The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has awarded two $20,000 fellowships to doctoral students at The University of Texas at Austin who are studying the traumatic experiences of people who fled their homes and communities during hurricanes Ike and Katrina.
The fellowship was established in 1995 in memory of Dr. Harry Moore, a professor and sociologist who specialized in disaster studies, especially the aftermath of Texas tornadoes and hurricanes. The Moore fellowships are awarded annually to doctoral students completing dissertations on the human experience in crises caused by natural or other major disasters or, more broadly, stress and adversity.
- Jerry Lord, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology, is studying the impact of Hurricane Ike on Galveston residents through the lens of personal experience. In June 2008, Lord began researching the potential economic and social devastation that a major hurricane could wreak along the upper Texas coast between Galveston and Port Arthur. Lord moved to Galveston to continue his research but was forced to evacuate just three months later when Ike pounded the island.
After his experience, Lord's focus shifted from the potential to the actual destruction caused by a hurricane. At the university's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, he began poring through archives of Moore's studies of Hurricane Carla, which devastated Galveston 37 years earlier. Now, with the help of a fellowship named for an earlier scholar who shared his interest, he plans to complete his dissertation in 2010.
- Megan Reid, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology, is researching federal disaster relief policies and the hardships those policies have created for hurricane evacuees, especially poor minority families. Much of her work is based on two years of interviews with Hurricane Katrina survivors who evacuated to Austin in 2005.
Reid hopes her dissertation will lead to better understanding of how state and social policies can both resist and reinforce inequalities, and also lay the groundwork for more effective social policies to help disadvantaged groups during natural disasters and in everyday life.
The Hogg Foundation was founded in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James Hogg to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation's grants and programs support mental health consumer services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas. The foundation is part of the university's Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.