University News

WIU Alumna Leads Maryland Emergency Management Agency Branch

November 3, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - Teresa Chapman, a 1991 bachelorÂ’s degree graduate in political science from Western Illinois University, was recently promoted to Disaster Recovery Branch Manager at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

Before moving to Maryland in 1998 and beginning her employment with MEMA in 2003, Chapman worked for two consulting firms on contracts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters on a variety of projects. She previously worked with the Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC) in Macomb for four years in the area of emergency management.

Her newly appointed position with MEMA adds new responsibilities, including managing state and federal programs that help people and communities recover and rebuild after an emergency. Chapman is in charge of Individual Assistance, which provides short-term assistance, including money to purchase immediately-needed items and to perform minor repairs and clean-up to homes; Public Assistance, which provides money to public entities for the repair and restoration of public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, sewer and water systems; Mitigation, which rebuilds homes and public infrastructure in such a way as that future damages are lessened or prevented; and Continuity of Operations (COOP), which provides essential government services, regardless of what disaster occurs.

In addition to these on-going programs, Chapman will also manage a new $1.5 million federal grant to other states and local governments to prepare COOP plans. Essentially, she will develop the model planning process that will become the national standard for how to prepare COOP plans.

“This grant award gives us the opportunity to bring in 350 people from across the country and give them advanced training on Maryland’s process,” said Chapman.

Even though she has a lot of responsibilities in Maryland, Chapman tries to visit Illinois and Macomb at least twice a year, and she always stops by WesternÂ’s campus to see what is new.

“I loved my time at Western,” said Chapman. “I had some really wonderful, dedicated professors who challenged me. Some of my favorites were Dr. Bill Anderson, Dr. Jutta Helm and Dr. Charles Weston. They are uniquely different people with different views of the world, and they drove me to do better,” she added.

Chapman said she really enjoyed an Illinois literature course she took with Professor John Hallwas while at Western.

“I understand he retired recently, which is great for him, but a real loss for students at Western,” said Chapman.

Chapman is originally from the Bushnell/Marietta area, and her mother works in the cataloging department in the WIU Malpass Library.

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