Hear From Our Students

Brennan Palmer
Nathan Johnson

BSEM 2017
Local Emergency Response Coordinator, Yakima Health District, WA

I am an alumnus of the UAF Bachelor of Emergency Management program; I also worked at the University Fire Department as I went through the program.

When I first began the BEM program, I had no idea what emergency management was. My first class was Principles of Homeland Security and Emergency Management taught by Sean McGee.  I remember sitting there the first day completely amazed, and I quickly learned exactly what emergency management means. The concept of working on complex plans with community partners to ensure the safety of the community hooked me right away. After graduating, I moved back to Washington where I worked in a hospital emergency room and led the ER’s Disaster Committee. Shortly after that, I found myself working full time in an emergency management role. I am now the Local Emergency Response Coordinator for the Yakima Health District. Within this position, I work on planning and responding to public health emergencies.

As an alumnus, I can safely say that I would not be in the position that I am in now if it weren’t for the BEM program. I would like to thank the College of Business and Security Management faculty for opening my eyes to a career field that I previously never realized existed.

Addendum - May, 2020
Right now I am the Incident Commander for Yakima County’s response to COVID-19. Yakima County currently has the highest infection rate on the west coast, as 63% of our population is essential workforce.  Over the last few weeks, we have worked closely with the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health to help reduce the infection rate. It has been an unreal experience the last two and a half months - but it was the foundation I built at UAF that has helped ensure my success in this role. Thank you again to CBSM's BSEM program!

Rachael Doniger
Rachael Doniger

BSEM 2016
Dispatcher, Snohomish County Police Staff and Auxiliary Services Center, WA

The HSEM program at UAF allows people in the military or the emergency service fields to highlight their skills and experiences and apply them toward the growing fields of emergency management and homeland security. Working as a full-time 9-1-1 dispatcher, I needed an affordable, quality program that was available online and flexible for my schedule, and I found it at UAF. For me, a highlight of this program has been receiving instruction from experienced professionals who can relate the course material to practical, real-world applications. In addition, my fellow students come from a broad range of professions and offer unique perspectives. My experience in the HSEM program has broadened my own emergency dispatcher viewpoint to a more global emergency management perspective. I strongly believe this degree can provide career advancement opportunities in both the private and public sectors of emergency management.

Erick Anez
Erick Anez

BSEM 2015
Business Continuity Administrator, Southwest Gas Corporation

The HSEM program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been a great educational experience thus far. I first became aware of the program through inquiries to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding which universities they recommend and endorse. I learned that UAF’s program is listed on the FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s “The College List” and that the online program is offered at resident tuition rates for all students.

The course material has proven quite useful in my pursuit of education in the field and also in my professional development as a business continuity professional. The program instructors are great and have a wide range of hands-on industry experience, which they share with their students. It is a great honor to learn from instructors who work with FEMA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and police and fire departments and who are able to share the experiences and lessons learned throughout their careers.

At first, I was a bit concerned about the online learning format. However, I soon realized that it suited my busy schedule quite well and I did not feel that I was missing out on anything in comparison to a traditional classroom setting.

This program has allowed me to grow as a professional in the business continuity industry; I recently became a Certified Business Continuity Professional and continue to grow with every class and experience.

I highly recommend this program, not only to those seeking a career in public safety, but also to those with an interest in business continuity and risk management.”

Sarah Saarloos
Sarah Saarloos

BSEM 2017
Public Information Officer, Alaska Incident Management Team, Anchorage, AK

A degree in emergency management was the perfect fit for my career in incident management. The quality of the material is top-notch and the “real-life” relevancy of the lessons can be applied to all types of careers. Obtaining this level of education complements my years in the wildland firefighting field and has opened doors to exciting career opportunities.