A Generation of Leaders Dedicated to Changing the World

Hardister said that her time at IDM greatly prepared her for the workforce through hands-on practice and interdisciplinary studies, specifically looking at hurricane and tropical storm planning in Georgia and learn what could be improved.

“One of the best things that I grabbed from my experience at IDM was being surrounded by professionals who really emphasized thinking critically and having a growth mindset,” she said.

Hardister says that her professors encouraged her to always search for ways to improve, to anticipate challenges and to learn from past experiences, which she carries with her into her work today building operational capacity to prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks.

Read more of Elizabeth’s story...

- Elizabeth Hardister, MPH '18

“Unequivocally, IDM has changed my life. What started as a five-minute conversation blossomed into profound impacts on both my professional and personal growth. IDM has given me the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pursue my passions and make a difference. The IDM family is unified by a singular belief: education is among the most powerful tools to affect change in the world. The instructors at IDM are not simply satisfied with imparting their knowledge or requiring students to memorize facts. They are not interested in perpetuating any sort of dogma. They inspire every single student to challenge their views and bring innovative ideas to our field. Each student that walks through the front doors transforms into a holistically trained, interdisciplinary professional, ready to make a difference across the globe.”

Read more of Morgan’s story...

- Morgan Taylor, MPH '19, PhD '23

“We are all aware that moving to a new country to study can be exciting and with some unexpected challenges that can be overwhelming with confusion and longing for my home country. At IDM, I found a home away from home. As an international student, the institution gave me the comfort and hospitality to settle in properly. I felt the warmth and friendliness of every staff member. I had amazing interactions with staff members discussing geopolitics and pertinent issues relating to global crises and emergencies. Irrespective of its focus on academic achievement, the institution promotes a positive relationship between staff and students and encourages feedback for better learning outcomes. The support received during my study duration was immense and instrumental for me to adjust quickly to the fast-paced learning environment. I made friends through social gatherings organized by IDM and got involved in major exercises, discussions, and conferences where I had the opportunity to expand my network, share experiences, and learn from experts in the field of disaster management and other public health thematic areas.”

Read more of Ansu’s story…

- Ansu Karim, MPH '23

“I can’t say enough great things about my time at UGA Institute for Disaster Management. Early in my graduate education, I struggled to find my place and enthusiasm for my program. After meeting the IDM faculty I changed concentrations and was re-energized in my pursuit of a degree. An education in disaster management covers complicated and heavy topics, but they were presented in a way that engages the student into dialogue and excitement for serving their communities. Each faculty member pulls from a wealth of experience and information, making classes engaging with practical applications. Debates were regular occurrences with discussions of world events and the multiple viewpoints of causation and impacts. It was always a welcoming place to ask tough questions and challenge each other to understand the compounding factors that complicate disaster causation and response. All of the IDM faculty were approachable with a genuine passion for supporting the students in pursuing their education and careers. I’ve made lifelong friendships with the students in my cohort; the people drawn to this program are some of the most dynamic and spirited, which ensured every class was something to look forward to. If you are considering IDM, you should do it. I don’t think I would have completed my MPH had I not found this program and the support it provided.”

- Crystal Shelnutt, MPH '22

Chris Russo“Speaking from the heart, I can say that I moved 800+ miles, away from friends and family, to a state where I didn’t know a single soul or the culture just to come to this program. I researched every school that offered both an MPH and a Disaster Management curriculum. The University of Georgia’s Institute for Disaster Management was the best in the country for what I wanted to study. The combination of lectures and hands-on activities was fantastic. The lectures gave us the necessary information needed and the hands-on learning activities gave us context for what was learned in the classroom. Having professors who not only work in academia but also respond during disasters gives this program a large advantage over others, allowing knowledge to be taught from experience. Every member of IDM has taught me something unique during my time here and the mentorship was priceless. This program was the best investment of my life and I am proud to say that I was hired by a state government prior to graduation. I could not recommend IDM enough.”

- Christopher Russo, MPH '19

Anna Chocallo“During my three years at the Institute for Disaster Management (IDM), I was provided with a unique understanding of the intersection between emergency management and public health. The program afforded me numerous opportunities to learn from subject-matter experts in the field, receive practical training and certifications, discuss relevant case studies, and apply my acquired knowledge in meaningful ways. One of the best parts of IDM was the group of dedicated faculty and staff. The faculty and staff at IDM provided an open environment for learning and asking difficult questions about real-world problems. Each member of the team has a specialized skill set, which promotes a holistic view to the learning experience at IDM. I found this interdisciplinary approach valuable, as it mirrors the workforce of emergency management and public health in practice. My favorite aspect of the graduate degree program was its focus on practical application. Instead of just studying disaster management theory and terminology, we put our education into action. In completing my Master of Public Health in Disaster Management, I felt prepared to enter the workforce and make meaningful changes in public health preparedness and resilience.”

- Anna (Chocallo) Ritchey, MPH '20


Prepared For Whatever Tomorrow Brings

Elizabeth Hardister had her eyes set on getting a master’s degree from the University of Georgia Institute for Disaster Management (IDM) before she had even declared an undergraduate major. Her


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