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President Biden Announces Intent to Nominate Lori Peek for Key Admin Position!

On April 20th President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Lori Peek for Member, Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences. Lori Peek is the Director of the Natural Hazards Center, an affiliate for the CU Population Center, and a fellow for the Environment and Society program and the Population Program. She is also the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded CONVERGE facility, which is dedicated to improving research coordination and advancing the ethical conduct and scientific rigor of disaster research. In the statement, President Biden also announced his intent to nominate 9 other individuals to serve on key administration boards and commissions. 

To learn more about Lori Peek’s work and the other 9 nominated individuals, read the full statement on the White House briefing room website.

2021 IBS Poster Symposium

Thanks to all who came and participated in our IBS Poster Symposium this year! Our virtual event on Wednesday April 14th had approximately 30 attendees. Nine IBS graduate students presented their posters in two sessions.

The presenters were:

Grad student winners of the 2021 IBS Poster Symposium
  • Solveig Delabroye (ECON): Learning from One’s Community: Neighborhood Effects on Non-Cognitive Skills
  • Ganesh Gorti (PSCI): Inequality, conditional cash transfers, and confidence in local institutions
  • Heather Champeau (SOCY) and Jessica Austin (SOCY): Social Science Extreme Events Research (SSEER) Network: 2018 and 2019 Comparisons
  • Bertha Bermudez Tapia (SOCY): Violence, Asylum, and Permanent-Temporariness: The Effects of COVID-19 and Immigration Policies on the Matamoros’s Migrant-Camp
  • Melissa Villarreal (SOCY): Long Term Housing Recovery among Mexican Immigrants: How Service Providers Navigate Anti-Immigrant Disaster Recovery Policies
  • Brach Champion (ECON): Who Benefits Most from a Same-Race Mentor? Optimal Matching In Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Marija Sajekaite (PSCI): Taking Climate Change Seriously: The Impacts of Weather Events on Climate Change Attitudes in Latin America
  • Jose Sanchez (SOCY): Gang Intervention in the COVID-19 Era: A Qualitative Study of Multidisciplinary Teams and Gang Outreach in Denver
  • Jeremiah Osborne Gowey (ENVS): The role of social connections and community context in adaptive farming practices among Sri Lankan households.

And our top three fan favorites based on votes were…

  1. Melissa Villarreal
  2. Jeremiah Osborne Gowey
  3. Bertha Bermudez Tapia

Congrats to all the graduate students who participated and made the event a success! Also many thanks to Kim Truong-Vu and Carew Boulding for organizing this as part of the IBS Training Program.

Social Justice Speaker Series Discusses Gun Violence and Social Action

The Social Justice Speaker Series hosted by the Prevention Science Program recently discussed the mass shooting at King Soopers and the pressing issues of gun violence and social justice. This consisted of a panel discussion and panelists included Sabrina Arrendondo Mattson, Sarah Goodrum, and Bill Woodward, from the Prevention Science program and the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. It also included Monica Fitzgerald from the Prevention Science, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and the Center for Well-Being in Schools, Jessica Gorrono from Prevention Science Program and the Center for Well-Being in Schools, and Beverly Kingston the Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. The panel also addressed the history of gun violence in the U.S., how we can support those affected by gun violence, and what can be done now to prevent it. 

To learn more about gun violence watch the panel discussion recording

Also below is a list of resources in regards to how we can support and respond to this pressing issue. 


Supporting & Responding

IBS and CU Boulder NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Awards!

IBS hosts the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Workshop every year. This is a series of workshops designed to assist CU-Boulder applicants from the social and behavioral sciences. The workshop series is led by current graduate students who hold NSF graduate fellowships. This year 16 applicants from the workshop submitted materials for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Those who are awarded the fellowship receive a 5 year fellowship, an annual stipend, access to additional funding to sustain research while on medical deferral, and much more. 

We are pleased to announce that 9 of those applicants either received the fellowship or an honorable mention! The names of the awardees, honorable mentions, and their respective programs are listed below. 


Jocelyn West (Sociology)

Cynthia Villanueva (Psychology)

Anna Wynfield (Anthropology)

Paige Edmiston (Anthropology)

Honorable Mention:

Sam Freis (Psychology)

Elena Peterson (Psychology)

Shelley Gresko (Psychology)

Devon Reynolds (Environmental Studies)

Nicholas LaBerge (Science policy…ATLAS)

To read more about the fellowship, visit the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program website.

IBS Response to the King Soopers Shooting on 3/22/21

It’s impossible to communicate the depth of sorrow and anger over the events at the Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder on Monday March 22, 2021. Our hearts go out to the families of those who died. We honor them here with by listing their names and taking a moment to grieve their lives that were cut short:


Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Rikki Olds, 25; Neven Stanisic, 23; Denny Stong, 20; Eric Talley, 51; and Jody Waters, 65.



The loss of life and of confidence in our safety is beyond deplorable, and the responsiveness and courage of our police is worthy of the highest praise. We hope and pray for a world where no one ever resorts to gun violence for any reason.  We want to reiterate the many resources available to help cope and work through this experience. 

Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey created a list of ways to support your ownself, the larger community, and students from a conversation he had with the CU Office of Victim's Assistance (OVA). Here's another list of 

Whatever we are feeling is normal and ok.

Everyone experiences things differently (from strong emotions to numbness or feeling nothing at all) and at different times – this is both normal and OK.

It is important for us, as educators

To acknowledge the above with students in our discussions with them. It helps each of us feel less isolated and isolation is one of the biggest things crisis counselors see that people feel in crisis situations.

For us to offer a space of listening (as best we can) for students in our class, of validating the scariness and range of emotions, that all people move through these experiences very differently at different times.

That we NOT open these listening opportunities in a large classroom setting because of the range of emotional expressions present can create unintended fallout with students comparing themselves to others’ experiences, feeling more isolated, feeling abnormal, etc.

That we offer leniency to students in the class, whether on an individual or case-by-case basis or class-wide, leniency for when (or even IF) students make up assignments, leniency for unexcused absences, leniency in whatever capacity we feel makes sense for us and the classes we lead. According to the counselor I spoke with, the evidence indicates that leniency in classes is one of the biggest things we can do (aside from normalizing their feelings and reducing isolation) that helps students feel like they CAN move forward.

Ask students to think of those they trust, then reach out and connect with them, whether a roommate, a family member or a trusted friend. Encourage them to connect with others (speaks to helping “decrease a person's sense of isolation”).

If we feel comfortable, share with students our own experiences with coping with crisis and how we move through things, things that worked and did not, so students can see/hear other ways of coping they may not have thought of and it normalizes that whatever we’re feeling is OK and that there are many ways we can cope.

Share with students the “web of resources” available that are designed to provide help at the individual level (see any of the emails from various University people in the recent week).

Lastly, the counselor mentioned that it is important for each of us to acknowledge (repeatedly and also explicitly with the students) that there is no way we can do this alone, that we cannot help everyone…and that this feels awful. Then encourage students to reach out, connect with the resources, connect with those they trust, let them know that what they feel is ok, is normal, that they are not alone, that these resources are here to help each of us individually.

The shooting last week and subsequent aftermath is also a good reminder to install a shortcut on our computers to the CU Boulder “Red Folder” – it is a great starting place for finding resources to help with crises. If you have not installed a shortcut on your own computer to this resource, you can do so at

As always, take care of yourself and reach out for support in whatever ways you need it. 

IBS Statement on the Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

At the Institute for Behavioral Science at CU Boulder, we are extremely concerned by the rise in anti-Asian sentiment and its intersection with sexism. While punctuated by the horrifying murder of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng in the Atlanta area on March 16th, hate crimes and hate speech against Asian-Americans have risen considerably in recent years, and particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anti-Asian sentiment is an old and unfortunate part of the history of the United States, particularly in the West, which led to riots against Asian-Americans – especially in the late 19th Century – and exclusionary immigration, internment, housing, and other policies – especially between then and the 1960s. As with other people of color, the plight of Asian Americans did not end with stronger civil rights legislation, with continued racism and many unfortunate alarming acts of violence to punctuate negative anti-Asian sentiment. Last year, hate crimes against Asian Americans increased by 150% while other hate crimes decreased. Anti-Asian hate incidents and hate speech are also on the rise. Asian women have borne the brunt of these abuses, being more than twice as likely to report hate incidents as men. Much more can be understood by learning from our CU-Boulder Asian American colleagues who are experts on these issues: see this op-ed by Prof. Jennifer Ho (“To be an Asian American woman in America”) and, below, information on a panel on Anti-Asian Violence, Silence, Race, and Patriarchy organized by the Ethnic Studies Department.

We stand in solidarity with the Asian American community, as well as with women and allies in ending anti-Asian sentiment, sexism, and the intersections of racism and sexism in society. We hope that our own and others’ research on the prevention of violence and other issues around race and gender inequalities can help shed a light on how to swiftly end these inequities.

We close with a list of resources available for more immediate action, put together by the Chancellor’s Office and the Center for the Study of Prevention of Violence.

CU Boulder Support Resources

Reporting acts of discrimination:

Need to talk to someone? Campus support resources for students, faculty and staff

Share your thoughts with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement:

Explore anti-racism events, discussions and resources at CU Boulder:

External resources:

Panel on Anti-Asian Violence, Silence, Race, and Patriarchy (organized by CU Boulder Ethnic Studies Department)

March 24, 2021 6-7:30 pm – 

Please join us for an engaged discussion with CU Boulder faculty and community activists on the horrific Atlanta murders of March 16th and the historic and ongoing violence(s) directed at the Asian/Asian American communities.  

Featuring: Luna Beebe Ly (Asian Communities Together, CU alum); Irene V. Blair (Professor and Chair, Psychology & Neuroscience); Jennifer Ho (Director, Center for Humanities & The Arts, Professor, Ethnic Studies); Cheryl Jigashida (Associate Professor, English); Seema Sohi (Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies); & Invited Guests (TBA). Moderated by Nushant Upadhyay (Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies).

Invitation to Panel on Anti-Asian Violence, March 2021

Peek Comments on the Effects of COVID-19 on Children

On March 11, 2021 CNN published an article about the effects of COVID-19 on children and how it will change their lives, essentially creating a new Gen-C or Generation-COVID. In the article, Lori Peek, Director of the Natural Hazards Center and affiliate of the CU Population Center and Environment and Society Program discusses how vulnerable children are even more at risk. Peek connects this to her research on Hurricane Katrina where she analyzed how the storm impacted the lives of children. During both Hurricane Katrina and COVID-19, low income African Americans have experienced longer recovery and have seen the worst impacts. She further states “children of color are disproportionately out of school. And those inequalities, need to be not only acknowledged, but also factored into recovery efforts” (Peek, CNN). Peek concludes that children’s futures are not set in stone and that there are many things we can do right now – including listening to children and giving them a chance to contribute – to ensure they have an opportunity to fully recover. 

To read more about the impacts of COVID-19 on children and Peek’s research read the full article on the CNN website. 

Sabrina Arredondo Mattson and Team from CSPV Receive $2 Million Grant

Sabrina Arredondo Mattson, Beverly Kingston, and Erin Kelly from the Center for Study and Prevention of Violence and Jani Little from the Rocky Mountain Research Data Center were recently awarded a $2 million grant from the CDC. An article from the CU Boulder Today highlights the links between gun ownership and suicide risk and features Mattson’s newly funded project. Gun ownership and suicide risk are intrinsically linked and nationwide about half of all suicide deaths are via a firearm. The Gun Shop Project is a program that enlists firearm advocates and gun retailers to help reduce gun suicides. However, it has not yet been evaluated. 

Sabrina and her team will use the newly awarded $2 million grant to fund their “An Evaluation of the Gun Shop Project: Suicide Prevention Led by the Firearms Community” project which is a study that will last for three years to document the role that gun shops can play in reducing gun suicide. They plan to partner with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition and the Firearm Safety Advisory Board to survey and interview project participants in-depth. With this information, they will also look at community-driven suicide prevention partnerships, to better understand how they impact firearm safety behaviors and suicides involving firearms. 

To learn more about Sabrina and her team’s newly funded project and the link between gun ownership and suicide, read the full article at the CU Boulder Today website. 

Nnenia Campbell Gives Guidance on Emergency Operations for COVID-19


The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine recently published Emergency Evacuation and Sheltering During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a rapid expert consultation that identifies strategies for emergency planners and decision-makers to consider as they update their disaster plans in response to the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. This guidance was produced through the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) and was written by Nnenia Campbell, a research associate from the Natural Hazards Center. Co-authors for this guidance include Rebecca Morss from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Michael Lindell from Texas A&M University, and Myron Gutmann, Director of the Institute of Behavioral Science. 

COVID-19 has changed the nature of emergency operations in the context of hazards and disasters. Fundamental shifts are needed to ensure the health and safety of individuals facing emergencies. In this guidance, Nnenia and her team explore how lessons learned from disasters that took place in 2020, along with studies on evacuation behavior, social responses to disaster, and risk communication, can be applied to emergency planning as the pandemic continues to unfold.