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Okan Pala

Research Associate


Okan is a research associate with expertise in emergency response and recovery for critical infrastructures.  He also works in collaboration with the US National Park Service (SE Region) on climate change adaptation, response, and communication as well as disaster preparedness for southeastern US national parks. He is also a communications specialist working to improve dialog between NPS Parks and stakeholders in the region. Okan earned his PhD in software and information systems from UNC Charlotte and holds a MS in Forestry from NC State with a concentration in GIS and remote sensing. His undergraduate engineering degree is from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. Okan has federal government work experience with the Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), using remote sensing methods to detect riparian vegetation and developing database applications, and industry experience with Lockheed Martin and the Computer Science Corporation as a remote sensing/GIS analyst and web mapping application support technician. Prior to joining the Center, Okan held a research position at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked on disaster simulations and effects on critical infrastructure and stakeholders.