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Dec. 23, 2014
Jessica Sigman thought she was destined for a career in politics when she arrived at Northwest Missouri State University and began pursuing her bachelor’s degree. One year in to her college career, however, Northwest began offering its emergency disaster management program as a major, and Sigman found her passion for a different pursuit.
“I saw everything that emergency disaster management had to offer, and the way it was training people to help others, so I realized a new dream at Northwest,” she said. “It was amazing to grow in such a short amount of time and learn what I wanted to do with my life.”
Sigman made the most of her opportunities at Northwest, completing her degree in emergency disaster management in 3 ½ years and graduating in December. She also converted the experiences and knowledge she gained at Northwest into full-time employment as dispatch supervisor for Maryville Public Safety.
At Northwest, Sigman participated in multiple field training activities including annual disaster simulations such as Atlantic Hope and the Northwest-sponsored Missouri Hope. The intense, real-time disaster drills prepare students for a variety of situations in addition to challenging students to overcome their fears and hone their skills as emergency responders
“Those benefitted me in so many ways,” Sigman said. “Having opportunities to have those hands-on experiences with teachers who have been in real-life scenarios in our field was huge. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re in situations like that.”
Sigman’s connection to Northwest, however, extends beyond her experiences as a student at the University. Sigman grew up in Maryville and spent her youth attending football games, cultural events and participating in other activities that continue to make Northwest an enticing place to learn and grow. When it came time for her to choose a college, Northwest’s affordability and the opportunities it offers students were difficult to ignore.
“In the end, I don’t feel like I missed anything by not going away, and it was the right choice to stay at home,” she said. “I just love the environment here. It’s comfortable, it’s relaxed, it’s about family here.”
Northwest, Sigman said, taught her to broaden her perspectives and draw connections to her field through interactions with peers, University faculty and staff, and professionals. It also prepared her with the skills she’ll use to be successful no matter where her next pursuit takes her.
“Graduation is an open door to the next chapter,” she said. “It’s being able to look back and see what we learned and take that to the next part of my life.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468