Global and Sociocultural Studies
My research interests evolved over my career. After completing a doctoral project focused on children born to teenage mothers, my first position at FIU was teaching family and child development courses. I later returned to graduate school, before joining the Sociology faculty at FIU. My research took me to St. Croix to study an emergent movement against domestic violence. While there I became interested in how Hurricane Hugo had affected the island's culture and social structure. I returned to Miami in time for Hurricane Andrew, and thus began a new focus on disaster sociology, especially high-risk populations. Our Andrew work resulted in Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender and the Sociology of Disasters(Co-edited with Walter Peacock and Hugh Gladwin). My focus on gender led to The Gendered Terrain of Disaster: Through Women's Eyes (with Elaine Enarson) and Women and Disaster (with Brenda Phillips). Since retiring from FIU I have continued an active research agenda as a consulting sociologist working, for the most part, with state and federal agencies on projects related to risk communication, community vulnerability, and emergency management, including evacuation behavioral studies.
My current projects include an National Science Foundation-funded project with colleagues from the National Center on Atmospheric Research on Communicating Hurricane Information, a project on Risk Communication with NOAA's Coastal Services Center, an evacuation behavioral study for the Virginia Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Project (with Hugh Gladwin), data collection for the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project (with Jeff Lazo), and a post-storm behavioral assessment for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.