Mary Fran Myers Scholarship

Mary Fran Myers Scholarship Program Impact

Since 2004, the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship has brought 52 people to the Workshop who could not have otherwise attended. Of those winners, 38 were women; 23 were racial or ethnic minorities; and 18 were from countries outside of the United States.

The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship recognizes outstanding individuals who share Myers' commitment to disaster research and practice and have the potential to make a lasting contribution to reducing disaster vulnerability.

At least one scholarship recipient each year will receive financial support allowing them to attend the Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop. The Workshop will be held virtually in 2021. The winner of this year's competition will have their fees waived to attend the virtual meeting in 2021, and travel and registration to attend the next in-person Workshop will be covered, as well.

Recipients are recognized at the Workshop and will be asked to present a poster or to serve as panelists, where they can highlight their research or practical experiences with hazards and disasters.

As the longtime co-director of the Natural Hazards Center, Myers recognized that many of the people and organizations that could benefit from and contribute to the Workshop—including local practitioners, students, and international professionals—were among those least likely to afford it. The scholarship was established in 2003 to fulfill Myers’ request that qualified and talented individuals receive support to attend, ensuring that representatives of all ages, professions, and communities be represented at the Workshop.

Myers served as co-director of the Center for 16 years until her death in 2004. Reducing disaster loss was her life’s work. During her tenure, she helped to bring about fundamental changes in hazards perspectives and instituted farsighted and sustainable ways of dealing with extreme environmental events. In addition, she provided leadership, guidance, grace, and laughter and established a standard of excellence admired and emulated by her colleagues. She was an innovator, a mentor, and a creative spirit who touched many lives. Her legacy has had a lasting impact on the global hazards community.


Eligibility and Application

Hazards practitioners, students, and researchers with a strong commitment to disaster management and mitigation are encouraged to apply.

For the upcoming competition, applicants must reside in North America and the Caribbean. Eligibility is based on current place of residence, not citizenship. Applicants who reside outside North America and the Caribbean will be eligible for the next open scholarship call. Previous attendees of the Natural Hazards Workshop are not eligible. Preference is given to those who can demonstrate financial need.

This year's application period is now closed.


2021 Mary Fran Scholarship Winner

Denboy Kudejira Denboy Kudejira

Denboy Kudejira was born and raised in Zimbabwe and joined the department of anthropology at Memorial University in Canada as a PhD candidate in 2018. His research centers on the anthropology of natural disasters with a particular focus on natural hazards and humanitarianism. Through his PhD research, Kudejira is retracing Cyclone Idai, which left a trail of destruction in the eastern districts of Zimbabwe in March 2019. He seeks to generate knowledge on the extent to which survivors of the cyclone have benefited from the interventions of providers of humanitarian assistance. Aside from shedding light on how the humanitarian support now being provided to cyclone survivors can be enhanced, his work also endeavors to develop strategies and best practices that can be adopted to improve the coordination of humanitarian assistance in similar situations.

Kudejira draws motivation and inspiration from years of experience working with various international and local humanitarian agencies in southern Africa. Before joining Memorial University, he spent more than fifteen years leading disaster response, food security, public health, and policy advocacy initiatives in the region.

Kudejira also holds a Master of Arts degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, a Master of Philosophy degree in Land and Agrarian Studies from the University of Western Cape in South Africa and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Bindura University of Science Education in Zimbabwe.


To see a list of all previous winners, please click here: Scholarship Winners


Special Thanks

The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship is made possible by generous contributions from numerous individual donors as well as support from:

We would also like to extend additional thanks to the current Mary Fran Myers Scholarship selection committee: Co-Chairs Betty Lai and Ponmile Olonilua, Ray Chang, and Lisa Jackson.


Request for Contributions

The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship provides financial support for recipients to attend and participate in the annual Natural Hazards Workshop to further their research or practitioner career paths. To make a gift, please visit the CU Foundation site by clicking on the link below.

Donate to the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship


For questions regarding the scholarship, please email committee co-chairs Betty Lai at betty.lai@bc.edu and Ponmile Olonilua at Oluponmile.Olonilua@tsu.edu.