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Alumni Spotlight

  • Tiffani Czapinski

Finding a Parallel Call to Duty as an Emergency Professional

Tiffani Czapinski, Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery Certificate Program

Why did you choose the Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery certificate?

After serving as a firefighter paramedic for nearly two decades, my career was abruptly cut short due to an injury sustained in the line of duty. This crushing blow left me searching and seeking out a complimentary career change that I didn’t believe existed. Upon learning more about UCI’s program in Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery, it felt like a natural progression to build upon my fire service degrees and certifications.

What did you enjoy most about your experience in the program?

The biggest enjoyment was more of a revelation in discovering that there was so much more to Emergency Management than I once assumed. Even as a firefighter and being the one on the ground during emergencies and disasters, I was humbled to learn that emergency managers and their support teams are integral to mitigation, response and recovery. The topics and coursework were engaging and really put pieces together highlighting the parallel work emergency managers do that support and assist first responders and emergency workers.

What was your favorite or most helpful course in the program, and why?

The Disaster Mitigation course was thought provoking with surveying and developing plans based on threat conditions and strategic planning. Furthermore, finding ways to encourage public awareness, engagement and action assisted my abilities to use resources of which I had never thought. That included harnessing various tools and communication avenues with the “whole community” approach.

What impact did earning your Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery certificate have on your educational journey or career?

Besides personal educational success goals, earning this certification in Emergency Management and Disaster Recovery has helped me facilitate a youth preparedness education program for my new business. This has bolstered my presence as a professional in my community as well as with professional colleagues in the industry.