Christine Howlett

Washington, DC
Defense and Space
Program Specialist, FEMA
Degree Program: 
MS Public Policy, 2009

 “Coming from a science background, I knew I wanted a program that could offer a more science-based policy curriculum, and RIT offered the perfect combination of coursework.”


Christine’s motivation for pursuing an MS degree in Public Policy degree was that she wanted to use the scientific knowledge attained through her undergraduate education in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma to influence policy in an effective and helpful manner.  She knew that policy played integral role in people’s lives, and her own passion for helping people in distress could be fulfilled by pursuing a degree in public policy.  Christine chose to come to RIT after finishing her Bachelor’s because it was one of the only universities she could find that offered a Master of Science rather than a Master of Arts in public policy.  The science focus of RIT’s program would match up well with her skills;  it was different subject matter than her bachelor’s, and taught her to write with the general reader in mind instead of the science community.


While at RIT, Christine worked as Dr. Ron Hira’s and Dr. Franz Foltz’s research assistant.  Her thesis research focused on rerouting supply chain management on the East Coast under conditions where infrastructure was to become unavailable due to disasters.  She also had the unique experience of attending the American Meteorological Conference in New Orleans.  She decided to go on to pursue her MS in Environmental Health and Safety immediately after receiving her first Master’s degree.  This decision was made with the strong support of RIT faculty regarding her career development, further fueled by her dream of someday working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


After completing her second Master’s from RIT, Christine went on to work for a defense and FEMA support contracting firm called Dynamis.  Being in the Washington area and working in close proximity to FEMA provided her with the perfect bridge to her dream job, and in 2013 she joined FEMA as a Program Specialist.  Her current role allows her to work with FEMA’s recovery directorate in their mission area.  She uses business intelligence based on past experiences to better predict strategy and operations for future disasters.  Christine feels that the education she received at RIT provided the foundation, background, and mentorship she needed to pursue her career.