RISE 2019 Conference

Transforming University Engagement In Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico

Marla Perez-Lugo

Senior RISE Fellow

National Council for Science and the Environment


havidan rodriguez photo

Marla del Pilar Perez Lugo is an environmental sociologist and a professor of sociology at the Department of Social Sciences, University of Puerto Rico.  She holds a PhD from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and her areas of expertise are human dimensions of environmental change, disaster vulnerability and energy governance.  Her academic work has been published in prestigious academic journals such as The Professional Geographer, Sociological Inquiry and Organizations and the Environment. Dr. Perez-Lugo has also done applied research for federal agencies such as the EPA, renewable energy developers and energy policy agencies in Puerto Rico like the State Office of Energy Policy and the Independent Office for Consumer Protection. Together with Dr. Cecilio Ortiz Garcia and Dr. Lionel Orama Exclusa, she co-founded the National Institute for Energy and Island Sustainability of the UPR System and is member of its steering committee.  In 2018, Dr. Perez Lugo was appointed to the EPA's National Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NAEHSC). Since the impact of hurricane Maria in PR her work has expanded to include issues of community resilience and collaborative partnerships.  She is currently on leave from the UPR System and affiliated to the National Council for Science and the Environment as a Senior Resilience Fellow.  Her position involves the creation of the RISE Network, an interuniversity platform to transform the role of universities in disasters.