Fulbright-Hays Fellowship awarded to Elizabeth Yarina | News, Sports, Jobs


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Elizabeth “Lizzy” Yarina, from Houghton, Michigan, is one of two PhD students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Architecture and Planning who have been awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Fellowship for PhD Thesis Research. They are MIT’s first honorees in more than a decade.

The scholarship offers PhD students the opportunity to engage in full-time thesis research abroad. The program, funded by the United States Department of Education, is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages ​​and area studies. Applicants plan to pursue a teaching career in the United States after completion of their dissertation. There were 138 people from 47 institutions named scholars for the 2021 cycle.

Yarina is a doctoral candidate in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) and a research fellow at the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. She is currently co-editing a volume on the relationship between climate models and the built environment with a multidisciplinary team of editors and contributors.

She was a research scientist at the MIT Urban Risk Lab, where she was part of a team examining alternatives to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s post-disaster housing systems; she has also conducted research on disaster preparedness in Japan. His award supports his doctoral research under the title “Modeling the Mekong: imaginaries of climate adaptation in the delta regions”, which will include fieldwork in Vietnam, the Netherlands, Thailand and Cambodia.

“Lizzie’s research brings together three dimensions essential to global well-being and sustainability: adapting to the inevitability of ecosystem change caused by the climate crisis; question the equity, relevance and relationality of adaptation planning models spanning North and South; and understand how to develop a sustainable and just climate future,” said Christopher Zegras, Professor of Mobility and Urban Planning and Head of Department at DUSP. “His work will be an important contribution to the long-term health of our planet and communities as they strive to justly adapt to climate change.”

Previously, Yarina was awarded a US Fulbright Fellowship in New Zealand to research spatial mapping and policy implications of Pacific Islander migration to New Zealand.

“My thesis project focuses on climate adaptation planning in delta regions,” she said. “I focus on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, but also examine how the models used in delta adaptation planning move between different deltas, including the Dutch Rhine Delta and the Mississippi Delta.”

Working on her master’s degree at MIT, Yarina earned a teaching fellowship in Singapore where she conducted research on climate adaptation plans in four major cities in Southeast Asia.

“Through this process, I learned about the role of Dutch experts and Dutch role models in shaping climate adaptation planning in Southeast Asia,” she said. “This project expands that work from reviewing a single city to reviewing a delta-scale regional plan.”

Yarina holds a joint Masters of Architecture and Masters of Urban Planning from MIT, as well as a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Michigan.

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