Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award


Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project


Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Dana Schowalter

Honors Program Director

Dr. Gavin Keulks


This thesis examines how the institutional practices put forth by the emergency management community have impacted the health equity of marginalized groups of people, such as the Black community of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and how that has in turn, impacted community equity and development following the event. Specifically, this thesis analyzes the impact Hurricane Katrina and its emergency response had on the marginalized community’s health equity. Following the events of Hurricane Katrina, I will analyze two similar events that followed Hurricane Katrina -- Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Maria -- in order to observe the changes made within emergency management when it comes to decision-making in response methods that disproportionately impact marginalized communities that face discrimination due to race. Finally, after contextualizing the changes within emergency management that have occurred over time, I will create an outline for an awareness training program for emergency management personnel that will focus on remedying and changing past institutional-based emergency management practices that have negatively impacted marginalized communities in their journey towards emergency situation recovery. The overarching goal of this thesis is to create response awareness within the emergency management community and mitigate future institutional discriminatory practices such as racism within emergency response and recovery. While this thesis is a critique of emergency response and recovery, it is meant to be a means of showing necessary areas of improvement within emergency management in order to better meet the needs of communities.