CEHC Partnership Exposes High School Seniors to Emergency Preparedness, Informatics, Cyber and Homeland Security

Marcie Fraser stands with EPICH students in front of a CEHC banner.
Marcie Fraser (bottom right) stands with students at the EPICH showcase. (Photo by Jillian Shuhart)

By Mike Nolan

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 30, 2024) — Seven local high schoolers are on the brink of graduation from a career exploration program at the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC).

Launched in 2022, Questar III BOCES New Visions: Emergency Preparedness, Informatics, Cyber and Homeland Security (EPICH), is open to high school seniors and hosted by the University at Albany, through CEHC.

The program offers students a unique opportunity to complete college-level courses, along with additional experiential learning components that are directly applicable to a variety of career pathways in cybersecurity, homeland security and emergency preparedness.  

It is run by Marcie Fraser, who before joining CEHC, worked at the New York State Department of Health as a health educator in emergency preparedness. She also spent 15 years as a news reporter covering medical and fitness news.  

Fraser said that the program serves as a pipeline to the University. Five of the seven graduates last year are now CEHC students.

“Our program is in its third year and growing fast,” said Fraser, a double UAlbany alum with a master’s degree and PhD in Public Health Policy and Management with a concentration in emergency management. It’s really an amazing opportunity that gets seniors prepared for college and exposed to career fields that are in high demand.”

EPICH Showcase

Earlier this month, Fraser hosted a showcase event, where students in the EPICH program shared their research on a threat that impacts emergency preparedness and U.S. homeland security. 

EPICH students share poster presentations with attendees at the showcase event.
EPICH students share their research projects at showcase. (Photo by Jillian Shuhart)

Brody Chevrier, a senior at Maple High School in Schodack, focused on human trafficking, analyzing if more restrictive state-level human trafficking laws have had an impact on the number of incidents. 

“I’m interested in going into cybersecurity, which this program encompasses, and also expands to other adjacent fields, including some that I did not know existed,” said Chevrier. “We’ve had to present in front of professors and meet with professionals who have a lot of experience. It has really helped prepare me for college.”

Collin Shea, a senior at Tamarac High School in Brunswick, commutes an hour on a school bus each way to participate in EPICH.

For his showcase project, Shea examined how prevention programs at 130 middle schools across the country have impacted the drug refusal rates of students. 

“I found out about EPICH through the New Vision handbook,” said Shea. “I’m a volunteer fireman and was intrigued by how this program combines my school and personal life. We’re treated like college students. It’s a higher work expectation than a traditional high school class, but we’re now prepared to take that next step in our education.”

Now Accepting Applicants

The half-day EPICH program meets every Monday through Friday morning during the school year at UAlbany’s ETEC research and development complex.  

Students participating can earn up to nine college credits through the University in the High School program at UAlbany. Courses include Intro to Data Analytics, Information in the 21st Century and Intro to Emergency Prep., Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.  

Current juniors interested in applying for the program may fill out an application here