Program Alumni and Testimonials
Dr. Heather Beal is a 2013 MSEM program graduate. Since graduation, she founded and runs BLOCKS, a nonprofit dedicated to preparing childcare and children for disaster. She also writes children’s books with Train 4 Safety Press that teach kids what to do “just in case” of disaster and can be found presenting at various conferences on the importance of preparing child care and children for disaster.
“In the military I learned a lot about crisis management, but at Millersville University I learned about the discipline of Emergency Management and its criticality for building and maintaining community resilience. The MSEM program at Millersville University is a fantastic program staffed by subject matter experts that seamlessly blended academic rigor and research with practical application and observation. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
Heather is a Navy veteran with 23 years of active duty service. She is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) and has a PhD in Public Policy & Administration with a specialization in emergency management (childcare recovery focus). She also holds Master’s Degrees in Asian studies, conflict resolution, and cyber security policy.
Pamela Drake is a 2011 graduate of the MSEM program at Millersville. Since graduation, she has worked in a number of fields within Emergency Management, from Disaster Planning, Training, and Exercise Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, to working in University Emergency Management and Healthcare Emergency Management. Pamela currently serves as the Deputy Director for Healthcare Emergency Management at the Public Health Management Corporation, supporting the Pennsylvania Department of Health and healthcare coalitions across the Commonwealth.
“Millersville University’s Master of Science in Emergency Management allowed me to learn from and network with some of the best Emergency Managers in the field,” says Drake. “Millersville’s program is unique in that it provides a solid evidenced-based background in Emergency Management history and theory while requiring a broad-base of fundamental learning in closely related fields as a foundation for Emergency Management practice. Millersville’s MSEM is led by strong subject matter experts excel at combining theoretical study with practical application and has a strong history of cultivating cohorts of dedicated students. The program is excellent for practiced Emergency Managers, those looking to grow their academic credentials, and those looking to transition to the field Emergency Management.”
Jeff Jumper is a 2016 graduate of the MSEM program. Jeff is currently employed as the state meteorologist for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the first to hold this role created in 2015. He also is a part-time adjunct professor for the CDRE, teaching an introductory course in emergency management.
“The MSEM program allowed me to literally hit the ground running as I made a transition from broadcasting to emergency management,” said Jumper. “Having a faculty well-versed in both academics and real-world applications made the difference in setting me up for success in my new career. I would encourage anyone from recent graduates to seasoned emergency mangers to consider this program as a way to enhance their career potential. The networking alone is well worth the time.”
Previously, Jeff spent nearly a decade as a broadcast meteorologist in Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Louisiana. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Penn State University in 2006. Mr. Jumper is also an active public servant as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, joining his first fire company at the age of 14 as a junior firefighter.
"If you’re at all interested in emergency management, the MSEM program is the perfect match. I learned of the different sectors of the field from instructors that are practitioners in the field. Plus, I personally loved my opportunities to bring my meteorological background into the field of emergency management while learning from my colleagues with backgrounds in social work, EMS, and even military across the country. Finally, the MSEM program gave me the opportunity to conduct original research that tied in both emergency management and meteorology. Shortly after graduating in May 2020, I accepted a position as the Public Information Officer with the PA Department of Health. I can honestly say that I would not have gotten this position if it weren’t for the MSEM program!"
"The Millersville Emergency Management Master’s program came highly recommended to me by several people and I am very glad I took their recommendation. I was working full time (and planning a wedding) while working through the degree, so the online nature of the program, with synchronous classes, discussion groups, and papers, made obtaining this degree quite manageable. Students in the program come from a wide variety of backgrounds, which allows for a diverse set of perspectives to be shared when learning and discussing the material and real-world events (of which there were, and continue to be, plenty!). I've been able to take my degree and expand my current role as a meteorologist and now, emergency preparedness specialist [at AccuWeather], to provide emergency management insight and expertise to our business to business clients. Formal education and training are necessary in Emergency Management, and Millersville’s well-rounded program is doing a fantastic job in turning out qualified emergency managers."
Dennis J. Merrigan:
Deputy Chief Dennis Merrigan is a 29-year veteran of the emergency services rising through the ranks of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) to his current position of Chief Fire Marshal where he oversees an office of eleven Assistant Fire Marshal’s (AFM’s) and staff. The Philadelphia Fire Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) is charged with investigation of suspicious fires, and enforcement of all state laws and city ordinances pertaining to fire prevention within the City of Philadelphia. The office works closely with state and federal partners such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Philadelphia Police Department on large loss and commercial fires. The Office also investigates all fire related deaths and injuries in the city.
As a veteran chief officer, he was one of four initial members of the PFD’s Incident Safety Office, instituted after a string of tragic firefighter Line of Duty Death’s (LODD) struck the department. A graduate of the National Fire Academy’s (NFA) Safety Program Operations course, his extensive training includes over sixty professional certifications.
Chief Merrigan has successfully completed field assignments in both Engine and Ladder companies across the city of Philadelphia including the busy Center City area that covers some of our nations most important landmarks such as: The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Constitution Center and Penn’s Landing.
A contributor to Firehouse Magazine, Chief Merrigan is a member of their Editorial Advisory Board and has also been published in Fire Engineering Magazine. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army.
With a background in consulting and private industry as well as government service, Chief Merrigan’s education ranges from a diploma from trade school and a criminal justice degree from Community College of Philadelphia to completing his master’s degree at Millersville University. After graduating from Millersville, he went on to complete an advanced certificate program in terrorism studies at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Adam is currently a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in San Diego, California., where he focuses on outreach to the community and diversity. He has also been involved with local emergency management by providing weather forecast support for recent wildfire burn scars and various outdoor events. Prior to joining the NWS in the summer of 2018, Adam was a Graduate Assistant at the CDRE on campus for the 2017-2018 school year. While there, he also completed an internship with the Lancaster County EM Agency (LEMA). Adam completed his undergraduate degrees in Meteorology and French from Ohio University in 2016 and plans to graduate the MSEM program in December 2020. While not at work or school, Adam enjoys taking a nice road trip off the beaten path, reading maps, or watching films from the Golden Age of Hollwood.