Graham School News

As Classes Begin, Excitement and Diverse Career Backgrounds Among New MScTRM Students

Philip Baker
Master of Science in Threat and Response Management Capstone presentations

With classes underway as of the first weekend in October, the start of a new academic year at the University of Chicago brings a new batch of Master of Science in Threat and Response Management (MScTRM) students into the fold. Despite arriving from a variety of backgrounds and at different stages in their careers, they come together linked by their desires to learn about emergency management from the top experts in the field and their goals of creating a more prepared and resilient world.

Renée Jacoby graduated from Northwestern University this past summer with a degree in Communications and concentrations in Science in Human Culture and Health. She became excited by the MScTRM program while researching masters programs in the emergency management area.

“What I studied in college relates to a lot of topics in the program,” she says, “such as preparing for emergencies and crisis communication. Since my aim is to go into this field, I really wanted to be here.”

While some are recent college graduates or approaching retirement, others among the new MScTRM students are mid-career and excited to start off in a new direction or bolster the trajectory they’ve pursued thus far.

Tim Bergel discovered the program on the University of Chicago website while researching degree programs that could help him advance in the field of Criminal Justice. Having worked for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department as the director of the 911 center for the past 13 years and as a paramedic for three years before that, he intends to use the program to expand on what he’s done so far in his career on a wider scale.

“The classes have been great so far,” he says, “challenging but also very interesting. Everything’s been very relevant to the real world. A lot of times there’s a lot of fluff and a lot of filler, but this has been very fast-paced and very applicable to what emergency management is all about.”

Allison McGarry, who found the program while researching graduate programs in the city, had reached a ceiling in her present position managing analysts at a large law firm. With an undergraduate degree in Environmental Planning, she hopes to find a practical outlet for that knowledge in a potentially more rewarding career path. 

She also expressed a sentiment nearly all of the new MScTRM students with years in the workforce were happy to agree with.

“I’m excited that this is the year I’m going back to school.”