John R. Harrald and Theresa Jefferson, formerly of The George Washington University, have both joined the Virginia Tech Center for Technology, Security, and Policy as research professors, effective Aug. 10.

The announcement was made by Retired Maj. Gen. Bruce M. Lawlor, director of the center. Based in the National Capital Region, the Center for Technology, Security, and Policy conducts academic research, enhances existing related graduate programs in the area, and develops new educational courses and executive-focused programs related to national and homeland security.

“Virginia Tech is gaining two very highly qualified professionals with extensive academic and practical experience in crisis, disaster, and emergency management,” Lawlor said when making the announcement. “Dr. Harrald and Dr. Jefferson will provide the Center for Technology, Security, and Policy with significant depth and expertise.”

At Virginia Tech, Harrald and Jefferson will continue their research as co- principal investigators on a FEMA-funded project, Supporting the Development and Interpretation of Catastrophic Event Planning Scenarios for New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquakes, working with colleagues at The George Washington University Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management (ICDRM) and in conjunction with the Mid-America Earthquake Center (MAEC) at the University of Illinois.

The project will provide eight states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, and Missouri), four FEMA regions, and the federal government, with essential scientific and technical modeling results that predict potential physical and human consequences should a New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) earthquake occur. This zone is the most active seismic area in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Forty-four million people live in the eight-state region, with 12 million people in the high risk area.

In addition to engaging in research programs, Harrald and Jefferson will serve as instructors for executive programs offered by the Center for Technology, Security, and Policy, and will also be available to teach graduate courses offered through the university’s Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP).

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Harrald served as director of The George Washington University Institute of Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management, an interdisciplinary institute engaged in research, education, and professional development. He was also a professor in their Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, co-founder of The George Washington University Aviation Institute. In addition, he served as program director for Crisis, Emergency and Risk Management graduate curriculum in George Washington University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Harrald is executive editor, The Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (JHSEM), an electronic journal established in 2003 by Berkeley Press, and associate editor, The International Journal of Emergency Management (IJEM), published by Inderscience Enterprises LTD. He has authored numerous articles in refereed journals, conference proceedings, periodicals, research reports, books, book chapters, and monographs.

His memberships include the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Board of Scientific Counselors, the Disaster Roundtable Steering Committee, National Research Council, and the National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Committee on Information Technology in Disaster Management.

Harrald earned a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy; a master’s from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow; and a Ph.D. in Management Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Jefferson was most recently assistant professor, Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department, at The George Washington University, a position she held since September 2000. Prior to that time, she was a visiting assistant professor in the department from 1998 to 2000. She was also a visiting research scientist at The National Science Foundation from 2004 to 2005.

Jefferson’s previous experience also includes deputy director, Declassification Productivity Research Center, The George Washington University, and positions at the Science Applications International Corporation as senior information systems analyst, Planning and Technical Support Division, data management specialist, Space Physics Support Division, and systems analyst, Military Operations Analysis Division.

She has served as principle investigator on a number of research projects funded through major contracts and grants. Jefferson’s research focus is on crisis and disaster management in information and communications technology and decision support systems and collaborative decision making. Her most current project is Supporting the Development and Interpretation of Catastrophic Event Planning Scenarios for New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquake, The Mid American Earthquake Center, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Jefferson’s work has been published in a number of journals and refereed journal publications.

Among her professional activities are local organizing chair, Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management 2008, 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management and associate editor VINE: The Journal of Information and Knowledge Systems. She also serves as a proposal, book, journal, and conference referee for a number of publications and organizations.

Jefferson earned her master’s in operations research and doctor of science degree in engineering management from The George Washington University.


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