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Disaster Management Short Essay Scholarships

In today’s turbulent world faced with a growing number of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other potentially catastrophic events, emergency management scholarships are becoming more abundant.

Our nation has a strong demand for graduates with a background in emergency management to plan procedures for quickly responding to disasters and minimizing risk to citizens. As the impact of 9/11 still reverberates through America, both the public and private sector are recruiting emergency management specialists to work behind the scenes in orchestrating emergency contingency plans.

See: Top 10 Cheap Online Master’s Degree in Emergency Management Programs

If you’re a strong communicator with solid leadership skills and the ability to stay calm during stressful events, check out the following scholarships available in the rewarding field of emergency management.

1. Addison E. Slayton Jr. Scholarship

Deadline: February 15th

In honor of his devotion to managing the state’s emergency response and hazardous materials programs for over 30 years, the Addision E. Slayton Jr. Scholarship was created by the Virginia Emergency Management Association (VEMA) to award $1,000 to college students majoring in emergency management, disaster/fire science, or homeland security. Eligible candidates must reside in the Commonwealth or attend an accredited Virginia college, carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, exhibit leadership qualities, and be involved in community service. Applications must include a one-page essay, two letters of recommendation, a current resume, official college transcripts, and proof of enrollment.


Addison E. Slayton Jr. Scholarship
118 North 8th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 643-0080
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

2. Anthony J. Messina Scholarship

Deadline: March 11th

In the amount of $500, the Anthony J. Messina Scholarship is awarded annually by the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC) for deserving college students who are enrolled either full-time or part-time in a degree program for emergency management, fire science, or emergency medical personnel. Qualified candidates must attend an accredited college in New York State, be current or affiliated members of NYSAFC in good standing, demonstrate financial need, and show commitment to advancing a career within the emergency services. Interested students must submit an application with a 50-word statement sharing their qualifications.


Anthony J. Messina Scholarship
1670 Columbia Turnpike
East Schodack, NY 12063
(518) 477-2631
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

3. Aubrey Rivenbark Scholarship Award

Deadline: May 1st

Funded by the Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association (ENCFA), the Aubrey Rivenbark Scholarship Award is presented annually for $1,500 to individuals who are seeking a two or four-year undergraduate degree in fire protection, fire science, emergency management, or emergency medical services from an accredited college. Eligible applicants must be active firefighters, rescue members, or EMS personnel in good standing with a member department in Eastern Carolina for the 12-month period immediately preceding the application date. Students must submit a resume of emergency services experience, a copy of departmental training records, and a personal statement.


Aubrey Rivenbark Scholarship Award
P.O. Box 3062
New Bern, NC 28564
(252) 229-9018
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

4. Captain Jonathan C. Young Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: April 3rd

Sponsored by the New Jersey Emergency Preparedness Association (NJEPA), the Captain Jonathan C. Young Memorial Scholarship is given for $1,000 each year to two graduating high school seniors or college students who are pursuing an accredited degree in the emergency management field, including fire suppression, law enforcement, arson investigation, disaster response, and hazardous material. Candidates must have U.S. citizenship, reside within New Jersey, have a parent or grandparent in good standing with any emergency service department statewide, submit a 500-word personal essay, and have at least one year of studies remaining.


Captain Jonathan C. Young Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 962
Mays Landing, NJ 08330
(609) 548-8357
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

5. DHS Scholarship Program

Deadline: January 5th

Annually, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers a scholarship program to deliver up to $5,000 to undergraduate students who are currently pursuing an accredited four-year bachelor’s degree in homeland security, emergency management, or a closely related field. Qualified applicants must have U.S. citizenship, be sophomores or juniors, have research interests relevant to the DHS mission, obtain a security clearance, and submit two letters of reference. Recipients must complete a 10-week summer internship and agree to sign a one-year service commitment to work at an official DHS-approved facility upon degree completion.


DHS Scholarship Program
650 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 282-8000
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

6. Dilling-McDaniel Scholarship Fund

Deadline: March 20th

The Dilling-McDaniel Scholarship Fund was founded by Florida State University (FSU) to provide tuition coverage for four undergraduate or five graduate courses to active duty or veteran military members who are planning to enter the Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) degree. Eligible recipients must have served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, be accepted for enrollment, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and be seeking a career in the emergency management arena. Candidates must submit an application form with a one-page personal essay, academic transcripts, and at least recommendation letter addressing their work ethic.


Dilling-McDaniel Scholarship Fund
113 Collegiate Loop
Tallahassee, FL 32309
(850) 644-9961
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

7. Donald Althoff Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: April 15th

Through the Michigan Public Risk Management Association (MIPRIMA), the Donald Althoff Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year for up to $2,000 to outstanding undergraduate students who are pursuing their degree in risk management, public administration, emergency management, public safety, or occupational safety. Eligible candidates must have attained junior-level status, attend an accredited Michigan institution, possess a minimum overall GPA of 2.8, work part-time while attending school, and wish to build a career in the public risk management field. Applications must include a current transcript, brief resume, personal goals statement, and summary of coursework.


Donald Althoff Memorial Scholarship
10 North Division Street
Battle Creek, MI 49016
(269) 966-3407
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

8. Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship

Deadline: Varies

Since 2006, the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program offers 250 scholarships for $2,000 apiece at every community college in the United States to students who are receiving a degree in the skilled trades or public safety, including emergency management, disaster preparedness, fire safety, law enforcement, and emergency medical services. Qualified applicants must be earning a two-year associate’s degree or certificate, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and carry at least 12 credit hours per term. Applications won’t be complete without an official transcript, one letter of recommendation, and a 300-word essay on future goals.


Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship
100 Grainger Parkway
Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 535-1162
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

9. Heather Westphal Memorial Scholarship Award

Deadline: June 1st

Established by the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services in honor of the marketing manager who died tragically in 2008, the Hearth Westphal Memorial Scholarship Award is gifted for $2,000 annually. Eligible female applicants must be currently working as first responders, be pursuing a degree in fire science or emergency management, attend an accredited college in America, be active IAFC members, and have a minimum of two years of work experience in emergency services. Candidates must submit two letters of endorsement, a current resume, proof of financial need, and a 250-word personal statement.


Heather Westphal Memorial Scholarship Award
4025 Fair Ridge Drive Suite 300
Fairfax, VA 22033
(703) 896-4858
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

10. IAEM Undergraduate Scholarship

Deadline: June 1st

Within the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), one undergraduate scholarship is granted annually for $2,000 to college students who are currently pursuing a diploma, associate’s degree, or baccalaureate degree in emergency management, disaster management, or another closely related field. Applicants must attend an accredited U.S. educational institution, maintain full-time status with 12 or more credits per term, and make satisfactory academic progress. Applications should be accompanied by verification of enrollment, three letters of reference, original transcripts, and a 1,000-word essay sharing their goals in emergency management.


IAEM Undergraduate Scholarship
201 Park Washington Court
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 538-3542
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

11. Joel Aggergaard Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: August 1st

In honor of a devoted emergency manager who responded to countless floods, storms, and local emergencies across the state until his untimely death in 1996, the Joel Aggergaard Memorial Scholarship is distributed for $2,000 annually through the Washington State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA). Qualified recipients must be residents of Washington who are currently pursuing a certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree in emergency management at an accredited in-state college. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, an academic transcript, and a 500-word essay mentioning who influenced their career objectives in emergency management.


Joel Aggergaard Memorial Scholarship
502 West Boeing Street
Pasco, WA 99301
(509) 546-5846
[email protected]

12. Justin B. Collins Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

Within the Department of Emergency Management at Arkansas Tech University, the Justin B. Collins Memorial Scholarship is available for up to $1,500 for full-time undergraduate or graduate students who are currently pursuing the B.S. in Emergency Management or M.S. in Emergency Management & Homeland Security (EMHS) program. To qualify, candidates must carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, exhibit financial need for assistance, have completed at least 24 college credits, and submit at least two reference letters. Preference will be given to any eligible applicants who are originally from Magazine, Arkansas.


Justin B. Collins Memorial Scholarship
1509 North Boulder Avenue Room 209
Russellville, AR 72801
(479) 968-0389
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

13. LEEP USA Dream Scholarships

Deadline: May 1st

On an annual basis, the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) USA offers the Dream Scholarships to award $1,000 for students nationwide who are planning to attend higher education to receive a degree in public safety, law enforcement, corrections, firefighting, emergency management, or emergency medical services. Eligible candidates must be accepted for full-time enrollment at an accredited two or four-year college in the United States with excellent academic standing and an unwavering commitment to a public service career. For consideration, applications should have official high school transcripts, a history of related paid and/or unpaid volunteer experience, and at least one recommendation.


LEEP USA Dream Scholarships
667 East Big Beaver Suite 205
Troy, MI 48083
(248) 524-2752
Scholarship Link

14. Mary Fran Myers Scholarship

Deadline: April 17th

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship is granted through the Natural Hazards Center annually for up to $2,000 in honor of the longtime co-director who dedicated her life’s work to reducing disaster loss and finding sustainable ways to handle extreme environmental events. Eligible candidates must be pursuing a degree in emergency or hazards management, reside in North America or the Caribbean, demonstrate financial need, and display a sincere commitment to a career in natural disaster mitigation. Recipients will be invited to attend this year’s Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop.


Mary Fran Myers Scholarship
Campus Box 483
Boulder, CO 80309
(303) 492-6818
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

15. Maryland Emergency Management Association Scholarships

Deadline: April 1st

Every year, the Maryland Emergency Management Association (MEMA) offers five scholarships for $1,000 apiece for college students who are pursuing a career in the emergency management field, including disaster relief, public safety, risk management, public service, meteorology, and other related professions. Qualified candidates must have graduated from an accredited Maryland high school, demonstrate financial need, be actively involved in their community, plan to attend an accredited post-secondary institution, and provide two reference letters. One award will be delivered to a deserving student in Western Maryland, the National Capital, Central Maryland, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and Southern Maryland.


Maryland Emergency Management Association Scholarships
16232 Elliot Parkway
Williamsport, MD 21795
(410) 632-4686

16. Richard L. Resurreccion Public Safety Scholarship

Deadline: May 15th

In honor of a board member for the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute (IPLSLEI), the Richard L. Resurreccion Public Safety Scholarship is granted by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for $1,000 annually to two student members pursuing an associate’s degree in criminal justice, public safety, fire science, emergency management, homeland security, emergency medical services, or fire technology. Eligible recipients must attend a regionally accredited two-year college, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, be in good academic standing, and demonstrate potential for involvement in public safety services.


Richard L. Resurreccion Public Safety Scholarship
1625 Eastover Drive
Jackson, MS 39211
(601) 987-5741

17. Secure Indiana Scholarship Program

Deadline: July 1st

Administered by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), the Secure Indiana Scholarship Program is hosted annually to grant awards from $1,000 to $2,000 apiece for college students who are presently enrolled in an accredited degree program for homeland security, law enforcement, emergency management, or public safety. Qualified applicants must attend an approved Indiana post-secondary institution, carry at least six credits per term, possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8, and volunteer at any of the state’s public safety organization for protecting citizens from harm. Applications must include a resume, one letter of recommendation, and an original 500-word personal goals statement.


Secure Indiana Scholarship Program
302 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-3980
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

18. State Farm FLASH Financial Scholarship

Deadline: April 15th

As part of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, the State Farm FLASH Financial Scholarship is distributed each year for $1,500 to graduate emergency management students who are performing their master’s or doctoral research on topics related to the financial analysis or investment management of mitigation and recovery services from natural disasters. Eligible candidates must already possess a bachelor’s degree, be accepted at a regionally accredited U.S. graduate school, and wish to specialize their career in finance or budgeting for emergency management responses. Applicants should submit an application with unofficial transcripts, a letter from their research advisor, and a personal statement.


State Farm FLASH Financial Scholarship
1427 East Piedmont Drive Suite 2
Tallahassee, FL 32308
(877) 221-7133
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

19. Tom Joslin Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: March 31st

At the University of North Texas, the Tom Joslin Memorial Scholarship was created by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service to award $1,000 annually in honor of a former faculty member who worked tirelessly with FEMA until his death in 1993. To qualify, applicants must be at least sophomores, be currently enrolled in the Emergency Administration and Planning (EADP) program, maintain full-time enrollment, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, demonstrate leadership qualities, be involved in community service, have membership on the IAEM student chapter, and show strong evidence of a commitment to building a future career in emergency management.


Tom Joslin Memorial Scholarship
1155 Union Circle #310617
Denton, TX 76203
(940) 565-2165
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

20. Zach Myers Memorial Scholarship Fund

Deadline: July 1st

In the amount of $1,000, the Zach Myers Memorial Scholarship Fund provides one award annually through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in honor of a 16-year-old Junior Fire Explorer in Olathe who was taken tragically from this world in a car accident before reaching his dream of being a firefighter. Qualified applicants must be graduating high school seniors, reside in Johnson County of Kansas, plan to attend an accredited school for fire science or emergency medical services, and showcase a good academic record. For consideration, students must submit a transcript, two recommendations, an advisor endorsement form, a glossy photograph for publication, and a 500-word essay.


Zach Myers Memorial Scholarship Fund
1055 Broadway Blvd. Suite 130
Kansas City, MO 64105
(816) 842-0944
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

Working in the emergency management field will place you on the front lines in planning effective responses to both man-made and natural crisis events. However, you’ll likely need to spend at least two to four years in post-secondary schooling to learn the essential emergency techniques for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Luckily, these are just 20 of the great emergency management scholarships available in the United States to finance your educational endeavors and get you started on creating plans that save countless lives.

Using a previous scholarship essay contest we hosted, where our judges received more than 4,000 essays, we noticed some frequent mistakes students make that can instantly disqualify you from an essay contest.

We thought to ourselves, "Hello, learning opportunity!

Here, an example of what NOT to do in an essay – and some tips on making yourself a better candidate for scholarship cash.

Here’s one of the essays we received for a previous scholarship contest, to help you learn the do’s and don’ts of essay writing:

“To be able to hold onto your money you have to know how to manage it. Money management is a complicated process. As teenagers we often have no idea how to manage money and we end up wasting a lot of it. But in a bad economy most of us have had a crash course in what happens when you don’t manage your money properly. We have had to delve into a world foreign and unfamiliar to us and solve our own money problems. The most successful of us have managed to still have some semblance of a social life without going over our small budgets. The keys to doing this successfully are actually quite simple.

Set up your own budget of expenses. Teenagers may not have to worry about paying a mortgage or rent but we do have to be able to pay for gas, insurance for our vehicles, and the never ending list of project expenses and supplies for classes. So you have to sit down and balance what you spend in a month with what you actually make, and whether that’s the money you get for your birthday that you manage to stretch with help from mom’s pocketbook or it’s the minimum wage that you get from the local fast food joint where you have managed to find employment the money comes from somewhere and it needs to be written down.

Review your expenses daily. This includes balancing your checkbook and reviewing your online statements, as well as calculating any emergency expenses that you were not considering. This needs to be fluid as sometimes things come up that you just couldn’t have forseen.

You have to get creative. You are not always going to have the time to sit there with a calculator crunching numbers so create small ways to keep thing balanced without having to. Send yourself easy phone reminders about a few of your expenses. Always bring your school id with you because a lot of places will give students discounted rates. And finally, just remember where your money is going it will help.”

So, what was wrong and what was right?

One thing the essay writer did correctly was to stay within the word count for the contest.

The essay contest stated within the rules that essays should range from 250-350 words and this essay comes in at 349 words. Good job!

Another positive is that the writer stayed on topic and answered the question that was presented.

However, even though the writer did stay on topic, the response took a meandering approach and didn’t take a strong or memorable stance. In short, the “meat” of the essay wasn’t there. Think of it this way: sum up in one sentence what you want the reviewer to know and remember after reading your essay. Did you get that across in a clear and concise way?

Each essay should get across at least one breakout idea (aka, the thesis statement) and the rest of the essay should focus on selling that point. If it’s a new, creative or off-beat idea, focus on selling and explaining that. If it’s a common idea, focus on trying to say it better than anyone else.

Here are a few more examples of what the essay writer did wrong:

Misspellings –

Misspellings are the fastest way to ensure an essay is disqualified. When combing through a stack of essays, a judge will first rule out the essays with simple misspellings. Long story short: run a spell check and have someone else you trust look over it. It’s always best to get a second set of eyes.

Incomplete sentences – Remember, each sentence should have a subject (someone or something) and a verb (action). Wondering if your sentence is complete? Here’s a hint: A complete sentence tells a complete thought.

No capitalization –

it’s bad enough not to capitalize words at the beginning of a sentence, but at the beginning of a paragraph it stands out even more! Yikes!

Missing punctuation –

In this example, the writer does not have proper command over the use of commas — namely they are missing in places they should have been added and added places they are not required.

Poor grammar and sentences that don’t make sense –

The essay writer uses poor word choices, improper grammar and mistakes such as having too many spaces between words. Another example of poor grammar is the confusion of grammatical persons — in the beginning of the essay the writer uses the first person plural (we) and toward the end, the writer uses the second person (you).

Run-on sentences –

In this essay, one sentence has 72 words. As a rule, try to keep sentences no longer than 35 words each.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you write an essay. Remember, you don’t want to give the judges any reason to disqualify your essay right off the bat.

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