Our RI Team


Dr. Rebekah Paci-Green

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Director and Associate Professor

Dr. Rebekah Paci-Green is assistant professor of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University where she teaches courses in natural hazards planning and disaster risk reduction. She has a background in structural engineering and cultural anthropology. At Western Washington University, she directs the Resilience Institute, where she oversees projects aimed at reducing disasters and enhancing community resilience. Recent projects have included writing the exercise document for Cascadia Rising and developing a plan for regional, coordinated earthquake risk communication. Outside the university, she is also co-director of Risk RED, an NGO devoted to advocacy for disaster risk reduction in the education sector that sits on the UNISDR Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector. In partnership with Save the Children-Australia, UNSECO, Arup, and GFDRR, she has worked with experts and practitioners worldwide to develop global guidelines for community-based approaches to school construction in hazard-prone regions and to assess education sector policies for disaster risk reduction globally. She has also collaborated in the development and piloting of digital apps that assist local, regional and national actors in assessing comprehensive school safety and selecting appropriate interventions. 

Jonah Stinson

Image removed.Adjunct Faculty and Project-Based Research Associate

Jonah Stinson is a physical geographer with an affinity for linking an understanding of landscape patterns and processes with improved sustainability and community resilience. In recent years, Jonah has focused on natural hazards and the use of geoinformatics in disaster risk management and ecological risk analysis. Jonah received his masters in Geography from WWU in 2009 and currently works as a Research Associate with The Resilience Institute and The Institute of Environmental Toxicology. In addition, he holds an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Environmental Studies where he teaches Physical Geography and the History and Theory of Emergency Management. He is currently the Emergency Management specialist for the Bellingham Public School District. 




Research Associates, Assistants and Interns 

2023 Summer Intern

Yashel Kakavand (MA Environmental Studies, expected summer 2024) supported the development of the second survey on Comprehensive School Safety Policy, to be distributed globally in 2024 through the United Nation's Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector. The first CSS Policy survey was conducted in 2017.

2021 Summer Interns

Bryan Benjamin (MA Environmental Studies, Summer 2021) and Jackson Chaplick (undergraduate student studying for a Disaster Risk Reduction minor) researched and drafted a  Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Agricultural Lands Management Plan.

Anna-Min Kellog and Vivien Coop (undergraduate students studying for a Disaster Risk Reduction minor) worked with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Protect Mother Earth Committee to develop community outreach materials around climate change adaptation planning.

2021 Research Associates

Jasmine Ro (BA Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, 2020) and Andrew Mason (BA Environmental Policy with a minor in DRR, 2020) worked with 11 communities in Whatcom County to update the Whatcom County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan for FEMA approval. Work included meeting with communities, editing and updating hazard descriptions, developing hazard maps and conducting hazard exposure analysis.

2018-2019 Undergraduate Research Assistant

Michael Hitchner (BA in Environmental Studies with a minor in Disaster Risk Reduction, 2019) developed a series of icon  for Fiji's comprehensive school safety self-assessment survey as part of a research grant with Save the Children-Fiji and Risk RED.

2017-2018 Research Associates

Recent graduate Anna Miscolta (MA in Environmental Studies) supported an analysis of South-East Asian countries' school safety policies, including the development of 10 global case studies. The work results in reports, presentation and webinar for the Global Alliance for Disasters Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector. Recently graduated Kyle Wunderlin (BA Urban Planning and Sustainable Development with a minor in Disaster Risk Reduction, 2016) and Sabrina Gassaway (BA Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, 2016) and developed the report layout, graphics, and iconography for the research. 

2016-2017 Research Associates

Recent graduate Julian Theburge (BS Environmental Science, 2014) supported the literature review, interviewing of 50 international experts, and an international workshop held in Bangkok to develop a consensus framework for community-based, safer school construction in low- and middle-income countries with high natural hazard risk. Julian also researched and wrote 50 short vignettes and case studies on safer school construction on three continents.

Recent graduate Ryan DeNoyer (BA in Environmental Studies with a Disaster Risk Reduction minor, 2016) worked as the project lead for the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW) to host workshops and draft a regional earthquake early warning messaging plan. 

2015-2016 Undergraduate Research Assistants

Micah VanZant (BS Geology with a Disaster Risk Reduction minor, 2019) and Heidi Gottschall (BS Geology with a Disaster Risk Reduction minor, 2016) supported the development of comprehensive school safety self-assessment survey digital app for Laos, including testing the app and developing screen icons.

2014-2015 Research Associate and Undergraduate Research Assistants

Recent graduate Natalie Boles (BA Geography, 2014) -- with support from undergraduates Karissa Smith (BS Science&Engr, BA Urban Planning and Sustainable Development with a Disaster Risk Reduction minor, 2015) and Tyler Black (BA Geography with a GIS minor, 2014) -- worked as project lead to develop the Cascadia Rising Exercise Scenario, a scenario used to run a full-scale, functional exercise of response capacity. Federal agencies, the military, Washington and Oregon state agencies, local municipalities, non-profits, and British Columbia agencies participated in the exercise, drawing important insights into how to better prepare for and coordinate during a future regional catastrophe. 


Earlier Interns, Research Assistants and Associates

2015-16 Pamela Melton, Andrea Brudnicki, Leah Carlson, Ivy Meadows

2012-2013 Jonny Kemp, Pamela Griswold, Nora Jagielo​