Meet the Housner Fellows and take a look at their projects

Welcome to the first post in the Housner Fellows blog. This blog has been developed for the 2012 Fellows. Here you will be able to follow their progress on their projects. Brief descriptions of these projects follow:

Group Picture Kate Stillwell leading a discussion
Group photo of the Housner Fellows with Lucy Arendt at the EERI Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee. Front Row: (Left) Lucy Arendt, Lindsey Maclise, Kate Stillwell, Hassan Mdala, Carlien Bou-Chedid, Vivek Rawal. Back Row: (Left) Syed Ali, Danielle Hutchings, Cale Ash. Kate Stillwell leading a discussion at the Housner Institute held in Asilomar, California, June 16-21.



Toolkit for Earthquake‐Safe School Construction: Best Practices and Identification of Barriers

This project will produce a set of resources for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure earthquake safety in the construction and renovation of school buildings worldwide. Fellows will partner with various NGOs who build schools in developing countries and need clearer seismic guidelines to provide for school safety. While some resources are currently in existence in various forms, they do not meet all the needs of the NGOs building schools, particularly in developing countries. In particular, there is a need to identify and remove barriers that prevent schools from being built with earthquake resistance. The Fellows will serve as a bridge between partner NGOs and industry-developed documents and resources.


Syed Mohammed Ali, GFDRR—EERI Fellow

Ali is working on a component of the Concrete Coalition Project of EERI in which he: (a) leads the EERI student chapter in Peshawar in contributing field data to the project regarding RC buildings that were damaged during the major 2005 Pakistan earthquake; and (b) meets with various stakeholders to identify policy issues that circumvent design and field implementation.

Cale Ash

For his individual project, Cale is taking an active role within EERI by serving as chair of the 2013 Annual Meeting Local Organizing Committee. The meeting, by developing a regionally-relevant program and attracting key stakeholders, can advance the conversation with regards to earthquake risk and mitigation options. By serving a key role for EERI, he will demonstrate that younger members can contribute to the institute’s activities.

Carlien Bou-Chedid, GFDRR—EERI Fellow

Carlien’s project will seek to introduce confined masonry construction for use in Ghana. The aim will be to reach all those who may be involved in the construction of homes and educate them on the right way to build for earthquakes. Those to be targeted will include potential home owners, artisans, technicians and building professionals. An Illustrated Guide will be prepared by adapting information contained in existing documents on confined masonry construction. A 15 minute Documentary/ Training Film will also be prepared on confined masonry construction.

Danielle Hutchings

Danielle’s project will build a local government toolkit to improve community resilience. Local governments recognize the importance of planning for earthquakes but limited resources and small staff make this a challenge. San Francico Bay Area elected officials have asked for direction on specific actions and policies they can implement now to improve their resilience. Local governments also want identification of specific actions they can take after an earthquake to more quickly recover and prepare for future earthquakes. These actions and policies include simple, concrete items such as sample ordinances, checklists, best practices, and lessons learned from recent earthquakes and other disasters.

Lindsey Maclise

Lindsey’s project is part of a larger collaborative Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls. Teachers Without Borders (TWB), in conjunction with EERI, USGS and GEM, is developing a “Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls” Program to educate young girls in developing nations subject to seismic events. The initial phase of this project will develop teaching tools and a curriculum for educating the girls in the classroom. Following this initial phase, the girls will go out into their community for hands on research; including documentation of the various building types in their neighborhoods. Lindsey’s role will be to lead the curriculum development portion of the project for EERI.

Hassan Mdala, GFDRR—EERI Fellow

Hassan’s individual project will be to develop a series of Earthquake Safety Posters in English and his local language. These posters will build on recently-prepared (by the Malawi Geological Survey Department) Earthquake Safety Guidelines that are being distributed to the responsible government departments and non-governmental organizations. Most of the people in Malawi know nothing about earthquake safety issues, so by presenting basic information in pictorial form, Hassan hopes to begin to increase awareness of the earthquake risk in his country.

Vivek Rawal

Vivek’s individual project is to develop a web portal and online academy for seismic safety. He is proposing to set up an online web-based educational initiative that can bring high quality short training videos to a large number of engineers in developing countries who do not have resources or access to such high quality teaching.

Kate Stillwell

Kate’s project will further develop an earthquake ratings system for buildings, by facilitating issuance of pilot ratings and proposing a rating system for houses. In 2011 the US Resiliency Council ( was founded as a vehicle for implementing earthquake ratings (as part of their “CoRE” ratings). USRC is modeled after the US Green Building Council: it does not generate ratings itself, but rather accredits professionals to generate ratings and then issues / certifies those ratings. Kate’s project includes key startup tasks necessary for ratings and the USRC to become established.