Redefining the Emergency Management Field with Northeastern’s Security and Resilience Studies program


Northeastern University is taking an innovative approach to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from changing threats, technologies, public and private interplay with its Security and Resilience Studies program. The program integrates traditional security studies with a focus on maximizing systems and societal resilience.

Societal stressors, like the COVID global pandemic, terrorism, natural disasters, cyberattacks and climate change, are confirming the need for professionals who can support the public and private sector as well as NGOs during times of crisis.

While there is an explosion of data, there are challenges to accessing, analyzing, and sharing data to help a broader community make informed decisions. Decision makers are asking themselves, “what data is important and why?” In particular, what types of data allow responders to de-escalate a state of emergency as quickly and safely as possible.

With the proliferation of technology—sensor and detection technologies, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, machine learning—how can we embrace those technologies to make our communities safer, while recognizing the challenges associated with them?

Ann Lesperance, Director of the College of Social Science and Humanities’ Programs at Northeastern’s Seattle campus, explores how data and technologies can be used to inform various aspects of a disaster, “from how big or fast an event  is unfolding, to assisting in overall management and mitigation of the risk.” Law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical professionals use screening, detection, and disinfection technologies to help keep themselves and their communities safe. Lesperance went on to clarify that “with these advances in technology we must ensure that we recognize the importance of human systems and how society reacts to these technologies, both from a public perception, privacy perspective and from the lens of policy.”

“Many times, I’m asked, ‘What sets Northeastern’s Security and Resilience Studies program apart from others?’ That is really an easy one for me to answer. I would say first and foremost it is the quality of the faculty, who are both academics conducting cutting edge research and  practitioners, many of whom have worked in the field domestically and/or internationally.”

The other thing that sets us apart is Northeastern’s commitment to experiential learning through cooperative education (co-op) and internships. Co-op gives students opportunities to work full-time, in-the-field to gain experience and apply what they’re learning in real world situations.  Northeastern faculty leverage their professional networks to help create co-op opportunities.

Graduates of the Master of Science  in Security and Resilience Studies program go on to careers in state, local or federal government, NGOs, and private sector.

Hear more about the future of security and emergency management, and careers in the field and more from Ann Lesperance. Ann is the Director of CSSH programs at Northeastern’s Seattle campus. She is also the Director of Regional Programs at Northwest Regional Technology Center for Homeland Security at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.








By: Abiola Akanni




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