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Institute of Behavioral Science Room 263
University of Colorado Boulder
483 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0483


IBS Associations

Affiliate, Environment and Society Program

Director, Natural Hazards Center

Affiliate, Population Program

Affiliate, CU Population Center

Skills and Expertise

Hazards, Disasters, Children and Youth, School Safety, Marginalized Populations, Qualitative Methods, Interdisciplinary Methods, Convergence Research

Brief Biography

Lori Peek is director of the Natural Hazards Center and professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She studies vulnerable populations in disaster and has conducted field investigations in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, the Christchurch earthquakes, the Joplin tornado, Superstorm Sandy, and Hurricane Matthew. She is currently co-leading a National Science Foundation-funded workshop series on methods of interdisciplinary disaster research and she is a member of the social science team for the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center of Excellence for Risk Based Community Resilience Planning. She is also working on several ongoing projects related to children’s health and well-being before, during, and after disaster.

Peek is author of Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11, co-editor of Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora, and co-author of Children of Katrina. Behind the Backlash received the Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society and the Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity. Children of Katrina received the Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth and the Alfred and Betty McClung Best Book Award from the Association for Humanist Sociologists, and was named a finalist for the Colorado Book Awards. Her work has also appeared in a variety of scholarly outlets including Disasters, Risk Analysis, Natural Hazards, Natural Hazards Review, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, Child Development, Journal of Family Studies, Sociological Inquiry, Qualitative Research, and Children, Youth and Environments. In 2016, Peek received honorable mention for the Leo Goodman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Sociological Methodology from the American Sociological Association Section on Methodology. And in 2009, the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth honored her with the Early Career Award for Outstanding Scholarship.

In addition to the recognition for her scholarship, Peek has received nearly a dozen awards for her teaching and mentoring. Perhaps most notably, she received the Board of Governor’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, which is the highest teaching honor bestowed at Colorado State University. Peek regularly works with graduate and undergraduate research and teaching assistants, and has mentored numerous doctoral and master’s students over the past decade. At the University of Colorado-Boulder, she teaches a graduate seminar on Hazards, Disasters, and Society, and a large 425 student Introduction to Sociology class.

Peek is past Chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Environment and Technology and is currently the President of the Research Committee on Disasters for the International Sociological Association. She is a Board Member for the William Averette Anderson Fund, which is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented professionals in hazards and disaster research and practice. She also is an appointed member of the National Academies Resilience Roundtable, a member of the oversight committee for the Mitigation Saves 2.0 update study, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR) for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).

Peek earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2005. She was a research assistant at the Natural Hazards Center from 1999-2005, and a faculty member at Colorado State University from 2005-2016.