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New blood: Meet GEM’s new team members from Costa Rica, Italy, France and the United States


Mar 17, 2020

The GEM Secretariat is proud to welcome its newest members: Sandra Giacomini, Nicole Paul, Alejandro Calderon, Thomas Chartier and Antonio Ettorre.

Sandra joined the Support Services team as Administration and Secretarial Officer working on various accounting tasks, event planning and coordination. She also works closely with the communications unit and helps in maintaining GEM’s social media up-to-date, in particular Facebook and LinkedIn. Sandra is from Italy and previously worked at a labour consultancy company for about 10 years while, for the last 6 years, she was in charge of the Understanding and Managing Extremes (UME) Master and Doctoral programmes at the Post Graduate Office of Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia.

Nicole joined the Risk Team as an Earthquake Risk Modeller. She is currently involved in the propagation of uncertainty within the METEOR project, which is funded by the UK Space Agency and aims to develop innovative application of Earth Observation (EO) technologies to improve understanding of exposure with a specific focus on the countries of Nepal and Tanzania. She will also contribute to improvement, validation, verification, and documentation of the Global Risk Model. She brings to GEM 5 years of experience in earthquake engineering and risk analysis from her former role with Arup San Francisco. Her degrees are an MS in Structural Engineering from Stanford University and a BS in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Alejandro joined the Risk Team as Physical Risk Engineer. He is currently involved in the implementation of the GEM and USAID-OFDA Project: Training and Communication for Earthquake Risk Assessment (TREQ) in Quito, Ecuador and Cali, Colombia. He is also the lead of the seismic risk model development and maintenance for Central America and the Caribbean region. Ale is from Costa Rica, having just completed his PhD on “Towards a Uniform Earthquake Loss Model across Central America” in the Risk & Emergency Management Program of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Pavia. Ale also interned with GEM as part of his PhD program and contributed to GEM projects in Central America.

Thomas joined the Hazard Team as Seismic Hazard Scientist. His role will focus on the development of open-source tools and software for probabilistic seismic hazard and risk assessment, in collaboration with the IT team. Thomas will also provide support for the creation of national, regional and global PSHA hazard models, in close collaboration with scientists working in different parts of the world. Thomas is from France, having recently completed a PhD at the Ecole Normale Superiore in Paris on “Modeling Active Faults for Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment” and also bringing several years of work experience including on earthquake hazard modelling for application to nuclear power plant safety with IRSN in France.

Antonio joined the Information Technology Team as Systems Administrator. His role is to ensure that GEM’s networks and services are working 24/7 especially the computer clusters that run complex OpenQuake-engine calculations. He is also in charge of maintaining all GEM hardware such as workstations and servers. Antonio is from Italy, having graduated in Physics from the University of Pavia and bringing two decades of work experience as a senior systems engineer.

For a complete list of GEM Secretariat members, visit

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