Life in the HSEM Program

John Anderson

School is important to me because, in the long run, I know it’s going to help me. I want to join a fire department after graduation and with the skills I’m learning now through the HSEM program, I have the knowledge and experience to be a firefighter and potentially the chief of a department one day.

By mixing in the business side with the emergency planning, I feel as if I’m getting the best of both worlds while also having a more useful degree then someone with only fire science. I felt that the HSEM program was a good fit for me after transferring into UAF and having my associate degree in criminal justice meet their requirements. I was able to immediately go into junior standing and start taking the classes I needed to succeed. 

The program can also be done completely online and in my current job that was a huge draw considering I could be deployed at any time. I can also take classes in person and interact with the UAF community. The HSEM program has taken my military training and applied that to classes and credits I need. The whole experience dealing with Director Cameron Carlson and his staff has been one the best and easiest college-based experiences I’ve had. I would recommend the HSEM program to anyone out there.


Sheila Teal

When I went back to school full time I decided not to work and focus on school. I was at the same job for over 19 years and wasn’t able to dedicate the time I needed for my education. I made school my priority. 

I spent my adult life as an active-duty member of the Air Force and decided to use school as part of my transition into the civilian world. I’m learning a lot about the local community through my involvement in the student organization Associated Students of Business (ASB). I’m also using my contacts at school as an opportunity for networking with my instructors and fellow classmates.

Shortly after I arrived to Alaska my Flight Commander (civilian equivalent would be a department head) was moving and told me he had selected me to take over our unit’s Antiterrorism program. I imagined program management wouldn’t require much time and was more of a title than a job. It wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. Instead, I learned a lot about the aftermath of terrorist activities throughout the world, as well as what’s done to thwart them and the actions I can take to help prevent them. After leaving the military, I decided Emergency Management was what I wanted to do and was lucky enough to find a university that offered the program.

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