The major driving force for Dr. Elizabeth Hausler is the repeated, avoidable loss of life during earthquakes in developing countries. Elizabeth is compelled by the failure of current approaches to permanently change construction practices, and motivated by the lack of opportunities for poor people to make money – if they had enough money, they could build a house that is earthquake resistant, as shown clearly by the low number of fatalities in recent earthquakes in the developed world. But we can’t afford to wait for economic development – people are dying today.
Dr. Hausler has an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.S. in environmental science from the University of Colorado, and a B.S. in general engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a 2004 Echoing Green Fellow and a 2006 Draper Richards Fellow and was a Fulbright Scholar to India in 2002-2003. She is a skilled brick, block and stone mason and has lectured on sustainable, disaster-resistant construction in eight countries. She served on the 2002-2003 National Research Council committee to develop a long-term research agenda for earthquake engineering, which successfully put the earthquake engineering issues that plague developing countries on the agenda. Before graduate school, she spent five years in the engineering consulting industry, working for Peterson Consulting LP in Chicago, IL and Dames & Moore in Denver, CO. On 10 March 2006, Elizabeth was featured by the US-based evening news program abcNEWS World News Tonight as Person of the Week for her work rebuilding houses in Aceh, Indonesia.