Crawford Defends Dissertation

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Shane Crawford successfully defended his dissertation, “Econometric Modeling Framework for Measurement of Resilience Dimensions and Enhanced Spatiotemporal Data Collection Tools to Support Resilience Models,” in August and will officially graduate in December with a doctorate in civil engineering. He has accepted a post-doctoral research position at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins where he will work for roughly four months before moving to the National Institute of Standards and Technology to work as a post-doctoral researcher.

In his work with Dr. Andrew Graettinger in the College of Engineering, he has worked with Colorado State and NIST researchers in the past and will continue to build those relationships as he works directly with them. Crawford will continue to pursue community resilience research which looks at the rate and standard of recovery after a natural disaster takes place. Previous research has collected qualitative data, Crawford’s specialization looks to collect quantitative data that can be used to inform future recovery efforts.

“I’ve had the great opportunity to work in the GIS research lab that is well-funded and we have this equipment that we can learn new methods for analysis,” Crawford said. “About half of my dissertation was updated data collection methods using new technology.”

Crawford’s dissertation focused on filling the gap in resilience measurement science and defining the standards that researchers use to determine recovery. He helped develop a way to take a theoretical resilience curve that has been used in previous literature and applied numbers to it that created empirical curves for Tuscaloosa post-2011 tornado. He then used econometric models, a form of regression analysis, to correlate characteristics of the community with those measurements.

“Natural disaster research collaboration was key to my research and working outside of engineering to find ways for engineering and insurance to work together and figure out how to account for the interrelated parts of the two domains has been really beneficial,” Crawford said.

The Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research funded Crawford’s assistantship to further drive the center’s mission to fund and participate in research relating to improving insurance conditions for Alabama residents. Catastrophe research like Crawford’s will help inform future building codes and construction standards to lessen the effect of natural disasters on the state’s infrastructure. This will lessen the impact on insurance companies and reduce the risk of rate increases.

“Shane did an excellent job,” said Graettinger, Crawford’s dissertation advisor and committee chair. “His resilient community research is some of the most interesting and engaging research that I have been involved with. Many students and faculty attended his defense to learn from a true expert in the field of resilient modeling. Dr. Shane Crawford will be an excellent research in the future and I am looking forward to working with him in the future.”

Crawford additionally holds a bachelor’s of science and master of science in civil engineering from the University of Alabama.

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