Office Location: 428B10 Minard Hall
Cell Phone: 405-612-9802
Office Phone: 701-231-5595
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- EMGT 101: Emergencies, Disasters, and Catastrophes
- EMGT 363: Disaster Response
- EMGT 445: Understanding Vulnerable Populations in Disasters
- EMGT 763: Response Theory and Practice
Why are you passionate about emergency management?
I volunteered in disaster response all of my adult life and always appreciated and celebrated the incredible community and support offered to those who needed assistance during response and recovery. My early work taught me the value of contribution and the power of community. The turning point was my work in the 1995 Murrah Building Bombing in Oklahoma City. While the response was very similar in terms of community support, the factors which brought us to that moment brought me to the understanding that disasters and extreme events don’t just happen—our actions before, during, and after an event determines its impact and our recovery. My experience in OKC took me back to school to complete my PhD in Emergency Management from Oklahoma State University.
How do you translate that passion to your students in the classroom?
As a faculty member, I view myself as a force multiplier. I am only one person, but if our students go out with a deeper understanding of disasters and emergency management (and their roles in both), change is much more likely. This may sound incredibly corny, but I’m a grandmother now. More than anything else, I want my grandkids to live in a world that’s better and safer than what it seems right now. I believe we have the power collectively to make important changes. I think I bring my experiences and energy to the classroom that encourages dialogue based in theoretical and empirical knowledge from the discipline and the field.
How would you best describe your teaching style?
I strive to make my classroom inclusive, challenging, and collaborative. Every semester, I believe I learn as much from my students as I hope they learn from our class. I try to get students to get their academic hands “dirty” through participation in multiple activities. I am committed to equipping my students with the skills associated with collaboration through team-based projects. Saving the world is a team sport and I want them to be champions.
What excites you most about working with students in the emergency management program?
The most exciting thing about working with Emergency Management students is they’re already aware of the challenges and opportunities our discipline and field offers. The diverse backgrounds of our students provide insight and differing perspectives to the topics and activities we cover. They bring a certain commitment to the greater good I appreciate.
What should students bring to the table to be successful in emergency management classes?
Success demands students bring a willingness to be challenged and learn to my classes. I’m going to make most of them uncomfortable at some point in the semester. My goal is to get them to think critically and explore creative solutions to issues others might think are inevitable or unavoidable. The challenge in Emergency Management is not simply intellectual, it’s human. Human issues require each of us contribute our unique strengths in a collaborative manner. Many students report the collaborative nature of our projects is the best and most challenging aspect of our class.
Why do you enjoy being on the faculty at NDSU?
Joining the faculty at NDSU has been an amazing experience. I’m surrounded by colleagues who want to make me a better instructor and researcher everyday. We talk about what works in our classrooms and what doesn’t. We discuss learning outcomes and what our discipline needs. (I know most students think we hold faculty meetings so we can ensure assignments are all due on the same day—but we’re really talking about how to make their learning experience better.) I’m challenged every day to think more deeply about tough problems. My colleagues are conducting valuable research and contributing to our disciplinary body of knowledge. They are incredibly generous and supportive in my own research efforts. It’s also a real gift to work with a group of people who will laugh with you every day.
What are some things that you enjoy doing beyond the classroom?
I’m an aquatic animal. My husband and I travel as much as our schedules allow and these trips almost always include a beach. I’m learning about the North Dakota/Minnesota lake culture but I still prefer salt water. I love to hike and my favorite trips combine the beach and hiking. For that reason, island trips are the best—nothing beats hiking to a beach that’s accessible only by trail or boat. I love cooking—Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines are my favorites. Even more than cooking, I love to eat what other folks cook and bake. I’m absolutely insane for amateur and collegiate sports. My father played professional baseball and so I grew up surrounded by sports and 4 brothers. I was a volleyball player and my son played football and baseball. My daughter was a volleyball player as well until she found music. My first professional job was with Coach Bill Snyder at Kansas State University on his strength and conditioning coaching staff. I was the sports nutritionist. From there, I took a job with the University of Oklahoma Athletic Department and my devotion became clinical. I will spend any given afternoon in the stands watching gymnastics, wrestling, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, equestrian competitions, and of course, football. Live music is another passion. I can’t sing and I have no real instrumental talent. My daughter was a singer/songwriter and recorded EM house and coffeehouse music. Through her art, she introduced me to forms of music I didn’t know existed. As a result, I love going to any live performance from blues to electronica. My favorite genre is alternative rock although live opera is a close second.