Voorhees students attend the Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium

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Voorhees students attend the Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium

June 23, 2015

Three emergency management majors spoke on the importance of diversifying emergency management leaders during the 17th annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium held June 1-4 in Emmitsburg, Md.

Voorhees students James Weldon, Lastacia Frierson and Briana Thurmond attended the symposium with emergency management professor Rodney Boyd. During the symposium, these students expressed their concerns with the lack of people of color in leadership positions in the emergency management field. 

The symposium posed a question: why are there not as many emergency managers of different cultures? By the end of the symposium, emergency management majors received techniques on the best methods for recruiting emergency management leaders of different ethnicities.  

“We are limiting our effectiveness by not having more diverse leaders in emergency management,” said Briana Thurmond, senior, emergency management major. Emergency managers have to become more deliberate about recruiting people of color. Interactions within the minority communities would be a good start.”

During the symposium, the students also got a chance to discuss different career paths within the emergency field. Boyd addressed the department’s efforts to gain more relationships with businesses that will allow Voorhees students to intern.

“When students graduate, having a degree will not mean anything without experience,” Boyd said. “It is important to encourage students to gain internships so they will be better prepared for the work force once they graduate. We partner with corporations so students can get their foot in the door.”

The emergency management major prepares students to respond to crisis situations such as fires, floods and community crime. In addition, the major prepares graduates to pursue entry-level employment opportunities in various areas such as law enforcement, private sector emergency preparedness and continuity planning. 

Currently, Voorhees is the only HBCU in South Carolina to offer a major in emergency management. 

For more information, contact Megan Freeman, director of communications, at 803-780-1191 or at mfreeman@voorhees.edu.