Three recent graduates from Angelo State University’s Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice presented the results of their community research and outreach project at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 17th annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium June 1-4 in Emmitsburg, Md.

ASU alums Elizabeth Bancsa, Billy Cullins and Nora Perry, all of San Angelo, were joined by Dr. James Phelps of the ASU security studies faculty and San Angelo Fire Marshall Ross Coleman to present their project titled “Building Local School Emergency Operations Plans (EOP) as Community Outreach.”

“They developed new EOP for two San Angelo Independent School District schools,” Phelps said. “The plans were developed using the most recent Department of Education, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA guidelines and software for improving the safety and security of K-12 schools. The projects were completed in May 2014 and implemented by the school principals and former SAISD superintendent Dr. Carol Ann Bonds over the last school year.”

Phelps said this outreach project was the first of its kind completed by graduate students in the Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice. It included Phelps teaching the first traditional classroom course offered by the department, which otherwise offers its graduate degree and certificate programs in an online format.

FEMA’s annual Higher Education Symposium is attended by an international audience of emergency management educators and FEMA executives. More details on this year’s symposium are available at

Bancsa earned her master’s degree in criminal justice, Cullins earned his master’s degree in homeland security, and Perry earned a graduate certificate in emergency management. Two additional graduate students who contributed to the project but were unable to attend the symposium are Ivan Chavez and Kyle Shifferly, who both earned their ASU master’s degrees in homeland security.