Ben Rachunok

Assistant Professor

Originally from Wilmington, NC, Ben Rachunok is an assistant professor in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University. Broadly, Rachunok works in risk and decision analysis with applications in sustainability and climate change adaptation. More specifically, his research uses methods from simulation and data science to understand how communities respond to natural hazards and climate change. Much of his recent work quantifies the disproportionate impact of climate change and extreme events on low-income or historically disadvantaged communities.

Before (re)joining NC State, Rachunok made several contributions utilizing data science to study critical infrastructure. Notably quantifying the disproportionate impacts of droughts on low-income households in California and developing data science tools that utilize real-time social media data to quantify how communities are impacted by climate change and natural hazards. His work has been featured by Tech Crunch, Gizmodo, Yahoo! Finance, The Huffington Post, and the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction. Ben was formerly a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Stanford University and an R&D intern at the Center for Computing Research at Sandia National Labs.

Research Interests

Rachunok’s research integrates environmental justice and engineering principles to create climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies that benefit all populations.


PostdocPost-Doctorate in Civil and Environmental EngineeringStanford University2022
Ph.D.Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial EngineeringPurdue University2020
BSIEBachelor of Science in Industrial EngineeringNC State University2016

Honors and Awards

  • 2021 | Fellow, Cohort of the Rising Environmental Leaders Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
  • 2019 | Outstanding Research Award, Honorable Mention, Purdue University
  • 2019 | Rising Environmental Leadership Program Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
  • 2018 | Lee Chaden Scholarship, Purdue University
  • 2018 | Estus H. and Vashti L. Magoon Award, Purdue University

Discover More about Ben Rachunok


Alternative household water affordability metrics using water bill delinquency behavior
Skerker, J. B., Verma, A., Edwards, M., Rachunok, B., & Fletcher, S. (2024), ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 19(7).
Predicting and understanding residential water use with interpretable machine learning
Rachunok, B., Verma, A., & Fletcher, S. (2024), ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 19(1).
Socio-hydrological drought impacts on urban water affordability
Rachunok, B., & Fletcher, S. (2023), Nature Water.
Socio-hydrological impacts of rate design on water affordability during drought
Nayak, A., Rachunok, B., Thompson, B., & Fletcher, S. (2023), ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 18(12).
Mapping climate discourse to climate opinion: An approach for augmenting surveys with social media to enhance understandings of climate opinion in the United States
Bennett, J., Rachunok, B., Flage, R., & Nateghi, R. (2021), PLOS ONE.
Overemphasis on recovery inhibits community transformation and creates resilience traps
Rachunok, B., & Nateghi, R. (2021), Nature Communications.
Short-term solar irradiance forecasting using convolutional neural networks and cloud imagery
Choi, M., Rachunok, B., & Nateghi, R. (2021), Environmental Research Letters, 16(4), 044045.
The overlooked environmental footprint of increasing Internet use
Obringer, R., Rachunok, B., Maia-Silva, D., Arbabzadeh, M., Nateghi, R., & Madani, K. (2021), Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 167, 105389.
Assessing Global Environmental Sustainability Via an Unsupervised Clustering Framework
Kanmani, A. P., Obringer, R., Rachunok, B., & Nateghi, R. (2020), Sustainability, 12(2), 563.
Assessment of wind power scenario creation methods for stochastic power systems operations
, (2020). Applied Energy.

View all publications via NC State Libraries

Ben Rachunok