Mary Fran Myers Scholarship

Mary Fran Myers Scholarship Program Impact

Since 2004, the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship has supported Workshop attendance for 55 people. Of those winners, 34 had a background in practice and 21 had a background in research. Nineteen of the 55 were students at the time the scholarship was awarded.

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. Scholarships can cover part or all of transportation, meals, lodging, and Workshop registration costs.

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.


2024 Winner

Olasunkanmi Habeeb Okunolaa Olasunkanmi Habeeb Okunola

Olasunkanmi Habeeb Okunola is a visiting scientist at the United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany. He developed a keen interest in disaster research following his firsthand experience with extreme flood events in Nigeria in 2011. After receiving the Alexander von Humboldt and DAAD Climate Change Research in Africa scholarships, he came to Germany to advance his research on climate change adaptation and community resilience to cascading flood risks. Currently, his research focuses on understanding the recovery pathways and resilient rebuilding processes of communities affected by extreme climate events in Germany and Nigeria.

With over 10 years of experience in the private and public sectors, Okunola is an expert in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. His previous work involved developing and implementing comprehensive disaster management plans, conducting risk assessments, designing resilience-building initiatives, and providing capacity-building training on disaster preparedness, response, and inclusive education in informal settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa. Okunola holds a doctorate in urban and regional planning from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. His doctoral research focused on effective strategies for disaster risk reduction and their implementation in urban areas.


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


Eligibility

The application window for 2024 is Now Closed. Please check back again to apply in 2025.

Hazards practitioners, students, and researchers with a strong commitment to disaster management and mitigation are encouraged to apply. The Natural Hazards Center is supportive of educational opportunities for undocumented people.


20 Year Anniversary of the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship Video


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 Ray Chang and Lisa Jackson with Committee Members Betty Lai and Ponmile Olonilua.


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


Questions?

For questions regarding the scholarship, please email committee co-chairs Ray Chang at ray.h.h.chang@gmail.com and Lisa Jackson at Lisa.Jackson@emv.vic.gov.au.