How My AMU Experience Helped Set the Course for My Emergency Management Career

By Jason Junkens

Emergency management Portfolium Challenge JunkensEditor’s note: From time to time in this space, we want to share stories from our alumni as they relate their experiences with APUS and how they have impacted their careers and personal lives. This week, we feature Homeland Security graduate Jason Junkens, who recently shared and was recognized for his story as part of the APUS Open Challenge, in partnership with Portfolium. We encourage you to contact us at engage@apus.edu to share your own APUS journey with us.

My educational experience at American Military University has had a profound impact on my career in emergency management. Within a year of starting my master’s degree in homeland security, I was asked to teach at another university where I instructed ROTC. This opportunity allowed me to highlight the knowledge I gained from AMU and helped me form valuable relationships with the head of the criminal justice department and the director of public safety that facilitated subsequent employment.

The director of public safety at that institution identified a need for an emergency manager and, upon learning of my leaving my prior post, took steps to create the position. In the interim, I accepted a contract position overseas assisting in the setup of an emergency management academy, which has since become a degree-granting institution in the United Arab Emirates, offering programs in crisis management and business continuity. Upon my return, I started the emergency manager position and also resumed my adjunct instruction of homeland security courses, eventually expanding to emergency management-related courses.

The position enabled me to build a program from inception, gain valuable experience, and obtain training that has led to multiple certifications. I have been fortunate enough to complete FEMA’s Master Exercise Practitioner Program; the Basic, Advanced and Executive Academies; and the Incident Command System Instructor course. I now run a safety and emergency management program that encompasses five campuses and serves over 50,000 students. My continued adjunct instruction has also created adjunct opportunities with three other institutions, where I have taught classes on topics ranging from homeland security, crisis communications, and information technology to disaster response, incident command, and risk assessment and reduction, among many others.

None of this would likely have been possible without my degree from AMU, which enabled me to effectively transition from the military to a civilian career in emergency management. It has also provided me with a venue to share my passion for this profession and help develop the next generation of emergency managers. As a result, I have been able to establish critical relationships and a professional network that spans the breadth of emergency management, helping lead to involvement in committees that play a key role in shaping the profession at both the state and national level.

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