From childhood earthquake drills in California to earthquake engineering in New Zealand, Shannon Abeling has been close to seismic activity all her life. She trained in architectural engineering in the United States and during her undergraduate degree she did an internship at the University of Auckland. During another internship after her degree, she helped design repairs for the earthquake damaged Piedras Blancas Light Station (1875) in California. So, the stage was set to do a civil engineering PhD in Aotearoa New Zealand looking at the seismic performance of historical buildings.
Shannon started her Te Hiranga Rū QuakeCoRE scholarship-funded PhD by investigating deaths from earthquakes to find out how many related to building damage. She then used damage to unreinforced masonry buildings (URM) in the Darfield and Christchurch earthquakes to create models that predict how likely it is that similar buildings will be damaged in future earthquakes and whether there will be deaths or injuries. To balance out the “death by building” theme, she also investigated retrofitted URM buildings that survived the Christchurch earthquake and factors that made their retrofitting successful.
New Zealand’s borders opened just in time for Shannon’s parents to attend her graduation and she is now an EQC-funded Research Fellow at the University of Auckland. She is investigating what level of seismic resilience the public want for their buildings and whether the building code needs to change as a result.
Being actively involved with QuakeCoRE, via leadership of the Auckland emerging researchers’ chapter and attending events, enabled Shannon to collaborate widely. She enjoys being in a room full of experts she can learn from and contribute ideas with. Delving into diverse topics for her thesis gave her new skills and an appreciation for taking a holistic approach. While there have always been earthquake engineering undertones to her work, Shannon imagines undertaking broader disaster risk reduction research in future.
PhD and Masters Scholarship applications typically open in September each year. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
QuakeCoRE is committed to developing the next generation of researchers in order to transform the earthquake resilience of communities and socieities, through innovative world-class research, human capacity development and deep national and international collaborations.
QuakeCoRE aims to establish and link multi-institutional national research programmes that are internationally networked. The research programmes will advance the science and implementation pathways of earthquake resilience through system-level science with highly integrated collaborations coordinated across the physical, engineering, and social sciences and relevant research institutions. Our research is organised into Disciplinary Themes, Inter-disciplinary Programmes and the Coordination Mechanisms of Technology Megatrend Capability Areas and Regional Network Areas.
QuakeCoRE has nationally connected Emerging Researcher Chapters throughout the major centres of Aotearoa New Zealand to promote networking, collaboration and knowledge sharing between members of the earthquake resilience community. More information about the Chapters can be found here.
Find out more about our current annual scholarship rounds here
Sign up to our monthly newsletter here
Join us for our monthly online Seminar Series here