rachael lau


I am a dedicated and accomplished PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering, specializing in geophysical disaster modeling, risk, and resiliency – combining classic physics-driven models with remote sensing. With a passion for disaster mitigation, water resources engineering, and promoting equitable entrepreneurship tools for vulnerable populations, I aim to make a significant impact in the field of what she deems “disaster engineering” – working at the crossroads of engineering and policy, contributing to informed decision-making at both technical and governance levels.


My graduate academic journey includes being a 2022 Fulbright Research Awardee and a Rhodes Graduate Fellow in Interdisciplinary Research and my commitment to addressing global challenges is evident in my previous role as a co-founder of the National Academy of Engineering's Call to Action on the COVID-19 Crisis, which I launched in 2020. Furthermore, I have played a pivotal role in fostering international collaboration, co-founding and co-managing a research cohort on geohazard risk and resiliency between Duke University and Tribhuvan University in Nepal, in addition to coordinating initiatives for Engineers Without Borders USA at the state, regional, and national levels.


My professional skills extend beyond engineering, encompassing policy, women's and children's rights, grassroots technology, innovation, and education. My multifaceted background and accomplishments highlight my dedication to the intersection of engineering, social impact, and global resilience.