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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Researcher Joins Disaster Response Researchers at Portuguese Workshop

While pursuing a doctorate in information systems at NJIT, Elizabeth Avery Gomez, of Whippany, researched better ways to help emergency first responders—often volunteers from grassroots organizations—communicate more efficiently and effectively throughout a crisis.  Now employed full-time as a senior university lecturer in NJIT’s Department of Information Systems, College of Computing Sciences, Gomez recently joined other researchers who study diverse fields in disaster response – such as mobile communication devices, sensor technology, and human factors – to present at a public workshop at  a Portuguese university.

Human factors in disaster response is considered an emerging field that involves how people process information and considers factors that lead to breakdowns in communication. The timing of this research coincides with the two-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake which, along with other recent global disasters, have demonstrated the importance of text messaging and highlight the need for international research on the factors that lead to effective response and management. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the workshop not only established a research agenda to integrate the fields of human factors, sensor technology and logistics, but also opened the door for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in the international project.

Since March 2011, Gomez has been selected and/or invited to attend a series of engineering-related conferences to advance scientific research all through NSF, whose grant monies paid for her doctoral studies.

Gomez’s doctoral research developed a crisis scenario delivered through a web-based training application. The crisis scenario was to prompt participants for a written communication response. Her research introduced a web-based training application with short message service (SMS) text-message communication protocols as an approach to increase individual readiness to respond in a crisis. She spoke about her research on behalf of the graduate students during NJIT’s 2007 graduation ceremony. 

An NSF Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Fellow, Gomez teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses including technical writing, systems analysis and design, database fundamentals, social networking, IT service architecture and emergency management/business continuity. Her research interests focus on how information communication technology (ICT) improves communication in crisis management, in communities of need, and for active learning, with special emphasis placed on improving e-readiness of individuals before engaging in collaborative settings. 

In addition to receiving a doctorate from NJIT, Gomez received a master’s degree in professional and technical communication from NJIT and a bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac College.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.