A hazards geographer, meteorologist and geographic information systems analyst, Stephen Strader, PhD, is a trusted research partner and go-to authority for federal agencies, international scientific and professional organizations and national media outlets.
He takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding extreme weather and its societal impact, frequently collaborating with teams of meteorologists, emergency managers, engineers and social scientists. He employs techniques that span the social and physical sciences—from qualitative, survey-based research to remote sensing and the use of GIS data in advanced weather modeling.
The pivotal moment that led Dr. Strader to this robust career in research came in 2005, when a tornado with winds exceeding 158 mph swept through a mobile home park in his hometown of Evansville, Ind., destroying hundreds of homes and taking dozens of lives. In the 17 years since, Dr. Strader has been dedicated to exploring and improving the societal implications of extreme weather in a changing climate.
“One side of the coin is the science behind severe weather, which has connections to climate change, and the other is what’s happening in our built environment,” says Dr. Strader, associate professor of Geography and the Environment and Geography Program director. “Expanding cities with single-family homes, townhomes, apartments and condos creates more targets that can be hit by hail, tornadoes and flooding and puts more people in the path of destruction.”
Since arriving at Villanova, Dr. Strader has been awarded numerous federally funded research grants and published 15 papers in highly respected peer-reviewed journals. He is a sought-after speaker at national conferences for scientific groups and federal agencies, such as the American Meteorological Society and the American Association of Geographers, and he has provided expert commentary, often in the wake of catastrophic storms, to numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, FOX Weather, CNN, NPR and USA Today.