Program Alumni and Testimonials

See what previous students have to say

Katie prichard

Regional Planning Assistant/GIS Coordinator
Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission


 "My education and experiences at Millersville University in the MDST EHEM program have paved the way to a successful career and promising future. The program lead to two internship opportunities at York County Office of Emergency Management and Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency as well as multiple job offers after graduation. The knowledge I learned from my classes complemented by the real world experience I gained from my internships provided me a solid foundation when entering the workforce.

Attending the national IAEM conferences is highly recommended to anyone looking to broaden their understanding of emergency management and build connections with established emergency managers. Involving yourself in the student organization MU-IAEM also opens you up to community involvement and the advice and expertise of featured guest speakers. Both of these experiences contributed to my increased marketability in the field.

Along with a high quality education was an  exemplary support system. Dr. Yalda and Dr. Hagelgans are exceptional professors as well as advisors who held my best interest at heart at all times. They guided me in the direction that would best suit my passions and goals. My experience at Millersville will be one that I will always cherish."

Alanna Bezas

Providence Emergency Management Agency

Providence, Rhode Island


From Alanna's January 2024 interview in the Millersville Review Magazine. Read the article here.

Not everyone enters the emergency management field with an extensive background in the profession. Take Alanna Bezas, a 2022 graduate of Millersville’s undergraduate program. She began her freshman year as an undeclared major and first read about the program online. “At the time, it was a multidisciplinary studies program called environmental hazards and emergency management, and the required courses combined a lot of my interests. There were many different paths you could take after graduation, which I found appealing.” During a meeting with Dr. Sepi Yalda, Bezas says, “She painted a perfect picture, explaining the major and the opportunities available to me. I remember scheduling a phone call with her before I had even met her –she then became my thesis advisor in a full-circle moment!”

To enhance her educational experience, Bezas became the emergency response and enterprise resilience intern at NYU Langone Health in New York City and attended annual conferences with MU’s International Association of Emergency Managers. “Those conferences were excellent professional development for us; networking with professionals from around the country gave us a better understanding of what the industry entailed,” she shares.

Bezas is now a few months into her role as the regional planner at Providence Emergency Management Agency in Providence, Rhode Island, a position focusing on FEMA’s Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant. “The grant project focuses on building disaster resilience in areas ranked high on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index in Providence and Boston by building stakeholder relationships and collecting data.” She says she’s learning a lot on the job by participating in flash flood activations, a full-scale active shooter exercise, emergency shelter-in-place exercise and more. “My proudest academic moment is simply the growth I’ve had in my field. I went from not knowing this career existed, to building my own connections and successes in emergency management, and Millersville’s opportunities played a huge role in that.” She says she’s appreciative of the industry’s focus on mentoring. “I’m grateful to everyone who lent their time to have a conversation with me during my job search process. I look forward to giving back to the up-and-coming emergency managers whose shoes I was once in!

Jessica R. Stokes, M.S.

Planner and Grants Manager
Camden County Office of Emergency Management 


"The MDST EHEM program was exceptional in providing both an overview and defining the core characteristics of the Emergency Management field, especially making students understand that Emergency Management is truly a multi-disciplinary field. Advisors within the program, Dr. Yalda and Dr. Hagelgans served as mentors for all their students – they practiced what they preached, in particular about being involved in community activities and networking with individuals from all occupations. During my time in the program, students were able to attend the 2016 IAEM Conference and learn the value of networking, after-action reports from case studies, and how to intertwine our education and experiences in emergency management.

Being in the MDST EHEM program truly shaped my view on the importance of emergency management and led me to pursue a career in the field. I will always be grateful for the education I received through the MDST EHEM program and from Dr. Yalda and Dr. Hagelgans."

Dianne Toone

Send Relief- Kenya 


"My time in the EHEM program at Millersville was incredibly beneficial. From classes that taught preparedness on a local level, to courses about national level disaster frameworks, the program comprehensively covered what I needed to know to start my professional career path. My advisor, Dr. Yalda, was also amazing and helped me get the credits I needed, while tailoring the program to fit my desired career path.

I also thoroughly enjoyed being involved with MU's IAEM organization on campus. This organization helped increase involvement with the students on campus and with the local community by teaching preparedness techniques. Also, I found the IAEM's guest speakers to be invaluable to me as I considered various job opportunities."

CJ Longo

Disaster Program Specialist

American Red Cross, New Jersey


"As a junior with pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management, I have been able to dive right into the field with the help of the fantastic faculty and staff at Millersville. At the end of my freshman year I was able to secure a summer internship as the Emergency Management Intern for Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, NJ. During the same time, I began volunteering with the American Red Cross in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania. The time spent at RBMC and the time I am still spending with the Red Cross has provided me with hands-on field experience within my discipline. This past summer, I was able to obtain an internship with the American Red Cross in Greater New York as the Intern, Disaster Relief Specialist during the COVID-19 Pandemic and have been promoted to supervisory roles in the Red Cross. Taking courses within the Center for Disaster Research and Education (CDRE) has given me the necessary knowledge to apply in my field work."