YMC Webinar: Citizen Advocacy – Tools to Advance Seismic Safety

YMC Webinar: Citizen Advocacy – Tools to Advance Seismic Safety

EERI Younger Members Committee

Wednesday, October 28th, 11am-12pm PST Webinar

Speakers: Zahraa Saiyed (Scyma Consulting, LLC), Jack English (University of Texas at Austin)

Register for the webinar here

Citizen Advocacy: Tools to Advance Seismic Safety

Zahraa Saiyed
Jack English


Advocating for seismic safety policy and advocacy is an important facet of EERI members’ expertise and professional practice. While getting started in advocacy may seem daunting, this webinar will introduce how a young member may take steps to become a seismic safety policy advocate. The discussion will cover the recently released Citizen Advocate Toolkit, explaining government structures and guides for interacting with representatives and policy makers. We will review case studies of past and current seismic safety related laws, ordinances, and bills, and provide information on how to best communicate science and engineering concepts to non-technical audiences. In addition, the webinar will cover what it is like to work with and for a public servant on various types of policies, and leave young members with actions they can take today in progressing seismic safety in their locale and state.

Speaker Biographies:

Zahraa Saiyed is a disaster risk reduction and public policy consultant with background and training as an architect, building scientist, structural engineer, and educator based in California. Zahraa’s domestic and international work ranges from anticipatory design projects, designing sustainable and resilient built environments, developing practice and personal preparedness guidance, and policy evaluation and development for seismic risk reduction at the federal, state, and local level. She leads EERI’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee, is a member of the Western States Seismic Policy Council’s (WSSPC) Building Engineering, Construction and Building Codes Committee, and is a member of the Infrastructure Policy committee with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Zahraa’s legislative advocacy has ranged from seismic safety and preparedness, to equity in the workplace, as well as medical consumer rights for public health and wellness. She is a co-founder and principal of Scyma Consulting LLC located in the Bay Area, and is an adjunct professor of Architecture and Community Design at the University of San Francisco.


Jack English is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a dual degree M.S. in Civil Engineering and Master of Public Affairs. He obtained a dual B.S./B.A. degree in Civil Engineering and Political Science from Case Western Reserve University in 2018. He has worked for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the California Assembly. He currently serves on the EERI Public Policy & Advocacy Committee, its California Subcommittee, and as the PPA liaison to the YMC. A native of San Francisco, Jack seeks to improve resilience implementation across levels of government by bridging the gap between policy development and engineering.

Younger Members Committee