Ward Selected as Recipient for 2022 Graduate Student Award for Community Engagement Scholarship

November 22, 2021

Kayleigh WardCongratulations to ESPP and Sociology Dual Major Ph.D. student Kayleigh Ward! Kayleigh has been selected as a recipient of the Michigan State University 2022 Graduate Student Award for Community Engagement Scholarship for her project, “Reviving community: Rebuilding social recovery in rural post-disaster Japan.”

Kayleigh is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy, with an additional specialization in International Development. Kayleigh earned her Masters’ from MSU in 2018 and a bachelor’s degree at the University of San Diego in Sociology and English in 2016. She is interested in the question of community sustainability in the context of rural redevelopment and disasters and became interested in the disaster nexus after doing work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Her current research focuses on Japan following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, where she works in Miyagi prefecture. The goal of her work is to access community sustainability during reconstruction and evaluate the Reconstruction Agency appointed to lead the effort. This includes efforts from local NGO/NPOs, local associations and governments, businesses, and community groups, which has resulted in the development of new community programs.

Kayleigh is also involved with public policy research regarding issues of economic, social, and cultural capital in the region and how reconstruction affects Nature and humans. A broader goal of her work is learning from the redevelopment in Japan and applying it to address social concerns and environmental decisions in future disasters.