1 Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness Program Virginia Commonwealth University Spring/Summer 2013 Newsletter HSEP Graduate Students Participate in Service Learning Higher education is about more than classes. Learning can occur through class related activities and through work in the community. In some ways, learning that happens with members of the community will resonate better than reading a chapter. Professor Jim Keck s HSEP 601, Emergency Management course is a service learning class which connects graduate students with local agencies for the betterment of both. HSEP 601 is designed to examine the key elements of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. An important element of this class is understanding emergency operations and emergency operations planning at the Locality (County), State, and Federal level. Students work in teams to assist local agencies and enhance or develop an Emergency Operation Plan or a similarly critical document. The final product of the course is a student presentation of the revised EOP to the agency. Feedback from the agencies has been overwhelmingly positive and many students have pointed to that experience as a key element in their job search. There are also service learning opportunities at the undergraduate level in the HSEP program.
2 Message from the Chair I hope that you are all enjoying a great summer and are excited about the Fall semester. This has been a busy Spring and Summer and I want to first congratulate the many graduates from the Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness program. A total of 37 students graduated this Spring with an undergraduate degree in Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness. The average GPA of graduates was over 3.0 and two students finished with a perfect 4.0 exceptional work. I would like to recognize the following undergraduates for their truly impressive graduating GPA s: Jessica Lovell, earning a GPA of 4.0 Lisa Garrett, earning a GPA of 4.0 Zane Urtane, earning a GPA of Jonathan Huie, earing a GPA of Aura Villanueva, earning a GPA of 3.9 We also saw twelve students earn their Master s degree and five students completed the Graduate Certificate in HSEP. Congrats to all of our graduates please keep in touch with us and let us know where you land. We are particularly interested in hearing about your work related to HSEP. This Fall semester we are featuring several new special topics undergraduate courses and are offering extra sections of several of our most popular graduate courses. The graduate program is thriving and we admitted one of the largest groups of students for this Fall in program history. We have also heightened our expectations for admission which makes a large incoming cohort even more impressive. As the Fall semester begins I wish all of our new and returning students the very best in your studies. New HSEP Faculty Please join us in welcoming our newest faculty member, assistant professor Dr. Carolin Goerzig. Her position at VCU follows an appointment as a visiting research scholar at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Goerzig will teach courses on negotiating with terrorists, terrorism and radicalization research. Goerzig s previous affiliations include work as a visiting researcher at the London School of Economics and postdoctoral fellowships at the RAND Corporation and the EU Institute for Security Studies. Furthermore, she has been a participant in the Young Scientists Summer Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and she completed a pre-doctoral fellowship as Marie Curie Fellow at the Department for Peace and Conflict Research of Uppsala University. She holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Munich. During her doctoral studies and sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service she completed field research in Egypt, Turkey, Colombia and Syria interviewing former members of terrorist groups. She holds a master s degree in international conflict analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies at Kent University and a bachelor degree in international relations from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany. Dr. Goerzig specializes in the role of non-state armed actors in global politics. Her book Negotiating with Terrorists: Concessions and the Renunciation of Violence was recognized as the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of the Year Goerzig s current research examines the radicalization of Islamists in Europe and the US,
3 negotiating with terrorists, cooperation among terrorist groups and the internal dynamics of terrorist groups. Congratulations to Award Recipients Three HSEP graduate students and one HSEP undergraduate received awards from VCU s College of Humanities and Sciences this Spring semester. These awards recognize the students for their exceptional grades and their contributions to the University and community. The graduate award recipients were: Erica Bernstein, Mary Donny Steele Nicholson, and Henry Ponton. The undergraduate recipient was: Jessica Lovell. Congratulations to these stellar students I know you will represent the HSEP program well upon graduation. HSEP Students Visit the State Department This past spring semester, members of Professor Fran Belisle s HSEP 491 Special Topics: Security and Diplomacy class went to Washington DC to see the where Diplomacy happens. Twelve students and Professor Belisle spent a day meeting with diplomats and visiting key sections of the Department of State. They were able to gain access to the Emergency Operations Center and the Domestic Operations Center. Many thanks to Professor Belisle for organizing this adventure and congrats to the students for taking your learning beyond the classroom.
4 HSEP Undergraduate Student Profile: Sultan Al Kaabi As a United Arab Emirates (UAE) military officer and aviator, I have achieved many professional and personal goals throughout my career. I am currently a Lieutenant Colonel, UAE Army (aviation). The following is a synopsis of my background and professional career: : UAE Air Force Academy. Graduated as pilot w/b.s. in Aviation Science. 1995: Received aviation diploma and AH-64 Attack helicopter pilot, Fort Rucker, USA : Supported NATO Task Force Peace Keeping Operation Kosovo (KFOR). 2003: Participated in Kuwait Shield Operation. (During Iraq Invasion) : Established the UAE Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA) and first Director of the Maritime Security Executive Committee (MSEC). As one of the founders of the CNIA, I worked closely with numerous government and private stakeholders to develop the initial policies and protocols required to safeguard critical national infrastructure. The MSEC acts as the maritime security coordinator and provides options and recommendations for upgrading and improving the standard of commercial port security in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Outside of my marriage and my five children, the events that had the most life-changing impacts concerned my participation in the creation and development of the CNIA, Critical National Infrastructure Authority, and the MSEC, Maritime Security Executive Committee. Working closely with the highest-level government and military leaders (e.g., Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Director of the CNIA) provided a window into the geopolitical and military matters at a level seldom afforded to an officer of the rank of Major. This experience further motivated me to seek challenging assignments that allow me to contribute to the safety and security of the United Arab Emirates and allies. Upon completion of my assignment at the CNIA/MSEC, I was asked by the UAE Armed forces to pursue a degree in homeland security and emergency management. The school that best aligned with my educational goals is VCU. The HSEP program has been an eye opening experience that I would highly recommend to future students from all countries. HSEP Graduate Student Profile: Patrick Foliard I attended James Madison University from 2007 to 2011, and graduated with degrees in History and Information Analysis, the latter of which was formally established in conjunction with the Department of Defense during my freshman year. After leaving JMU, I decided to continue my education with a graduate degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. I had been interested in emergency management ever since serving as a Governor s Fellow with the Office of Commonwealth Preparedness and I was pleased to see that the VCU HSEP program combined both fields in a unified curriculum. Coming from a background in national security, the combination was exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program. During my first year at VCU, I also attended the Chesterfield County Fire & EMS volunteer recruit school. Learning about the strategic planning behind
5 county and statewide preparedness plans and skills necessary for firefighting and EMS was one of the most rewarding experiences I ve ever had. The ability to pull knowledge from one side of my studies and apply it to the other was invaluable, and continues to inform my understanding of emergency management from all levels. After graduating from recruit school in June, I serve as a volunteer Firefighter/EMT-B at Station 10 in Chesterfield. I recently returned from a two month internship with Hilton Head Island, SC, Fire & Rescue, where I worked with the department s emergency manager during weekdays and responded to fire and EMS calls during nights and weekends. The unique nature of the island surfaced in both the emergency planning work (there is only one bridge on and off the island, and the entire island would need to be evacuated for a significant hurricane) and on calls. I would never have discovered the internship had I not been involved on campus as a teaching assistant for HSEP 101 and 302. The assistantship itself was very rewarding, and allowed me the chance to teach a handful of classes and see the progress of students throughout the year. I plan to continue serving as a firefighter, either on a volunteer or professional basis. I am also interested in becoming certified as both a paramedic and a hazardous materials specialist. I will be working with the Virginia Department of Corrections this upcoming school year through the Wilder Graduate Scholars Fellowship where I will be assigned to the Policy and Initiatives Unit. I hope to further expand my experience working with Emergency Operations and Recovery Plans while with the Department and I look forward to my second year of studies at VCU and to graduating in May with a M.A. in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. HSEP Alumni Profile: Mark Limbo, VCU Class of 2009 What did you study at VCU and how did it help prepare you professionally? I majored in Chemistry at VCU but also took several HSEP courses (Risk Analysis/Vulnerability with Dr. Levy and Terrorism with Mrs. Moslow-Benway). Professionally, VCU allowed me to broaden my global perspective beyond the science realm, develop academic contacts, and take on greater responsibilities. I wouldn't have been able to attend graduate school without the help of the Career Center, Honors College, and especially two HSEP faculty members who vouched for me on my application. Fortunately, my HSEP professors were willing to help me. What did you do after graduating from VCU? After VCU, I received my M.S. in Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University, where I honed my analytic abilities. I got my first taste of holding down a real DC job when I interned at the National Defense University. However, my second internship at the Defense Intelligence Agency was my most rewarding experience. I accomplished more in my one year stint there than my entire professional career before then. I performed the duties of an intelligence analyst--including writing reports, analyzing information, briefing results, collaborating within the intelligence community, and attending training courses. (I wasn t exactly Jack Bauer, but it was rewarding nonetheless.)
6 Any advice you d like to pass on to current students? First, try new things during undergraduate school. Broaden your perspective and find out what you truly want to spend your career doing. What you think you want to do for a career, might actually be a big disappointment...or maybe just the opposite is true. Second, network, ask questions, and get noticed by professors. If you're willing to put in the work, professors are willing to give a more personalized letter of recommendation because they know more about you. Also, use the Career Center...their resume and interview tips are as good as any and their job is to help you get your job. Third, the choices you make today have real consequences in the future. This is especially relevant if you want to work anywhere requiring background checks. Fourth, don't quit trying if you believe in your abilities. My first job application was for an FBI internship. Getting rejected was very disappointing, but I matured because of it. Fifth, bring something new to the table. Find out what makes you stand out and why a company/agency should hire you over someone with similar background/accomplishments. Finally, enjoy what you do and own it. The only thing you control is what you do and how well you do it. What are you doing now and where do you see yourself in five years? I am currently an intelligence analyst. Five years from now I want to be an even better analyst. *Thanks to Professor Maureen Moslow-Benway for this interview and alumni contact. Classes in Action Here are two pictures of HSEP students participating in exercises. The students in HazMat suits, with Professor Jim Keck, participated in an exercise at Amelia High School. The student with the fake gun shot participated in an exercise at the DuPont plant in Henrico County. Thanks to Professor Keck for these pics and to the students for helping to make these exercises beneficial to the agencies involved.
7 Internship Opportunities The Wilder School has recently expanded internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Gay Cutchin is the new internship program coordinator and she has a wide array of placements available for students. These can be great experiences, learning opportunities, and avenues to post-graduation employment. Please contact the Internship Office in Scherer 205 or via at for more information. Good luck to everyone as you begin the Fall semester. Please look for another newsletter in the spring semester and let us know if you have anything you would like to include.
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