Our People

Rachael Lau

Research Associate

Rachael Lau, PhD specializes in geophysical disaster modeling, risk, and resiliency –
combining classic physics-driven models with remote sensing. With a passion for disaster
mitigation, water resources engineering, and promoting equitable entrepreneurship tools for
vulnerable populations, she aims to make a significant impact in the field of what she deems
“disaster engineering” – working at the crossroads of engineering and policy, contributing
to informed decision-making at both technical and governance levels. Her graduate
academic journey includes being a 2022 Fulbright Research Awardee and a Rhodes
Graduate Fellow in Interdisciplinary Research and her commitment to addressing global
challenges is evident in previous roles as a co-founder of the National Academy of
Engineering’s Call to Action on the COVID-19 Crisis, which she launched in 2020.

Furthermore, she has played a pivotal role in fostering international collaboration, co-
founding and co-managing a research cohort on geohazard risk and resiliency between Duke

University and Tribhuvan University in Nepal, in addition to coordinating initiatives for
Engineers Without Borders USA at the state, regional, and national levels.
Her professional skills extend beyond engineering, encompassing policy, women’s and
children’s rights, grassroots technology, innovation, and education. Her multifaceted
background and accomplishments highlight her dedication to the intersection of
engineering, social impact, and global resilience.