John D. Solomon Fellowship Offering Experience in the Emergency Management Field
Apr. 3—The emergency management field draws individuals from an array of professional and educational backgrounds. Vital aspects include the ability to communicate effectively, coordinate transportation of needed resources and create plans to implement during emergencies. No two emergency managers are alike. Your emergency management agency requires professionals with different skill sets and experiences to fulfill its mission.
Fellowships and internships offer a unique and beneficial experience by providing potential emergency management professionals with hands-on training in the field. Participants, some of whom may have never heard of emergency management, learn how they could apply their experiences and education to advance the field.
The New York City Emergency Management Department sponsors the John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service, the first student fellowship in New York City devoted specifically to emergency management. The program, which began in 2012, provides ten graduate students in the New York City area the opportunity to complete a nine-month, paid fellowship in a New York City government agency or non-profit organization. Some of the agencies include NYC Emergency Management, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Department for the Aging (DFTA), New York City Police Department (NYPD), and Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). Family and friends of the late John D. Solomon, an accomplished journalist who focused on homeland security and other public policy issues, established the fellowship.
“Emergency Management is a growing field that requires innovation and diversity of experience,” said New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “The Solomon Fellowship provides students the opportunity to develop skills they can use to achieve success in their professional careers, and it continuously strengthens the field.”
“The John D. Solomon Fellowship was created to help support those who share my brother’s passion for public service, particularly in the field of emergency management,” said James Solomon. “Our family is continually astounded by the quality and character of the fellows, and the remarkably substantive contributions they are making on behalf of our City’s emergency preparedness and resiliency.”
The John D. Solomon Fellowship team recently hosted an alumni panel discussion pairing former fellows with current graduates. The alumni discussed their experiences during and after the program. Amanda Coats, a Solomon alumna and Public Private Initiatives Analyst for New York City Emergency Management, moderated the panel.
“The Solomon Fellowship exposed me to a wealth of opportunities and experiences, which not only broadened my professional network, but assisted in launching my emergency management career,” Coats said. “I want to continue to help introduce individuals to the field as we look to continuously improve how we keep people safe.”
Amy Huang, another panelist, is a Health and Medical Specialist at New York City Emergency Management. She coordinates with local, state, and federal agencies, and healthcare providers on hospital surge response and recovery during emergencies. Huang spoke about her unfamiliarity with the field of emergency management prior to becoming a Solomon Fellow.
“Before my senior year in college I had never heard of emergency management. One of my graduation requirements included completing an internship in the health and medical field. This led me to the Solomon Fellowship,” Huang said. “It was a great experience. I learned that I could apply my education in the healthcare field to emergency management. The scope of my work could increase, affecting more people. That was something I was very excited about.”
Shannon MacColl, Public Information Officer for New York State Division of Veteran’s Affairs, also participated as a panelist. Her job description includes coordinating with local, state, and federal agencies as well as creating press and social media content for the agency. MacColl pointed to her experience with the Solomon Fellowship for sparking her interest in a career in government.
“I truly enjoy working in the public sector, providing resources for the thousands of veterans in New York State,” MacColl said. “The Solomon Fellowship was my first introduction to what it meant to work in government and played a major role in my current line of work.”
The 2018-2019 academic year marks the seventh year of the fellowship program. The program has welcomed 50 fellows into 13 different agencies and organizations. Over 50 percent of fellowship alumni have moved on to careers in either New York City or New York State government. Many have also found exciting professions with nonprofit organizations and other emergency management and public service related fields around the world.
During the fellowship, fellows represent their respective agency at community and local government meetings, undertaking various individual and agency-directed projects. They also organize and participate in community service projects, working toward enhancing the preparedness and resilience of their agency, and ultimately, New York City.
To qualify for the fellowship students must reside in the New York City metro area and be pursuing a degree in Public Administration, Public Health, Emergency Management, Public Safety, Public Policy, or other related fields. To learn more about applying to be a Solomon Fellow visit, http://www.nyc.gov/johndsolomonfellowship.