Samantha Penta

Emergency management expert with focus on health and medical issues during a crisis, decision-making and humanitarian logistics.

The World Within Reach
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Samantha Penta

Assistant Professor
College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity
Department: Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity

Disasters and Crises; Crisis and Emergency Management; Humanitarian Relief; Humanitarian Logistics; Health and Medical Issues in Disasters; Organizational Responses to Disasters; Collective Behavior; Convergence; Decision-Making; Disaster Policy

Campus phone: 518-442-5268
Campus email: [email protected]


Samantha Penta is an assistant professor of emergency preparedness in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology, and an honors bachelor of arts in sociology and history with distinction at the University of Delaware. Before her appointment at UAlbany, she worked for several years at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware.

Penta’s research focuses on health and medical care in crises, decision-making in preparedness and response and humanitarian logistics. She worked on projects examining evacuation and preparedness challenges for long-term care facilities, disaster donations behavior, and community recovery and resilience to disasters and epidemics. Her most recent work examines the processes involved in planning and implementing international crisis medical relief efforts, focusing on health and medical responses to the 2015 Nepal earthquake and the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Penta specializes in qualitative research, and has participated in multiple quick response field research deployments, including to New York City following Superstorm Sandy, the Oklahoma City area following the May 2013 tornados, Florida leading up to Tropical Storm Erika, and Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. She is committed to interdisciplinary work that both advances scientific knowledge of crises and disasters, while also supporting the people affected by those events.

Penta has presented her work in regional, national, and international forums, including at the Natural Hazards Workshop in Colorado, at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress of Sociology in Japan, and at the 4th International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction in New Zealand. Her published work is featured in outlets including the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters and Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy.