Faculty Fanfare: Yolanda Lin

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UNM Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies Yolanda Lin is part of a team leading a new NSF-funded catalyst center that aims to increase societal resilience to earthquakes through collective impact hazard research. 


Lin is working with the Center for Collective Impact in Earthquake Science (C-CIES) at the University of Texas-El Paso on a recent $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.


C-CIES is an interdisciplinary research center rooted in equity, diversity, and engagement that helps communities prepare for, withstand, and recover from earthquakes and associated hazards. 


The project funds work at more than 10 universities, and the efforts at UNM are focused on implementing a cross-disciplinary approach in order to develop initial steps towards integrated earthquake scenario development in Puerto Rico.


“Earthquake scenarios are important tools for anticipating the potential impacts from specific earthquakes. Scenarios have been used within emergency management communities for response and recovery exercises and as tools to identify potential impacts to built structures and the overall risk in communities,” Lin said.


As part of her work, Lin leads a pilot project within the UTEP grant, in collaboration with Elizabeth Vanacore at University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, and with Kris Pankow, with the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. 


“While earthquake scenarios have been utilized within specific user groups for many years, communicating the importance and impact of the scenarios outside of these specific groups to the wider community is less-well-developed.”


Puerto Rico experienced a significant series of earthquakes in 2019-2020 that caused severe damage to infrastructure, homes, and more.


“Through an integrated approach that spans across earth science, social science, and engineering, I hope this project will provide the groundwork for more community-engaged earthquake scenario development that will help to improve risk communication and risk awareness in regions at risk,” she said.