The Community Shaping NHERI's Future


The User Forum (UF) committee is a NHERI-wide group focused on providing the NHERI Council with independent advice on community user satisfaction, priorities, and needs relating to the use and capabilities of NHERI.

The elected volunteers of the UF bring input from the community into NHERI operations, assess the effectiveness of the support to NHERI users, and contribute to the Network Coordination Office (NCO) and NHERI-wide efforts to build a community of satisfied users.  The UF committee is engaged in the development and continuous update of the NHERI-wide Science Plan.  The UF functions as an additional voice of the community within the Governance of NHERI.

User Forum Election for New 2020 Members Open

Members of the User Forum Committee are replaced at the end of their terms by an election process open to the entire natural hazards research community.  The User Forum thanks Elaina Sutley, Nina Stark, and Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos for their years of service to the committee.  Elections are now open for the community to select three new committee members from a list of six nominees.  The ballot will close June 5, 2020.

User Forum 2020 New Member Ballot

Activities and Responsibilities

The User Forum committee has representation across NHERI activities, with three representatives working directly with the NCO, two representatives working with the Education and Community Outreach (ECO) team, two representatives working with the Facilities Scheduling committee, and one representative working with the Education Transfer committee.

The UF committee meets once per month via teleconference and once per year in-person.  The first and second in-person meetings were held in San Antonio, Texas, simultaneously and in conjunction with the Summer Institute.

The UF committee is responsible for conducting annual community user satisfaction surveys for NHERI users.

Each year, the User Forum committee publishes an Annual Community Report on the NHERI website.


User Satisfaction Survey Report

The User Forum makes available for public review the annual user satisfaction survey report.


Meeting Minutes

The User Forum makes available for public review the approved minutes from each meeting of the committee.


Composition of the User Forum

The User Forum committee is composed of nine representatives from the broad scientific and engineering communities served by NHERI, who conduct research and education activities using NHERI's resources and services but who are not affiliated with NHERI awardee institutions.  The user community elected members of the UF for two-year terms, with the opportunity of being re-elected. Antonio Bobet, an ex officio member from the NHERI NCO Executive Council, has been appointed to keep the NCO leadership apprised of UF progress and to coordinate needs of the UF with the rest of the natural hazard community.  The UF members have representation across all activities supported by NHERI.



The User Forum is very interested in engaging with the NHERI user community.  If you have any questions or suggestions, the UF would like to hear from you.  Please send your message to:

User Forum Membership

As the community voice with the governance of NHERI, the User Forum committee is composed of members nominated and elected by the NHERI community for a term of 1-2 years.  Each year the committee will hold this election process through the DesignSafe website for the community to nominate and then vote upon any changes to the membership.  The current committee members are:



Elaina J. Sutley, Ph.D. (Chair)

University of Kansas

Specializes in design and retrofit of wood buildings subjected to natural hazards, including seismic, wind, and water events, as well as building portfolio analysis, housing recovery modeling, loss estimation, social vulnerability, and interdisciplinary science.



Nina Stark, Ph.D. (Vice Chair)

Virginia Tech

Specializes in coastal geotechnical engineering and sediment dynamics, including field instrumentation, sediment remobilization processes, beach erosion, beach trafficability, pore pressure evolution under ocean wave forcing, Arctic coastal erosion, remoe sensing, scour, and ocean renewable energy.



Stephanie Smallegan, Ph.D. (Secretary)

University of South Alabama

Specializes in the morphological response of sandy beaches to short- and long-term processes, particularly damage to barrier islands during hurricanes and the interactions between civil infrastructure and the natural environment.


Additional Members

Ramtin Kargarmoakhar, Ph.D.


Specializes in structural, earthquake and wind engineering, including the design and analysis of cable structures as well as steel, concrete, pre-stressed concrete and segmented bridges, sequential analysis of the construction of big bridges, wind effects on long-span bridges, development of new structural systems and mitigating the impacts of earthquakes using smart materials and structures.


Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Specializes in soils mechanics and geotechnical earthquake engineering, including soil liquefaction, seismic slope stability, seismic response of levees and retaining structures, ground motion propogation characteristics due to pile-driving activities, and the impact of ground motion selection for dynamic analyses.



James O. Malley, S.E.

Degenkolb Engineers

Specializes in steel construction with over 30 years of experience in seismic design, evaluation, and rehabilitation of building structures, including tall buildings, post-earthquake disaster reconnaissance, analysis, and investigation of building performance and damage.


Liesel A. Ritchie, Ph.D.

Oklahoma State University

Specializes in the societal dimensions of hazards and disasters, with an emphasis on social capital and factors related to community resilience to technological and natural disasters.


Mohammad Khosravi, Ph.D.

Montana State University

Specializes in soil mechanics and geotechnical earthquake engineering, including liquefaction and its remediation, ground improvement, seismic performance of soil structures, slope stability and embankment design, and soil-structure interaction.



Max Stephens, Ph.D.

University of Pittsburg

Specializes in the design and multi-scale evaluation of structures subjected natural hazards with an emphasis on civil infrastructure subjected to earthquake, tsunami and storm surge loading.