Kayleigh Ward

Kayleigh  Ward
  • PhD alumna
  • Department of Sociology, Environmental Science and Policy Program 2022
  • MA, Michigan State University 2018
  • BA, University of San Diego 2016


Kayleigh Ward


Kayleigh Ward was awarded her Doctoral Degree in Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy in 2022. Her research interests focus mainly on community development and sustainability in post-disaster communities, especially in Miyagi, Japan after the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake. She focuses on the intersection of disaster and environmental, social, and economic problems. She has several years of experience with NGOs in Japan and in the US. She currently collaborates with NGOs in the following areas: community sustainability and redevelopment, economic empowerment, and community organizing. Her dissertation research titled “Reviving community: building social recovery in rural post-disaster Japan,” focuses on how post-disaster, recovery difficulties in rural communities are a result of both social and economic woes. Her research questions are 1) How is resident social capital impacted by government focus on economic community redevelopment? And 2) How do declines in social capital affect resident’s, farmer’s, and fishermen’s ability to handle rural problems of unemployment, depopulation, out-migration, aging, and industry stagnation? By inquiring about social capital, she uncovers the processes that lead to better or worse community recovery patterns which provide a window into how social development currently operates in rural post-disaster communities.


  • Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP)


Chickowore, N., Collier, J., Djenontin, I., Yingjie, L., Ward, K. 2019. “Addressing PFAS in the state of Michigan.” ESP Pulse. Spring issue.

Ward, K. 2016. Gounded: Tokyo Perspectives on Fukushima. NAAAS & Affiliates Monograph Series.