Maria Watson is an Assistant Professor in the M.E. Rinker, Sr, School of Construction Management and affiliated researcher with the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. Before coming to the University of Florida, she was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Hazard Reduction Recovery Center at Texas A&M University. She has degrees in Urban Planning from The Ohio State University and Texas A&M University.
Dr. Watson’s research focuses on the factors impacting community recovery after disaster events, particularly interdependencies between infrastructure, housing, and businesses. She is particularly interested in the effectiveness of disaster programs and how these programs can be structured to better meet recovery needs. Watson has been a part of multiple interdisciplinary disaster recovery research efforts in Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina after Hurricanes Ike, Harvey, Matthew, Florence, Laura, and Delta. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency for her research.
Dr. Watson has taught courses in quantitative methods, local government, and urban planning. She is currently co-teaching BCN-6585 Principles of Sustainable Development and Construction at the Rinker School.