Ms Laura Szczyrba

PhD Student, 



Research Focus

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s University, Ontario, working in the Mulligan Coastal Research Group and Dr. Pufahl’s interdisciplinary sedimentology and geochemistry group. I returned to graduate school after witnessing the devastating impacts of flooding during my disaster response deployments to Louisiana and Puerto Rico. Using modeling and remote sensing techniques, I quantify high-energy storm dynamics that threaten coastal populations. Beyond studying the hazard, I value a holistic understanding of community vulnerabilities and impacts. I recognize that these challenges span beyond a single academic discipline and that innovative, integrated solutions require interdisciplinary collaboration.

I received an M.S. in Geosciences and a certificate in Disaster Resilience and Risk Management from Virginia Tech. My master’s research applied machine learning approaches to investigate the physical and social drivers of hurricane damage. My prior degrees include a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Virginia. While at the University of Virginia, my area of research was coastal hydrodynamics. Following undergrad, I worked for a few years on the Coastal Team at Dewberry Engineers Inc., where I contributed to flood hazard mitigation and disaster response projects. I am also a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM).

Research Groups

  • Mulligan Coastal Research Group


  • Disaster Resilience and Risk Management (NSF) -- Quantifying the Role of Vulnerability in Hurricane Damage via a Machine Learning Case Study


  • PhD Student

Global goals

Target 1.5
Target 11.5
Target 13.1
Target 13.3

Professional Organisations

  • Certified Floodplain Manager, American Geophysical Union


  • Canada

Find me online