Sayma Khajehei, University of Utah

Sayma Khajehei is a Ph.D. student in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah with a research interest in housing recovery from disasters. Originally from Iran, she has several years of experience working with communities dealing with disasters such as earthquakes, flood, and hurricane. She is very interested in community resilience and disaster recovery in ways that acknowledge and address the causes of vulnerability and social inequity. Her research examines the housing resiliency of socially vulnerable populations towards natural hazards. For her Ph.D. research, she focuses on the pre-disaster planning for public housing recovery in the at-risk communities and Community-Based Organizations’ role in the post-disaster public housing recovery during concurrent disasters. She was recently awarded two grants, including Mitigation Matters Research Grant and Strengthening Community Resilience in U.S. Territories from Natural Hazards Center, which support her Ph.D. research. She was also a fellow of the Global Change and Sustainability Center at the University of Utah in 2019-2020. She completed her master’s degree in community and regional planning at Iowa State University in 2019. In her master’s thesis, Khajehei explored the recovery challenges of public housing residents in Lumberton, North Carolina, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Moreover, She has acquired a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Shiraz University and a master’s degree in Post-Disaster Reconstruction from Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.