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Sept. 6, 2019

Coté wins competitive international scholarship, excels in field

By Kala Dixon, communication assistant


Each year the International Association for Emergency Managers awards four students from across the world the Robert C. Bohlmann, CEM, Scholarship for Service in Emergency Management. For the second consecutive year, a Northwest Missouri State University was among the recipients.

Natalie Coté, a junior emergency and disaster management (EDM) major from Lawrence, Kansas, recently received the 2019 Robert C. Bohlmann, CEM, Scholarship for Service in Emergency Management. Coté was the only undergraduate to win the scholarship this year, following Savannah Baker, a Northwest EDM major who received the scholarship last year.

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.

“It was a big deal because it’s a big scholarship from a big organization,” Coté said. “It’s very prominent within the emergency disaster community.”

The application process requires students to submit recommendation letters, a cover letter and resume, essays and a transcript, among other documents.

Scholarship applicants also must have experience contributing to their industry. Coté spent months creating an emergency plan for the Lawrence Public Library. She created a 50-page document detailing preparedness and emergency procedures for the library. She won a cash prize for her presentation of her work during Northwest’s Celebration of Quality last year.

“I had a lot of experience with trying it and executing it,” Coté said. “I completely updated their systems section because they had nothing about what to do about computers, so I incorporated that. It was really fun.”

Coté participated in a National Guard disaster simulation last summer by playing a victim. She also participated last year in Missouri Hope, an intensive four-day international relief training exercise that is required for Northwest students studying EDM.

“That’s how we learn how to help people who are hurting and in pain and injured,” she said.

Coté’s decision to pursue EDM stems from a passion for history and culture. 

“I know how important it is to be prepared for things that can happen and to have these techniques to apply to public history,” Coté said. “I want to protect history.”

She also spends about a dozen hours a week practicing and competing with the Speaking Bearcats speech and debate team. She placed second last spring for a research paper she presented at the Public Communication Speech and Debate League National Tournament in Indianapolis, and she took sixth in the nation for Informative Speaking at the Phi Kappa Delta National Speech and Debate Tournament.

Coté believes the faculty and opportunities at Northwest have prepared her well to further her education and career.

“Northwest has done an indescribable amount for me,” Coté said. “I’m so appreciate of all the work my professors do. They know you and they care, and they’re willing to go that extra mile for you. That’s a really humbling thing.”

After completing her degree at Northwest, Coté plans to attend graduate school and further her education in emergency and disaster management. She hopes to pursue a career in disaster management with an emphasis in historical and cultural artifacts.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704