March 2018

UNT to offer bachelor’s degree in nonprofit leadership studies

More than 96,000 nonprofit organizations are located in the state of Texas, the second largest number in the nation behind California, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Nonprofits in the Dallas-Fort Worth region generated more than 27 billion in total revenue and employed approximately 103,000 individuals in 2012, as reported by Dallas’ CNM Connect.    

Beginning with the 2018 fall semester, a new undergraduate degree program at the University of North Texas will prepare students for careers in the nonprofit sector. The bachelor of science degree in nonprofit leadership studies, offered in UNT’s Department of Public Administration, will expand on courses already offered through a minor in leadership of community and nonprofit organizations and an academic certificate in volunteer and community resource management.

The department created a full bachelor’s degree program in nonprofit leadership studies in response to both student demand and increased need for management professionals at nonprofit organizations, said Laura Keyes, lecturer in the Department of Public Administration and degree coordinator. 

“Nonprofits are a vital part of our community and solve important social issues. With this degree, students will have the opportunity to make a career out of making a difference,” Keyes said.

Abraham Benavides, chair of the Department of Public Administration, said a degree in nonprofit leadership studies “prepares students with the technical and managerial skills to run an organization, thus allowing the time to focus on the real mission of the nonprofit.”                          

The bachelor’s degree includes 33 hours of core courses offered in the Department of Public Administration; 15 hours of supporting courses, which include courses in UNT’s Department of Communication StudiesDepartment of Management and Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism; and nine hours of electives. Topics for the courses include community resources for nonprofits, financial management, leadership theory and practice for volunteer managers, mediation, philanthropy and fundraising, proposal writing and grants administration and public speaking.

The courses will be offered in a mix of online and face-to-face classes on the UNT campus in Denton. Students will receive practical nonprofit management experience in a required internship, Keyes said. In addition, she said, students will be well positioned to pursue graduate work in management or public administration, including in UNT’s master of public administration degree program, which offers a specialization in nonprofit management.

For more information, visit and click on “Undergrad Degree” under “Program Offerings,” or contact Keyes at 940-891-6790 or

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

Featured course: EADP 4040 International Disasters

Every country, government, and society reduces vulnerability to hazards and copes with disasters differently. Led by the United Nations, international disaster risk reduction efforts have made moderate progress. However, in the absence of preparedness and mitigation activities, many countries focus primarily on a reactive approach to managing disasters. This method is not sustainable.

EADP 4040 International Disasters was recently offered in an asynchronous online format with EMDS adjunct faculty member Luis Tapia.

Tapia covered topics including disaster trends, risk perception, social vulnerability, and sustainable development in an international context. Video lectures, film reviews, and an online accessible text book helped facilitate our discovery on how international stakeholders handle natural disasters and acts of terrorism. Special attention was given to the role of disaster relief and identifying why developing coun-tries continue to be susceptible to disasters.

Are you interested in exploring long-term sustainable solutions for international disaster risk reduction? Learn more at

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

EMDS Alumni Spotlight: Seana Epley ('17)


This Alumni Spotlight on Seana Epley ('17) first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of The Mitigator, the EMDS department newsletter.

This year, we asked 2017 John Maxwell Award Winner Seana Epley to update us on what she is up to following her graduation from the EADP program last year. Seana writes:

"When I left the military I knew I wanted to continue being of service to my community but struggled to figure out exactly how I could. While finishing up my Associate’s degree I tried several things, but nothing felt right. Then one day, the random thought of “I wonder what degree you need to work at FEMA” crossed my mind.

"A couple of searches later and I ended up at the University of North Texas’ EADP webpage, the FIRST Emergency Management degree in the US. I can’t remember now exactly what the site said, but I know I was inspired. I scrambled to apply, finish classes, find somewhere to live, and ultimately move before the next semester started. In the end I made it in time and started at UNT in Spring 2016.

"Throughout my –surprisingly short- time in the EADP program the inspiration I felt from the beginning was continually renewed and deepened. From Introduction with Dr. Schumann, to EOC Design with Dr. Timmons, and finally Capstone with Dr. Webb (and every class in between) I could not have asked for a better or more well-rounded faculty and curriculum.

"I was also impressed by our IAEM Student Chapter and the efforts of the student leaders and faculty to involve and connect students to the world of EM. All of my experiences at UNT gave me the confidence to accept an amazing opportunity at Team Rubicon in their Planning Section.

"Now I get to use skills I learned in my EADP classes and connections I made through my member-ship with IAEM-SC to help disaster affected populations every day at TR."

First integrated health care and multicultural training offered April 7 in Frisco


At the UNT ICBH Project Team’s first integrated health care and multicultural training, participants will learn strategies and find resources that will help them increase competencies in delivering culturally responsive integrated health care services. Additionally, participants will build new connections with one another, UNT faculty and staff and potential ICBH Project partners.

Guest presenters will be Eric Christian, MAEd, LPC, NCC, Director of Behavioral Health Integration Community Care of Western N.C. and Dr. Lyndon Abrams, Associate Professor UNC Charlotte. Participants will earn 5 CE hours. Seats are limited and are on a first come first serve basis. Lunch will be donated by Berry Best BBQ. Register and learn more. 

UNT ICBH Project Presents: Integrated Health Care & Multicultural Training
Saturday, April 7, 2018
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
UNT New College at Frisco (Room 161)
2811 Internet Blvd, Frisco, TX 75034
Register online

City of Denton Disaster Drill: The Student’s Perspective

City of Denton Disaster Drill: The Student’s PerspectiveLast May, students from the EADP program participated in the City of Denton Disaster Drill at Apogee Stadium. This year’s event, named “Operation Deimos,” involved a suspicious explosive device and mass casualty event. Approximately 100 students from UNT and TWU volunteered to play the role of “victims” in this event and several lucky students enjoyed flights on the medical heli-copters. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to see first-hand disaster response in action. We are grateful to EADP alum Mike Penaluna from the City of Denton Emergency Management for providing this great opportunity for our students.

City of Denton Disaster Drill: The Student’s Perspective"I played a victim who had been disemboweled by shrapnel. My chance of survival was around thirty percent if I was not treated at a medical facility within two hours. Coming from a military background with several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I was especially interested in seeing how our law enforcement officers would secure the scene and how our firefighters and paramedics would respond to a mass casualty event involving several victims with blast trauma injuries. They responded with speed and precision. They quickly evaluated and triaged patients to determine their priority of treatment and evacuation and by what means they would be evacuated. They did not wait for the patients to be evacuated to start treating them. Treatment began immediately on scene. I saw several combat application tour-niquets (CAT) being used to control bleeding from extremities. They continued treating pa-tients during the evacuation process. Some were evacuated by ground, others by air, and some were treated on scene and released. What was especially great was that the city of Den-ton must Venson L. Herron, EADP Majorhave used a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with other cities because there were first responders from other cities who quickly arrived on scene to assist. As a matter of fact, I was transported to Denton Medical City by an ambulance from Sanger, Texas. It was a great learning experience. It allowed me to see all the coordination and efforts that go into planning such an event. Michael Penaluna, the city of Denton emergency manager, was able to pull it off. I would encourage any EADP student who is seri-ous about emergency management to participate in this event or similar events. If there is nothing else that you get out of the event, it is fun to be made up with all the injuries. Go out, enjoy yourself, and learn at the same time. I know I will participate again if given the opportunity."
-Venson L. Herron, EADP major

"I played a victim in an explosion event at Apogee Stadium, where I pretended to be unconscious and blue. While participating, I was given the opportunity to watch responders in action along with all of the challenges that come with responding to a mass casualty event. The first responders used their training to begin sorting out levels of Hannah Taylor, EADP Majortriage, and I was quickly labeled with a red tag. After being assessed by a paramedic, I was soon taken to Medical City Denton. At Medical City Denton, I was registered into the system by a nurse and assessed by several others. Following my discharge from the ER, I returned to the waiting room with all the fellow “victims.” The Denton County Disaster Drill was well put together and performed, treating the disaster as if it was real and the victims as if they were actually in need. It was a great experience to participate in and I not only learned more about the operations during disaster response in emergencies, but witnessed them first hand! I highly encourage all EADP students to participate in the next drill, I know I am looking forward to it!"
-Hannah Taylor, EADP major

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

Students receive EMDS Joslin Scholarship

This past May, the EADP program announced the winners of the 2017 Tom Joslin Award at our annual end of the year picnic. Established in 1994, the Tom Joslin Award is given once a year to EADP students to carry forward Mr. Joslin’s vision for the EADP program and profession. The award is up to $1,000. In order to be eligible, students must be (1) at least a sophomore at the time the award is made; (2) have an overall 3.0 GPA in all coursework; (3) provide evidence of a commitment to a career in emergency management such as participation in appropriate professional development opportunities (seminars, workshops, professional meetings) and membership in relevant professional associations such as IAEM-SC, and (4) have the ability to demonstrate leadership qualities and involvement in community service activities. This year, Hannah Morton and Corey Olszewski were awarded the Tom Joslin Scholarship. Below, the award winners describe how this scholarship has supported their emergency management education.

“I have been actively pursuing a career in emergency management for the last five years, and UNT's EADP program was the only program I considered to get me there. While pursuing my education, I have been serving disaster-stricken communities around the United States as a volun-teer member of Team Rubicon Disaster Response for the last four years.

In September, I deployed on Operation Hard Hustle, joining the ranks of over 1,000 “Greyshirts” on the ground along the Gulf Coast. This is Team Rubicon’s largest operation, and encompasses seven mission areas coordinated through an Area Command system, which is the first time they have deployed this capability. I served as our division's Operations Section Chief for my first time, combining skills I’ve learned from past Team Rubicon deployments with skills and experience learned in my EADP degree. It was an honor to serve the community of Wharton, Texas, and I hope to continue serving with Team Rubicon long after I graduate. I represented UNT and this program with pride on deployment, and I am thankful for the faculty here, as well as the Tom Joslin Scholarship, for putting their faith in me. I hope to carry this legacy forward wherever I go.”
Corey Olszewski

“This is the first semester of my senior year, and I just completed my internship in New Zealand this summer for disaster risk and emergency management. At UNT, I am involved in the IAEM student chapter and volunteering in emergency management related fields. These include the American Red Cross and Gregg County Community Emergency Response Team. 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.”
Hannah Morton

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