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PhD Student, Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Queen's University, Ontario

Dynamic coastal environments, combined with the challenging uncertainties of climate change, often deceive human perceptions of risk, leading to increasingly disastrous consequences. To address this, Laura Szczyrba studies coastal hazards and the societal role in extreme events to better quantify, predict, and communicate risks that threaten communities.

Laura is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s University, working in the Mulligan Coastal Research Group and Dr. Pufahl’s interdisciplinary sedimentology and geochemistry group. She returned to graduate school after witnessing the devastating impacts of flooding during disaster response deployments to Louisiana and Puerto Rico.

Laura recently received her Master's degree from Virginia Tech's Geosciences Department where she studied the building damage caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico using machine learning methods. While at Virginia Tech, she was a scholar in the Disaster Resilience and Risk Management Program and a research assistant in the Center for Coastal Studies. She also holds bachelors degrees in Environmental Sciences as well as Spanish from the University of Virginia. Following undergrad, she worked for a few years on the Coastal Team at Dewberry Engineers Inc., where she contributed to flood hazard mitigation and disaster response projects.


  • –present
    PhD Student, Queen's University, Ontario


  • 2020 
    Virginia Tech, MS Geosciences
  • 2016 
    University of Virginia, BS Environmental Sciences
  • 2016 
    University of Virginia, BA Spanish