EMDS student reflects on internship in New Zealand

MortonDuring this past summer, EADP student Hannah Morton had the opportunity to com-plete her emergency management internship in New Zealand. This is a unique program in which students gain experience interning at the Joint Center for Disaster Re-search through Massey University in Wellington and the National Headquarters for Fire and Emergency, New Zealand offices. Hannah was one of 11 students from across the United States selected to participate in this program.

When asked about her experience overseas for a semester, Hannah writes:

“I got to study in person the infrastructural damage from the massive 2011 Canterbury earth-quakes in Christchurch, climb a volcano in Auckland, and study tsunami hazards all along the coasts. It was extremely eye opening! For the Joint Center for Disaster Research (JCDR) I studied small community vulnerability, the unique risk perception and disaster culture among the extremely diverse population, and completed several hazard identification and risk assessments (which I did very well thanks to Dr. Siebeneck’ s mitigation and preparedness class!)

During the rest of the program I interned in Wellington with the national headquarters for Fire and Emergency New Zealand, their fire service. I conducted research for the special operations team, assisted with resource allocation for a project meant to im-prove the safety of firefighters during water related emergencies, and compiled data on the results of safety trials for firefighting gear. It was completely different than any work I have ever done before, especially since it was within the national level of government. However, they made it extremely educational; they took me to the country's National Crisis Management Center (equivalent is a national EOC), their parliament, and arranged a ride along with one of their busiest departments. The whole experience was a great way to study alternative methods to common emergency management practices in the US, gain exposure to a new culture, and see how differently disasters are treated in different parts of the world.”

Now that Hannah is back on campus, she is continuing her coursework in the EADP program and remains an active member of the IAEM Student Chapter, she volunteers for the American Red Cross, and is a member of the Gregg County Community Emergency Response Team. This past year, Hannah was a winner of the Tom Joslin Award and she states, “I was extremely excited to receive this scholarship because it allowed me financially to pursue a certificate degree in volunteer coordination and management and also complete it by graduation in May.” The EADP program is very proud of Hannah’s academic and professional achievements and we are delighted she represented the EADP program in New Zealand.

This story first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of The Mitigator, the EMDS department newsletter