#PROFspective: Emergency Management with Kevin McCarthy

Kevin stands in front of the Rowan arch in a Rowan t-shirt.

Today we speak with Kevin P. McCarthy, a recent graduate from Cranford, NJ (Union County) who earned degrees in Political Science and Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management. He was an RA (Resident Assistant) for three years in Holly Pointe, Chestnut Hall, and Triad Apartments. Kevin was also heavily involved in the SGA as well as Rowan EMS.

What advice do you have for incoming students? 

Get involved, especially with hall council your freshman year. Also SGA, that’s how I got my start in leadership on campus. Finding what organizations are good for your major. I’m on Rowan EMS. I got a lot of my connections and experiences through SGA and Rowan EMS. 

Now the Disaster Preparedness Major, I remember the last two years of that major were intended to be in Camden, correct? 

I’ve actually been taking major-related courses my entire four years. So, I’ve been going to Camden almost every semester. 

Kevin and Leah sit on the Bunce Hall marble steps both wearing Rowan t-shirts.

Has that moved to online format because of Covid?

Yes, everything is online. 

So you haven’t been able to go to Camden very much? 

Yes, not much this [past] semester. I’m also in the master’s program. I was accepted for next year. We’re seeing what’s gonna happen. If I get a full-time job or if I continue with my master’s or not, I have been taking master’s classes for senior privilege through that. 

What have been some of the advantages of going to the Rowan Camden campus for classes (even in a COVID world)?

It’s a really gorgeous building. It’s an old bank! There’s a student lounge in the basement that used to be the old safety deposit room. The area is nice and the shuttle drops you off right there. I also have a friend that goes to Rutgers Camden and it’s only two blocks away. I would go over and meet her in their Student Center every so often. It’s a very nice building.

Kevin and Leah study on their laptops sitting on Bunce Green.

What is the professional direction you would like to go?

I would like to go into emergency management in some capacity, whether that be for the government or the private sector. I’m keeping my options open. 

For those who are not familiar with this emerging major, what does that mean to a layperson? Is it like working for FEMA? 

My professor, Dr. Len Clark, said that it’s like being a general without an army. You’re making the plans and you’re in charge during the emergency, the police, the firemen, the EMS. You’re working with their respective leads and coordinating an “all-hazards” approach. If there’s a hurricane coming, you have to work with DPW, EMS, the fire department, the police department evacuating people, and preparing the town with sandbags. 

Is a lot of your work preventative? A town would bring you in to develop a plan for them and then you would move on?   

Yes, you can! There are some people who do subcontract. You’ll develop a plan for a town or a business and then leave. Or you can continue to work for that town or business, as an internal [contractor]. You would develop plans, run drills, and serve as a liaison.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

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