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Shannon McGovern

Graduate Student | Department of Public Administration | North Carolina State University

2022 – 2023 Global Change Fellow

Statement of purpose:

I am a North Carolina native who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. From there I went to work for a very large nonprofit in Durham in their human resources department. I found myself constantly asking questions and eager to learn more, so I eventually went back to school and earned my Master of Public Administration from NC State. I loved the collaborative nature of the department and decided to continue my education in the Public Administration PhD program. Throughout my life I have always been fascinated by historical disasters, both natural and man-made. I often find myself questioning “what if?” What if this risk had been considered, what if this action was taken, what if this hazard was mitigated – would it have changed the outcome of the event? I quickly realized that my interests were not confined to a single discipline and wanted to find a program that allowed me to explore interdisciplinary questions. In public administration, there is no definitive scope of the field or central theory to neatly incorporate diverse parts of the field which has allowed me to seek knowledge from a variety of disciplines. I have earned certificates in both Geographic Information Systems and Disaster Resilient Policy, Engineering, and Design. I firmly believe that the blend of knowledge gained from each of these fields have made me a better scholar. I recognize the importance of cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing and am excited to collaborate with my Global Change Fellows cohort.

Description of research:

My dissertation research focuses on climate adaptation through collaborative governance and cross-boundary natural hazard mitigation work. My work with the NCSU Fire Chasers Research Team exploring the institutional factors that influence wildfire management introduced me to the importance of collaborative governance and the gap that exists in how we understand the use of networks in natural hazard mitigation. My research uses an organizational theory lens to better understand the power sharing and risk sharing relationships across federal, state, local, and private landowners facing the threat of a natural hazard. Specifically, I am exploring the likelihood that two jurisdictions will form a network tie to work together on cross-boundary hazard mitigation work in the context of wildfires. In addition to my dissertation research, I am also interested in public policy diffusion and policy innovation as it relates to other natural hazards, like repeated flooding events.

Contact Information:


Faculty Advisor:

Branda Nowell (Department of Public Administration, NCSU)

Note: In January 2023, Shannon McGovern left the Global Change Fellows for a new opportunity as a Wildfire Resiliency Impact Fellow in residence at the Federation of American Scientists.