Our Team

Lauren Clay, PhD, MPH, Principal Investigator

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Her research focuses on individual, household, and community recovery from disasters. She has studied Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, and Florence, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the 2013 Moore, OK tornadoes, and the Camp Fire among other disasters and public health emergencies. Her expertise is in disaster disruption to the local food environment and food insecurity. She has a PhD in Disaster Science and Management from University of Delaware, an Master of Public Health from Drexel University and a Bachelor’s degree in History & Leadership and Global Understanding from La Salle University.

Kerstin Schreiber, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

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Dr. Schreiber is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Emergency Health Services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds a PhD in Geography from McGill University, an M.Sc. in Urban Studies, a B.A. in Business Administration and completed a summer school program on Urban Food Systems at the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests include food systems vulnerability, food supply chains, qualitative research methods, and sustainability.

Hilary Budzinski Betley, Graduate Research Assistant

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Hilary is a PhD student in Public Policy with a specialization in Emergency Management. She is a graduate of UMBC’s Emergency Health Services Department where she earned a B.S. in Emergency Health Services Management and a M.S. in EHS Administration, Planning, and Policy with a post-baccalaureate certificate in Emergency Management. Her research interests include disaster response and recovery from extreme weather events. Hilary has interned with the Emergency Management Coordinator at the NIH Clinical Center Hospital. She is also a research assistant in the Department of Economics and working with UMBC’s Sloan Scholars Program, funded by a $1.3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to engage underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities and prepare them for doctoral programs in economics. ​Hilary is proud to serve as an administrative officer and an Emergency Medical Technician with the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department.

Jon Hunter-Cevera, Graduate Research Assistant

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Jon is a 4th year PhD student in Public Policy with a Sociological background. His research interests include social determinants of health, cross-national health, welfare states, sociology of mental health, health and social policy, and emergency management for COVID-19. He is a graduate of the Applied Sociology Master’s program of UMBC’s Sociology Anthropology and Public Health department. During his graduate career he has worked on community-based participatory research projects including need assessments and creating logic models for the Curtis Bay, Baltimore community. He has also worked on a pedagogical study that introduced an ethics curriculum into a first-year computing course.

Nyla Howell, Undergraduate Research Assistant & McNair Scholar

Nyla Howell, originally from Prince George’s County, Maryland, is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). As a UMBC Ronald E. McNair Scholar, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Environmental Systems and Sociology. Thus far, Nyla has interned at her county’s Office of Emergency Management and FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division and served as a co-chair of FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council. Throughout these experiences, Howell developed a deeper interest in hazard preparedness, social vulnerability, and community resilience. During her undergraduate studies, she has had the opportunity to engage in business climate resilience research at Rutgers University and she is a research assistant in the Disaster Health Research Lab. In summer 2023, she participated in the NSF Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic Prosperity & Resilience (CHEER) Hub led by the University of Delaware and East Carolina University as part of the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. In the future, Howell hopes to pursue a Ph.D. focusing on hazard studies and work with historically underserved communities to promote equitable hazard preparedness and community resilience programs.

Antonio Holmes, Undergraduate Research Assistant & McNair Scholar

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Antonio is a rising senior, majoring in Biology and Statistics with a minor in Emergency Health Services. In summer 2023 he participated in a NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at University of Georgia in Dr. Zhao’s lab studying genomic and epigenomic changes occurring during cancer initiation and progression. The overall goal is to develop a cancer vaccine and Adoptive T Cell Therapy. Antonio plans ot pursue an MD-PhD. His career goal is to be a physician-scientist studying Cancer Biology and to have a clinic. He holds a Chromebook Data Science Certificate and a Search & Rescue Manager Certificate. Antonio is an EMS provider and is a Sherman Scholar and a McNair Scholar at UMBC.