Univ. of New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Shirley Laska is a professor Emerita of Sociology and Founding Past Director of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology at the University of New Orleans (UNO-CHART). Dr. Laska has been conducting applied research on the social/environmental interface, natural & technological hazards, and disaster response for 25 years. Her work includes studies on residential flood mitigation, hurricane response, coastal land loss effects, coastal fisheries, community risk assessment and risk management for coastal hazards, coastal community resettlement engendered by sea level rise, and evacuation of the vulnerable. She has presented her work at National Academies of Science conferences and Congressional committees. Since Katrina her work has been focused specifically on lessons to be learned from the event, especially in the realm of community recovery and hazard resiliency. This work emphasizes Participatory Action Research in both slow onset – coastal land loss and sea level rise -- and abrupt major disaster events – hurricane Katrina and the BP oil leak. She is the 2008 recipient of the American Sociological Association's Public Understanding of Sociology Award for her continuous collaboration with physical scientists and her presentations nationwide on Katrina/Rita impacts, and awards from the ASA Environment and Technology Section and the Rural Sociological Society's Natural Resources Research Group.