Santina Contreras Joins the Knowlton School

The Knowlton School welcomes Santina Contreras as an assistant professor in the City and Regional Planning Section. Her research and teaching focus on the intersection of natural hazards, urban planning and international development. In her work, she explores how participatory processes unfold in complex settings, such as areas exposed to environmental hazards and in developing countries. She has extensive experience in the private and nonprofit sectors working on the design and implementation of housing and post-disaster projects. This has included engaging with diverse communities vulnerable to natural hazards in Mexico, Haiti and Indonesia.

“My pedagogical approach centers on imparting technical and theoretical knowledge, while supporting different modes of student learning,” stated Contreras. “In my teaching I aim to bring my research and professional experiences to the classroom in an effort to encourage students to build strong relationships with the larger world around them.”

Prior to joining the faculty at OSU, Contreras worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the Environmental Design Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In that capacity, she worked on a National Science Foundation funded project examining institutional cultures of ethical practice in university based engineering for development programs. During her time in Colorado, she also served as a Researcher-in-Residence at the Natural Hazards Center.

Contreras is currently working on a manuscript in extension of her postdoctoral work that explores intersections in the understandings and applications of hazard and development related work. In this article she investigates the use of resilience as a tool for bridging conceptualizations of the hazards, humanitarian, and development fields.

Contreras holds a BS (University of California, San Diego) and a MS (University of California, Berkeley) in Structural Engineering. She received her PhD in Planning, Policy, and Design from the University of California, Irvine.

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