Dr. Shadya Sanders earned her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences with support in Sociology from Howard University in 2021. She earned her interdisciplinary Bachelor of Sciences degree in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Anthropology with a minor in Spanish from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN

She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M) in Washington D.C. Her current research investigates how emergency managers, meteorologists, and hydrologists across the county make decisions, provide warnings, and leverage their knowledge of each community’s culture to provide accurate and useful information during severe weather and flooding emergencies.

Shadya’s research centers around risk perceptions through a variety of weather phenomena as well as the impacts of climate change. A large portion of her work aims to better understand how ethnic and racial minorities perceive and respond to weather and climate-related risks. Minortized communities are often at a higher risk for experiencing the negative impacts of natural hazards. She also investigates cultural differences in risk perceptions across different nations. Her previous research compares the United States with Taiwan, and she hopes to soon include West African nations in this comparison.

Shadya grew up in Maryland and currently resides there with her senior dog. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer (NASM) and enjoys most sports and horseback riding.


Dissertation Title and Summary

An Examination of Decision Making During Severe Weather: A Test of Fuzzy Trace Theory

The United States government has made large investments to improve the prediction and accuracy of weather forecasting, especially for severe and extreme weather events. While these investments have successfully improved the accuracy of weather forecasting, additional investments must be made to effectively communicate risks and improved forecasting knowledge to reduce loss of life and property.

My dissertation ties together research, knowledge and methodologies from social-behavioral sciences like sociology, psychology, and communications, with weather forecasting to investigate how different types of forecast messages may influence decision making during natural disasters. This dissertation specifically investigates how the public responds to probabilistic forecasts and aims to discover which types of weather forecasts messages cater to the broadest portion of our population.