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Nov. 6, 2018
By Grace Niemeyer, communication assistant
A Northwest Missouri State University student is one of three in the nation to receive the International Association of Emergency Managers Robert C. Bohlmann Scholarship for Service in Emergency Management.
Savannah Baker, a sophomore emergency disaster management (EDM) major from Gretna, Nebraska, received the prestigious $4,000 scholarship.
“This is an honor for me,” Baker said. “It helps me not have to worry about any other costs that I would have to cover while I’m here and having that on my résumé, for me more than anything, is an honor. I was shocked and amazed.”
Baker submitted two essays and three letters of recommendation. She used the knowledge gained from her coursework to write an essay about disaster response and recovery. Her second essay focused on Bohlmann’s character and how his passion and dedication to the emergency management field can be emulated.
Bohlmann was a lifetime IAEM member and co-founder of the scholarship program. He served as a county emergency management director, educator and vice chair for numerous committees. He advocated for the emergency management profession and maintained his credentials until his passing in 2016.
“Reading his autobiography before I wrote it, he was such an inspirational person,” Baker said. “His involvement in the military and public service, for emergency management, that’s a huge component.”
She added, “I’m hopeful for the future of EDM, especially at Northwest. Getting this scholarship lets other people in our school see they can apply for it next year and we can make a name for it nationwide.”
Dr. Mark Corson, a professor of geography and emergency management at Northwest, recommended Baker for the scholarship. In August 2017, Baker worked with him on a regional emergency medical services support team in St. Joseph, Missouri, supporting 20,000 eclipse viewers for three days before starting her first year at Northwest. She worked with the emergency medical triage, treatment and transport site despite her limited scope of the practice.
Baker also distinguished herself during high-intensity, high-fidelity simulations. Her student team won first place for their risk assessment and mitigation project in Northwest’s planning and preparedness course.
“I have been most impressed with Savannah’s leadership and followership abilities,” Corson said. “I have observed her as a team leader in varied situations and she always uses the right leadership style for the situation at hand. She also demonstrates active followership where she is a real asset to her leaders. Savannah deeply cares about others, and she lives the humanitarian imperative of working to prevent and alleviate human suffering in a most selfless way.”
Hands-on, profession-based learning opportunities attracted Baker to Northwest’s EDM program, which helps students complete projects and plans in their coursework that they can apply to real-life situations.
“They (faculty) talked about their program so lovingly and about Northwest as a whole,” Baker said. “‘Doing the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people’ is one thing that they emphasized to me.”
Simulations such as Missouri Hope allow students to become certified in first aid and put their skills into action. The annual intensive three-day domestic disaster relief field training exercise is a requirement for students studying majors or minors in EDM. It consists of simulation exercises in mass casualty response, overwater rescue, the incident command system, water treatment, high-angle rescue and disaster medical operations.
Baker’s experience with Missouri Hope also earned her an opportunity to participate in New York Hope in August.
“It was fantastic,” Baker said. “It allowed us to have so many different experiences to prepare us for if something were to happen in real life. It taught us to be efficient first responders and to coordinate resources for people who are having the worst day of their life.”
In October, she will add to her experiences by traveling to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the International Association of Emergency Managers Conference to network and learn from professionals in the field.
Baker aspires to work in a government agency as a data analyst after graduation, starting in Omaha and working her way to Washington, D.C. Her Northwest involvement also includes Sigma Society, the Honor Student Association and the EDM club in addition to being a Presidential Scholar.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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