Principal investigators

The Reinventing Civil Defense project has three co-principal investigators whose backgrounds span several academic fields of study. It is based in the College of Arts and Letters at the Stevens Institute of Technology, but is also run as a collaboration with the School of Engineering and Science.

Kristyn Karl

Kristyn Karl is an assistant professor of Political Science at Stevens Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2015. Her research focuses in the areas of political psychology and decision-making, communications and the media, and group attitudes. Broadly, she uses survey and experimental methods to examine public opinion and political behavior. Her recent research seeks to understand how varying types of terrorist threats and varying the ethno-religious identity of a terrorist impacts emotional responses and behavior. In 2013, she was a finalist for a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant and, in 2012, she was named a Distinguished Junior Scholar from the Political Psychology section of the American Political Science Association.

Julie Pullen is an associate professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in oceanography and meteorology.  She works closely with the emergency response community in her research utilizing transport and dispersion models and earth system models to predict chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) dispersion in coastal cities in the event of a terrorist or accidental release.  She was the Director of the DHS National Center of Excellence for Maritime Security at Stevens from 2011-2015, and member of the Regional Catastrophic Planning Team (NY/NJ/CT/PA) Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) Science Plan Committee (2011-2012).  Dr. Pullen has been a principal investigator on DHS and DTRA grants to improve prediction of CBRN dispersion in New York City by integrating multi-scale modeling of air, sea, and buildings. Additionally, Dr. Pullen was a member of the management team for the midtown Manhattan 2005 Urban Dispersion Program tracer release study, the largest of its kind in the U.S.  She has developed Nuclear Issues Education initiatives, including a Carnegie-funded workshop and a graduate course on Nuclear Security and Terrorism that she co-taught in fall 2014.

Alex Wellerstein is a historian of nuclear weapons in the Science and Technology Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters at Stevens. He received his PhD from the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University in 2010, and has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and at the American Institute of Physics. His expertise is both in the areas of nuclear history, including prior attempts by scientists, activists, and policymakers to galvanize public support for nuclear policies, as well as efforts to engage public understanding of nuclear weapons through web applications like his NUKEMAP nuclear weapons simulator, which has been used by over 20 million people globally. He has also been a consultant to the television show “Manhattan,” and is an occasional contributor to The New Yorker’s science blog, “Elements.”

Ed Friedman

We have also been grateful for the advice of our colleague Edward Friedman, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Stevens, whose long history of engagement on nuclear education issues, technical expertise, and work as an educational pioneer has informed much of this project and was crucial to its formation.