and terrorism
  • Develop research, methodological, theoretical , analytical, and critical thinking skills
  • Develop knowledge and attitudes that promote responsible and ethical research practices
  • Develop computer and software literacy skills
  • Enhance skills in graduate programs and fellowships in the social sciences
  • Develop mentoring relationships with faculty and student peers
  • Develop and present a research proposal focusing on the study of hazards and disasters
  • Carryout an actual research project under the mentorship of a faculty member
  • Present research findings at regional and/or national scientific meetings/conferences
  • Publish final reports or research articles in an edited volume which will be made available to the general public through the DRC Resource Collection and its web site

For more information about the DRC REU Program browse the Current REU students page and the Prospective REU students pages.