FEMA Region 2 Higher Education Quarterly Newsletter

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December 9, 2022 - Volume 1, Issue 1

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FEMA Region 2
Higher-Ed Climate Adaptation Roundtable

FEMA Region 2

Intern Program

COVID-19, The impact on Teaching, past, present and Future

New Book Spotlight: Dr. Kutub Thakur





Letter From the Editor

Welcome to the first edition of the Quarterly Higher Education Newsletter!

After much hard work by several dedicated FEMA staff, I am proud to present the inaugural edition of the FEMA Region 2 Higher-Ed Newsletter for your enjoyment. Here at the National Preparedness Division, we are working diligently to capture the talents of the Institutes of Higher Education that exist in Region 2. The first step in accomplishing this goal was the Higher-Ed Climate Adaptation Roundtable which was held on October 18th, which was attended by representatives from over a dozen schools and is highlighted in our lead article. The Roundtable will be an ongoing series presented on a quarterly basis, with varying topics being covered.

We are hosting a webinar discussing the Future of Emergency Management in December, which will feature panelists from St. John’s, Monmouth, Fairleigh Dickinson, and New Jersey City University. We are also in the process of establishing a Region 2 Higher-Ed Collaborative, to establish a regional community of educators, researchers, emergency managers, and private sector entities engaged in an ongoing dialogue to share information, and foster collaboration among colleges, universities, tribal nations, and centers of excellence in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As you can see, we are very excited about building and strengthening the valuable relationships with our academic partners. Please take the time to sign up any of your associates on our mailing list, which is located at the top of the Newsletter. Additionally, please reach out to me if you are interested in being a member of the Collaborative. Thank you, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

Mark Strohoefer

FEMA Region 2 Higher-Ed Climate Adaptation Roundtable

First FEMA R2 Hi Ed Roundtable

Article by:
Meredith Cohen, Student Volunteer - FEMA Region 2 and
MJ Wilson, CAIC Member - FEMA Region 2

On October 18th 2022, FEMA’s Region 2 Preparedness Division hosted their inaugural Higher Education Roundtable in Manhattan. Climate Adaptation and FEMA’s Strategic Plan Goal #2, which calls for FEMA to enhance the nation’s ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to future climate conditions, were the primary focus.

Through close collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal, and territory governments, community-based organizations, and the private sector such as this Roundtable, FEMA is taking a people-first approach to increase climate literacy, develop tools, and allocate resources informed by future risk estimates to target investments to create a more equitable and resilient nation.

The event convened experts from the private sector, federal, local agencies, and academic institutions across New York and New Jersey to discuss climate adaptation and the impacts of climate change in the emergency management community. Specifically, the conversations centered on how FEMA must adapt to meet the challenges of our changing environment. Read more

Meet Heleen

FEMA Region 2 Intern Program

Heleen Bennett, Program Specialist, FEMA Region 2

Hello! My name is Heleen Bennett, and I am a Program Specialist with the National Preparedness Division with FEMA Region 2. I also serve as the Student Volunteer/Internship Program Coordinator for our office. We accept applications from graduate and undergraduate degree students three times per year (fall, spring, and summer terms). Students selected to participate in the program receive 120-day appointments and serve with our office for about 4 months in total. Additionally, students are also eligible to extend their internship if interested and approved by their supervisor.

Student volunteers serve in a variety of projects and capacities throughout the regional office, working with divisions including National Preparedness, Mitigation, Recovery, Response, and the Office of the Regional Administrator. They complete projects ranging from reports and white papers, to providing informational presentations and trainings. Students are also encouraged to engage in professional development opportunities, such as meet and greets with staff members and informational presentations on programmatic work.


Academia in Action

Emergency Management Practices at Monmouth University

Dr. Tom Carey, Specialist Professor, Homeland Security Program - Monmouth University

Tom Carey

Homeland Security students from Monmouth University taking coursework in Emergency Management continue to obtain practical experience through various facets of experiential learning opportunities. These opportunities include taking part in internships, volunteering, field trips, and class exercises. Homeland Security majors are also introduced to Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) as an integral component in addressing comprehensive emergency management. Students are required to take at least one GIS course administered by the University’s Anthropology Department as a mandatory requirement to graduate within the program. During coursework, students receive hands on experience in applying knowledge gained in the classroom to real life scenarios. Read full article.

COVID-19, The Impact on Teaching, Past, Present and Future

Bernie Jones - St. Johns

This article is derived from the keynote speech delivered on November 12, 2020, at the Center for Teaching and Learning Enhancement in Higher Education Saxony (HDS) conference, “Higher Education Times of Crisis.” As an assistant professor teaching homeland security and emergency management at St. John’s University, I am honored for the opportunity to serve as the keynote speaker and as the author of this article. This article reflects my experiences as a crisis management professional and thoughts on lessons learned and best practices regarding crisis events that impact higher education institutions. Read full abstract

New Book Spotlight: “A Deeper Perspective on the Fundamentals of Digital Communication, Security, and Privacy Protocols”

Book Cover

The book titled “A Deeper Perspective on the Fundamentals of Digital Communication, Security, and Privacy Protocols” authored by Dr. Kutub Thakur, Dr. Abu Kamruzzaman and Dr. Al-Sakib Khan Pathan was published with the CRC press on June 30th, 2022.
This book describes the detailed concepts of Digital Communication, Security, and Privacy protocols. This book is an “easy-read” volume that makes complicated issues about communication, security, and privacy protocols easily accessible even to the general readers.
The book can be used as a textbook both for graduate studies and undergraduate classes. Different chapters or parts of a chapter of this book can also be used by undergraduates, graduates or doctoral students for their research works in the academia or by the researchers in established laboratory environments. Read full article

Voices From Region 2: Adapting Management Practices for Better Outcomes

Dr. William Toms

Public safety agencies at all levels of government have long been the beneficiary of military technology. One such technology and its application to public safety is the use of digital maps. This technology provides first responders utilizing smart phone technology with access to the floor plans of buildings, footprints of campuses and commercial complexes, and the emergency egress routes and rally points used by employees, students, and shoppers during a critical incident. Such real-time data is critical to the rescue and recovery efforts for public safety personnel responding to active shooters, fires, explosions, and other natural and man-made disasters.

An article in the September 2022 Police Chief magazine (published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police [IACP]) addresses the need to more aggressively procure and implement this technology to improve public safety outcomes. The author of the article, Dr. William M. Toms, is a career law enforcement executive and associate professor in the School of Public and Global Affairs at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Toms and FDU work with FEMA Region 2 to support our efforts of outreach within institutions of higher education (IHE) to improve emergency response outcomes. The article can be found on pages 72-73 in the magazine. Read the article here 

Promoting Resilience in Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Beyond – The New Jersey Resiliency Program

Dr. Michael Wiltsey

Michael T. Wiltsey, Ph.D., NJ Law Enforcement – Master Resilience Trainer; New Jersey City University - Professional Security Studies

In August 2019, then Attorney General Grewal, announced a directive establishing the New Jersey Resilience Program for Law Enforcement. The directive required every law enforcement officer in New Jersey to receive resilience training and for every law enforcement agency to appoint a Resilience Program Officer (RPO). This program was presumably the first of its kind in the entire country in two ways. First, it was mandated that a peer support point of contact (i.e., the RPO) was created and identified should an individual officer need support for mental health reasons. Second, it was mandated that every single law enforcement officer be provided with training on resilience in an effort to provide officers with tools to combat stress and improve their overall wellbeing. Though programs such as this did exist elsewhere in the country, to the author’s knowledge, the New Jersey program was the first to mandate both aspects of this directive. Read full article here

Current Doctoral Research Topics of Interest



Michael E. Jones


Homeless Encampments on Railroad
Property and Their Effect on Crime Rates:
A Multiple Methods Analysis of Broken Windows
and Social Decay

Justin Andrew Puchalsky    

Optimization of Reunification Capabilities at
Outdoor Music Festivals: Empowering Social
Groups to Maintain Situational Awareness through
Geolocation and Geofencing

Evelyn Byrd

Exploration of Security Risk Management Frameworks
for US Community Colleges

Kimberly L. Heredia

Effectiveness of Emergency Management Education
in Secondary Schools

Chris Palme

From the Deceptive Domestic Delinquent to the Illusive
Illicit Alien:  A Qualitative Study of 21st Century United
States Border Security Law Enforcement’s Capabilities,
Competencies, and Capacities Designed to Counter
Transient Criminality Recruitment 


Intern Spotlgiht

Meet Carely Germain Student Volunteer with FEMA Region 2

Hello! My name is Carley Germain, and I am a Student Volunteer for FEMA Region 2, specifically with the National Preparedness Division. I am currently studying to receive my Master’s in International Communications at St. John’s University.

During my time at FEMA, I have worked as a cohort leader with the Student Volunteer Program. Having a hand in this program has been very rewarding and has grown my professional development skills. Some of the skills that I was able to hone and strengthen include public speaking, organization, and working independently on projects. When I was given this unique position as a student volunteer who supports logistics for the student volunteer program, my goal was to make sure that all participants had the opportunity to learn from one another, gain the invaluable experience of connecting with each FEMA Region 2 Division, as well as grow their professional development skills. Read more

Meet Carley

Student Volunteer Carley Germain standing in front of St. John's University athletic field

A Message From Our Friends

FEMA Region 1 - Higher Education Community Engagement Conference

FEMA Region 1 has made significant strides engaging its higher education partners over the past year. In September of 2021, the first ever FEMA Region 1 - Higher Education Community Engagement Conference was held at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, an event that brought together emergency management practitioners, faculty, and students to network, learn from one another, and explore future collaborative opportunities. The event consisted of presentations from emergency management practitioners, academics, and subject matter experts, as well as themed breakout discussion sessions and large-group brief backs to develop shared research themes and questions across the region. Read more

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