Environmental Planning, Natural Hazards, Community Engagement, International Development, Engineering for Development
Santina Contreras is an Assistant Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Her research and teaching focus on the intersection of environmental hazards, international development, and community development planning. The overarching goal of her research is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the planning of communities vulnerable to environmental hazards and broader development concerns in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In her work, she takes an interdisciplinary approach towards understanding relationships between local communities and external stakeholders surrounding natural hazard events, environmental planning efforts, and international development projects.
Contreras has extensive experience working in the private and nonprofit sectors on the design and implementation of environmental planning and development projects. This has included engaging with diverse communities vulnerable to hazard risks in California, Ohio, Mexico, Haiti, and Indonesia. Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Contreras worked as an Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning at Ohio State University and as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Environmental Design Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Contreras holds a BS (University of California, San Diego) and a MS (University of California, Berkeley) in Structural Engineering. She received her Ph.D. in Planning, Policy, and Design from the University of California, Irvine.