Michelle Ritchie, PhD

Assistant Professor

Professional Website

Dr. Michelle Ritchie is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Institute for Disaster Management. She received her dual-title PhD in geography and climate science from Penn State. She also has a master’s in geography specializing in environmental resource management from Binghamton University and attended Connecticut State University for her undergrad.

At IDM, Dr. Ritchie coordinates the undergraduate program, with an emphasis on the minor. She teaches the How to Survive the Apocalypse, Disaster Policy, and Disasters and GIS courses offered. She also runs a research lab where she mentors students through research projects, establishing funding, presenting at conferences, and attending workshops.

Dr. Ritchie’s dissertation research modeled the social-ecological processes that supported the implementation of adaptation action within Arctic households in response to rapid environmental change. This research model included processes of sense of place, risk perception, and the valuation of ecosystem services and built on her prior research published in Applied Geography, which reviewed the early indicators of climate change impacts in the Arctic.

Her other current projects include a social-ecological investigation of harmful algal blooms and their adaptation options, the redesign of storm criteria for wind hazard planning, and the communication of flash flood risks for preparedness training at long-term care facilities. Additional current projects include improving the seismic resilience of critical infrastructure in Alaska.

In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her dog, Dottie, and her cat, Clarence, as well as with family and friends. She can often be found outside, tending to her garden, or reading.