5 Questions with Faculty: Samantha Phillips

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 11, 2018) – Samantha Phillips, the former emergency management director for the city of Philadelphia, made the leap to academia two years ago, joining the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. She is a public service professor and leads the college’s National Center for Security and Preparedness.

What did you do before you came to UAlbany?

I was the emergency management director for the city of Philadelphia. We went through a lot of really wonderful and challenging events. Everything from a fatal Amtrak derailment to hosting Pope Francis through the World Meeting of Families. We hosted the Democratic National Convention, and then every sort of smaller-scale emergency from water main breaks to multiple alarm fires.

Why did you decide to transition into academia?

I didn’t have a background or experience in academia and I thought that this was a really interesting next step to start to dip my toe in the academic space, but do so while being very practitioner-focused.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

Seeing that lightbulb in a classroom setting, and for me, being able to talk about my experiences and really help students apply those experiences to course curriculum and to what they’re studying has been this really interesting thing that I’ve been able to provide.

What would you say to students interested in emergency management?

What you learn here at UAlbany will be immediately transformed in a field setting in a very practical and meaningful way.

What’s next for UAlbany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity?

The Dean [of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity] Bob Griffin and I are going to be doing more to merge the National Center for Security and Preparedness and the college’s experiential learning program to find those linkages between practitioners in the field, students and really training students for success.

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