I am a fifth-year PhD student at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs at Princeton University. I am fascinated with coastal floods and how societies respond to them.
I am currently researching the political process that precedes breaking-ground on large flood defenses that seek to keep water out of cities during coastal storms. For example, New York City has been examining multiple flood defense options in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (2012), including multi-billion dollar storm surge barriers. But after nearly 7 years of deliberations over which project(s) to build, no major effort to address flooding has broken ground, even in the presence of substantial federal funding. To better explain this outcome, I am examining past experiences dealing with large structural coastal flood mitigation efforts, as well as other types of large infrastructure built along the coastline (e.g., the Westway Highway project in New York City).
Despite strong evidence showing that flood defenses are good long-term investments in developed areas, actual implementation of strategies to reduce flood risks in the U.S. have been modest. My career goals are 1) to help close this coastal flood protection “gap” by providing policy and politics lessons learned from analogous experiences with other efforts to reduce long-term risks and 2) continue to create tools based on the latest science to help stakeholders make decisions under uncertain future sea-level rise. My hope is that these efforts will lead to planning that saves money and protects human lives.
In addition to belonging to the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE) at Princeton University, I am a member of the Rutgers Earth System Science & Policy Lab and Climate Impact Lab.
I am a contributing author of American Climate Prospectus: Economic Risks in the United States. I previously was a research fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). I also served as an air pollution engineer at both the California Air Resources Board and Ramboll.