FEMA Region 2 Higher Education Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 2, Issue 3

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October 31, 2023 - Volume 2, Issue 3

Higher-Ed Roundtable Group Pic

Letter From the Editor

Higher-Ed Editor Pic

Welcome to the fourth edition of our Region 2, Higher-Ed Newsletter. The feature article is on our most recent Higher-Ed Roundtable, which was held at Columbia University, on September 26, 2023. The topic of the Roundtable was “Resilience & Engagement Hubs”. These Roundtables just continue to be a tremendous success, and the virtual component continues its increasing role. We had a group of High- Powered Presenters from Columbia, University of Albany, University of Virgin Islands, The Geos Institute, John Jay College, Cornell, Info Tech Resource Center, and the National Tribal Emergency Council.

A special thanks goes to Jason Fenn and Aidan Markland from FEMA, along with Jason Rivera from John Jay, who have been championing this cause for the past few years, and were the driving forces for the 9/26 event. Tom Chandler & Josh DeVincenzo, at Columbia, did a fantastic job hosting this event. We also had over fifteen Academic Institutions represented both virtually and in-person. The Roundtable discussion was facilitated by myself, Mark Strohoefer, but was basically self-propelled. The lead article, by Delia Husband, as well as Julie Nucci’s article, will go into greater detail describing the Roundtable. Keep in mind to please reach out to me if there is something you would like to see added to the roundtable format.

Our next Higher-Ed Roundtable will be on November 16, 2023, at the University of Albany, hosted by Jorge Gonzalez-Cruz and Eric Stern. The topic will be Extreme Weather.

Additionally, we are considering new members for our Higher-Ed Collaborative. The Higher-Ed Collaborative was created 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. If you know someone that would be a good fit for our Collaborative, please send me their contact info, and I will reach out to them directly.

Thank you for your continued support.


Mark Strohoefer


FEMA Region 2 Higher Ed Roundtable – Resilience and Engagement Hubs

Delia Husband Headshot

By Delia Husband, FEMA Region 2, External Affairs

Maintaining relationships is crucial to meeting current and future emergency threats.

In late September, Region 2 National Preparedness Division hosted their recent installment of its Higher Education Roundtable series.

The focus of this discussion centered on Resilience and Engagement Hubs.  The hybrid event, held at the Columbia Climate School, offered insightful conversation on the huge humanitarian climate change and the research needed to combat the disadvantaged concerns.  

The discussion centered around “placed based engagement, where assisting communities in securing funding opportunities was of utmost importance,” Jason Rivera, John Jay College, emphasized that leveraging social and huma interaction across all phases of emergency management and during “blue skies” was critical to meeting organizational goals.

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Explore the Future of Higher Education Emergency Management at the 2024 NYS College and University Emergency Management Workshop

Higher Ed Dave

By Dave Hubeny

Are you ready to continue your growth as a higher education emergency manager? Look no further than the 2024 NYS College and University Emergency Management Workshop, hosted by Binghamton University. Scheduled for January 11-12, 2024, this in-person event promises to be a pivotal gathering for professionals in the field.


New York State’s Premier Conference for Higher Education Emergency Management

Emergency management is a rapidly evolving field, with ever-increasing demands and pressures. In this dynamic environment, staying up-to-date with the latest practices and sharing experiences with peers is crucial. That's precisely what the NYS College and University Emergency Management Workshop aims to achieve.

This workshop is not just an event; it's an opportunity to be part of a community of practitioners dedicated to enhancing emergency management in the higher education sector. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your career in emergency management, this workshop offers something for everyone.

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Resilience and Engagement Hubs Explored During FEMA’s Higher-Ed Roundtable at Columbia University

Higher Ed Julie

By Julie Nucci

Columbia University hosted a Higher Education Roundtable on Resilience and Engagement Hubs this September in coordination with Mark Strohoefer, the FEMA Region 2 Higher Education Program Coordinator. Over the last several years, Jason Fenn, Senior Program Specialist in the Floodplain Management & Insurance Branch of FEMA Region 2's Mitigation Division co-developed the Hubs for Equitable Resilience and Engagement (HERE) initiative with Aidan Markland, the FEMA HQ BIL Program Office Policy Lead. Communities face a changing climate with increasingly severe weather events. The HERE Initiative fosters local empowerment throughout all phases of the disaster management lifecycle via university engagement.

The workshop speakers included Mark Strohoefer, Jason Fenn, and Aidan Markland from FEMA Region 2, Prof. Jeffrey Shaman and Laudan Behrouz-Ghayebi from the Climate School at Columbia University, Profs. Jason Rivera and Lucia Velotti of John Jay University, Prof. Kim Waddell from the University of the Virgin Islands, Kim Adams from the GEOS Institute, Dr. Julie Nucci from J. Nucci Consulting, LLC and the National Hazard Mitigation Association, Rodney Cooper and Rick Hoar from the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, and Lynda Zambrano of the National Tribal Emergency Council (NTEMC).

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Academia in Action

Higher Ed Emergency Management 

Higher Ed Anne

By Anne-Marie McLaughlin

Director of Emergency Management, NYU,
Chair of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Universities and Colleges Caucus


Key Moment for Higher Education Emergency Managers. 

Consider the role of the college or university emergency manager: it’s an emergency management position that may involve leading a full-scale exercise one day, managing a Business Impact Assessment (BIA) the next, planning a Family Assistance Center or Emergency Dispensing Site and then staffing the EOC monitoring civil unrest– here in the States or abroad. What other Emergency Management role can offer so much variety and potential for innovation? 

Emergency managers in higher education are also co-located with faculty experts in relevant areas such as homeland security, public health, emergency management, business continuity, international security, cyber security, meteorology, fire science, and other related fields. We have the benefit of proximity to knowledge makers and access to gifted interns who offer appreciated support while building their resumes. 


Challenging Times

It has never been a more challenging–or rewarding– time to be a Higher Ed emergency manager. Threats and hazards continue to pose disruptions to university communities.

Campuses must prepare for a whole host of calamities, including severe weather, power outages, flooding, fire, cyber threats, public health outbreaks, hazardous materials dangers, civil unrest, active threats, bomb threats, other crimes and more. What’s different now is the range of threats and hazards as well as the potential for complex and cascading impacts.  

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Higher-Ed Mollie

Policy Article Review 2: School Resource Officers

Mollie S. Mercado, M.S.

Department of Professional Security Studies, New Jersey City University

In accordance with the most recent active school shooter events and the School Resource Officers Save Lives Act, there has been a heightened demand to better secure school environments to reduce on-school violence. The widespread implementation of school resource officers (SROs) as a response to school safety concerns has been highly favored amongst policymakers and the public, but SROs are still not implemented in every school at the rate they should be while recalling previous devastating events (Wolfe et al., 2017). Within the research article, the authors examined the identified gap by focusing on how key school stakeholders perceive SROs effectiveness and legitimacy rather than previous research that only examined their overall effectiveness on school crime and safety concerns (Wolfe et al., 2017). By not shifting the focus of research, it is unclear what factors influence school stakeholder perceptions, and it ultimately hinders the creditability and reliability of SRO programs along with diminishing federal funding.

To provide empirical data to support the claim that SROs are effective, trustworthy, and should have a close working relationship with school stakeholders, the researchers utilized a quantitative research method to gather data along with theoretical frameworks. The procedural justice theory was used to clarify the findings of stakeholder perception in that the theory stipulates that individuals who perceived law enforcement in a positive manner and believe they are just and fair are most likely to perceive officers as legitimate authority figures (Wolfe et al., 2017).

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Intern Spotlgiht

Meet Demí Hernández Student Volunteer with FEMA Region 2

Higher-Ed Pic

My name is Demí Hernández. I am a Climate Ambassador Student Volunteer of the National Preparedness Division at the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 2, and a third-year Master of Public Health student at New York University’s School of Global Public Health, concentrating in Environmental Public Health Sciences. I am passionate about the intersectionality of climate change, emergency preparedness, and food insecurity.

With the guidance of the Faith-based Coordinator, Race Hodges, I have worked on various projects including developing a climate adaptation guide for food pantries, creating a needs and trends assessment of interviews conducted by previous climate ambassadors, and assisting the Climate Adaptation Initiative Committee (CAIC) Communications Workgroup in conducting interviews to FEMA Region 2 personnel to identify effective methods to improve climate adaptation information dissemination across the region.

The experience of being a Climate Ambassador Student Volunteer at FEMA Region 2 has highly contributed to my professional growth. I have gained hands-on public health experience and have been able to apply what I have learned throughout my graduate preparation in my ongoing internship. My projects have increased my understanding of the importance of integrating climate adaptation in emergency preparedness operations to mitigate the negative effects of the changing climate. Also, I have learned the importance of identifying appropriate public health interventions to increase climate change resiliency. The guidance and support of my supervisor has contributed to the successful completion of my projects.

In addition, I appreciate the welcoming, friendly, and professional work environment at FEMA Region 2’s office at One World Trade Center in New York City. I have enjoyed meeting fellow student volunteers who have similar career goals. And I am looking forward to continuing to support FEMA Region 2’s National Preparedness Division in different projects and tasks during my time as an intern.

John Jay Pic

FEMA Region 2 Student Volunteer/ Intern Program

Mark Strohoefer, Intern Program Coordinator

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 2 Student Volunteer Program, which is based out of our Regional Office at the One World Trade Center in New York City, aims to engage students from both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in an opportunity to gain real-life work experience with FEMA. Students are recruited, interviewed, selected, and ultimately place with a division, or team that matched their skillsets and interests. Under the direct supervision of FEMA Region 2, each student develops new ideas, while also assisting with the improvement of current FEMA programs. Students therefore gain experience in the Emergency Management field, while honing technical skills concentrated in community engagement, partnership building, climate adaptation, equity, project planning, disaster recovery, computer programming, geo-spatial data application, continuous improvement, and much more. Each student plans, initiates, coordinates, and executes a project that is relevant to their placement for their 4-month internship. The program has gained so much traction, that recruitment has halted for the Spring semester; recruiting will resume in January for the Summer semester.

Research Awards

The FEMA Hi-Ed program selected the following 15 research projects to support in FY 2023!  Please look out for the FY 2024 Call for Proposals in early 2024.

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