When Chris Carey first heard about the field of emergency management he was in the Army and serving as a Field Artillery Officer during his first tour of Afghanistan. It did not take long for him to see how such a career, once he left the military, would nicely complement his strong sense of mission and passion for public service.
“That’s been with me for as long as I can remember,” Chris says. “Its roots go back to even before I got my Eagle Scout. Working for elected political leadership while making the community a safer place is central to how I want to lead my life.”
After getting out of the Army, he found a position working for the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Hoboken, New Jersey. It was a temporary position but he used it to solidify his sense that emergency management was the right career path for him.
“I started looking around at that point for a program that would help me develop as an emergency management professional,” Chris says. “I was just getting my financial footing so I needed it to be part time. The UChicago MScTRM program was at the top of the list. That it was a whole Master of Science degree and not just a professional studies program meant it would be broadly applicable to my next steps in life.”
Balancing a full-time job as well as a monthly National Guard commitment, Chris’ schedule was already full, but he was able to make the time for the TRM program’s once-a-month weekend class schedule. It’s something, he says, he looks forward to not just for the intellectual engagement the program offers, but for the camaraderie he feels as he gets to know his classmates and their different professional and personal backgrounds.
“All the classes have been extremely valuable and interesting,” he says. “The program coursework doesn’t only give you a deep sense for the whole landscape of threat management and response, but a significant amount of time is also spent in discussing important issues dealing with how to best safeguard liberty and the types of policies and frameworks most effective for doing so.”
Having put his coursework on hold during a redeployment to Iraq as an Army Captain in 2017, Chris is presently in the final quarter of the program and working on his capstone project with Donald Zoufal, a lecturer in the TRM program and former First Deputy for the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management. Originally interested in taking a closer look at federal strategies for technological resilience and cyber attack response, Chris and his capstone advisor decided it might be best to focus on cyber incident response specifically at airports.
“Technology plays such a critical role throughout our lives that if organizations can’t react quickly to cyber-related incidents and other technological failures everything essentially comes to a halt,” Chris says. “Looking at the problem specifically from the airport perspective means I’ll also further develop my understanding for the important ways the public and private sectors come together as partners to combat and prepare for crises. This mix of intellectual learning and real-world problem-solving is really what the TRM program is all about.”