Housner Fellows Program

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EERI's leadership program for early to mid-career professionals.

About the Housner Fellows Program

The Housner Fellows Program was developed by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute to recognize promising and motivated young to mid-career professionals with the confidence, skills, and sense of responsibility needed to exercise leadership by developing Fellows' capacity for advocacy and leading efforts to reduce earthquake risk. Earthquake engineering and seismic mitigation have advanced dramatically over the past 70 years in part due to the advocacy and persistence of industry thought leaders. Many of EERI’s members over that time have served in such leadership roles and the Institute is dedicated to the development of future generations. None have made a more significant contribution to the advancement of earthquake safety than George Housner.

Professor George W. Housner (1910—2008) left a substantial gift to EERI “to advance the objectives of EERI.” Professor Housner was an educator, a leader of the profession, and an advisor on public policy. He was a founding member of EERI and served as its President for 11 years. He advanced earthquake safety through his research and writing, by training students, and as an advisor to government agencies. He served on the Newmark-Stever panel that laid the foundation for the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, counseled Senator Alan Cranston on program necessities, and served on panels investigating the Sylmar (1971), Loma Prieta (1989), and Northridge (1994) earthquakes. He was a founder of the International Association for Earthquake Engineering and sought to increase our understanding of earthquakes, and to develop engineers of the highest caliber to use their knowledge to improve earthquake safety worldwide.

At EERI, the Board of Directors decided to use his gift to train future earthquake engineering policy advocates and thought leaders, and established the Housner Fellows Program in the fall of 2011. The inaugural class of Fellows was selected in early 2012, followed by the second class in 2014, third class in 2017, and the fourth class of Fellows in 2020. Click here to view each class of Fellows.

The Program requires a two-year commitment and consists of the following:

Housner Institute

Fellows will participate in the Housner Institute—a week-long program of classroom training, homework, group work, and exercises under the direction of Housner Fellows Management Committee members. Fellows are supported throughout the program by a dedicated trainer and EERI Board Member, Dr. Lucy Arendt. 

Group Project and Final Report

A portion of the time spent at the Housner Institute will be dedicated to developing a semi-structured group project within a general theme supporting public policy and seismic risk reduction. Each Fellow will then be responsible for working with the other Fellows to collaboratively develop and implement the project’s specific elements within the two-year timeframe. 

Other Activities

In addition to a semi-structured group project, other activities include community policy development, regular meetings, and attendance at the EERI Annual Meetings, where Fellows could potentially present their group project to attendees in a special session. Regular conference calls, at least monthly, are expected. Each Fellow is expected to fully engage in the group project and process.
In addition to the Institute and the group project, Fellows will have the opportunity to work with EERI leaders in a mentorship capacity to further develop their individual career growth.

Selection Criteria

  • Minimum 5 (five) years of experience after graduation or equivalent
  • Commitment to earthquake risk mitigation (track record, accomplishments)
  • Character (respected, willingness to assume responsibilities, ethical, attitude, concern for others, etc.)
  • Abilities (experience, credentials, preparation, personality, and desire to work with diverse groups of people).
  • Willingness and ability to commit time needed to effectively complete group project.
  • Support (possible outside funding, employer agreement for time off to attend meetings).
  • Basic communications skills (written, verbal)
  • EERI membership already active or inspired to activate within EERI

Note: Each class will be selected to reflect fairly homogeneous leadership experiences of individual applicants.

Application Process

Though we currently are not accepting applications, a typical application package consists of the following:

  1. Contact information for the applicant
  2. A professional resume, summarizing educational background, significant work assignments, current position, involvement with EERI and other major volunteer activities
  3. 2 letters of recommendation, 
  4. Supporting material (optional) that represents a sample of your work—for example, articles or other publications you have written, other work that could demonstrate your interest and experience in public policy and/or the promotion of school seismic risk reduction.
  5. Written response to the question: “What role do you see yourself playing in EERI after completing the Housner Fellowship Program?”