SPUR 2022: BUILDING RESILIENCE IN VULNERABLE OLDER ADULT COMMUNITIES FACING INCREASED EXPOSURE RISKS TO WASTEWATER CONTAMINATION FROM FLOODING IN PUERTO RICO

Mentor Name:
Ivis Garcia Zambrana

Mentor Position:
Assistant Professor

Department:
City & Metropolitan Planning

College:
Architecture + Planning

Email:
ivis.garcia@utah.edu


Project Description:

**This project is a part of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), which provides undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. SPUR 2022 begins on May 25 and ends on August 4. If you are interested in this project, please review all program information on the SPUR site. If you wish to apply to this project, you must apply using the SPUR 2022 application.**

The objective of this study is to gather data that will aid in building resilience in vulnerable populations against contamination risks posed by flooding. The underlying hypothesis is that even in vulnerable older adult communities exposed to natural disasters and resulting contamination, community-based risk reduction efforts can significantly decrease risk and increase the resilience of such populations especially when factors such as psychosocial vulnerabilities and the built environment are taken into consideration. Specifically, as researchers we are interested in determining:

  1. What secondary/modifying psychosocial variables affect the vulnerability of older adults to risk posed by contaminant exposure.
  2. Learning how to build resilience in vulnerable communities with older adults.


Opportunity Type:

This is a paid research position


Student Role:

The objectives will be met through a combination of 1) research about flooding and vulnerable communities in the disaster scenario, 2) surveys and interviews to identify the socioeconomic vulnerabilities, social capital, and disaster housing risk and exposure in the impacted community related to flooding, and 3) community-based risk reduction to build resilience in the vulnerable, older adult population within the impacted community via the participation of meetings.


Student Benefits:

Students gain ethical consciousness and awareness of their own worldview as they interact with diverse others and knowledge of local, global, international, and intercultural issues, the connections between them, and the multiple viewpoints around these issues. Categorizing and describing concepts relevant to the study at hand and outline a relationship between them. Students will read, discuss and analyze five articles of relevant theory and/or empirical research. Experience an expansion of their capacity to understand multiple cultural perspectives, including their own identity and values, as they collaborate with others to investigate and address issues pertaining to cultural complexities, environmental sustainability, geopolitical interdependence, inequities, and other topics with local and global implications. Students will write a post-reflection and prepare a final report and public oral presentation where they apply their understanding of interconnected world issues, diverse perspectives, and expanded awareness of self and cultural diversity to collaborate with others in addressing community needs and developing equitable and sustainable solutions.


Project Duration:

35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 25, 2022, and ends August 4, 2022


Minimum Requirements:

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2022 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2022 and not graduating before December 2022; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. U Dreamers with DACA will be hired and paid through U payroll. U Dreamers without DACA who graduated from a Utah high school will be compensated via a different mechanism. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate and will be hired and paid though U payroll. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but we do not currently have a mechanism that allows us to compensate you. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at megan.shannahan@utah.edu or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at the University of Utah, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 25-August 4, 2022). 4) at least 18 years old by May 23, 2022 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing).