Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition

The Natural Hazards Center created the Annual Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition for undergraduate and graduate students in 2004 as a way to recognize and promote the next generation of hazards and disaster researchers.

Papers are judged on originality, writing quality, and knowledge of the topic. One undergraduate and one graduate winner each will receive $250, publication on the Natural Hazards Center website, and free registration to the Natural Hazards Workshop and the Researchers Meeting.

2024 Winners

Gabriella Bellows, Tulane University
Undergraduate Student
After the Earthquake: Institutional Trust and Governmental Performance in Chile and Haiti

Gardiner Brown, University of California, Berkeley
Graduate Student
Vulnerable Populations/Responsible Individuals: Disability and Hurricane Harvey

To see a list of all previous winners, please click here: Student Paper Competition Winners


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

Papers can present current research, literature reviews, theoretical arguments, or case studies. Eligible topics include floods and floodplain management, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, climate change, warning systems, hazard mitigation, emergency management, vulnerability, risk communication, and other topics related to the social and behavioral aspects of hazards and disaster research.

  • The author must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student, or within one year of gradaution, when submitting a paper. Students who are affiliated with the Natural Hazards Center are not eligible to apply.
  • Papers must be authored by an individual student and cannot be co-authored with another person.
  • Papers cannot be under consideration or accepted for publication at the time of submission.
  • Papers presented or submitted for presentation at professional meetings are allowable.
  • Papers must be submitted as a double-spaced Word document, in 12-point Calibri font, and less than 25 pages (~6,500 words) excluding references. Papers that are not formatted correctly or are over 25 pages will be disqualified.
  • Papers must include a brief abstract, no longer than 250 words, that provides an overview of the paper. The abstract does not count toward the page limit.
  • Winning submissions will be edited for Natural Hazards Center style and length before publication.


Papers will be judged for originality and content, as well as writing quality. Well-organized and logical theses or arguments that are engaging, demonstrate the author’s knowledge and ability to integrate a broad scope of resources, and demonstrate strong grammatical and spelling skills will be favored.

The winning author will earn $250, free registration to the Workshop, and a commemorative plaque in addition to having their photo, paper title, and paper abstract featured in the Workshop program.

Academic Integrity

Submissions must adhere to the University of Colorado Honor Code. Students are encouraged to use in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes to reference information sources.


If you have questions about the paper awards, please contact Chair of the Student Paper Competition, Melissa Villarreal