CHDS Alums, Students Earn IAEM Young Emergency Management Professionals Recognition

Three Center for Homeland Defense and Security educational program alumni and three current CHDS students were among the honorees recognized by the U.S. Council of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) as part of its 2024 “40 under 40” awards in April. 

The IAEM awards program recognizes professionals who are under 40 years old for their outstanding leadership and notable contributions to the emergency management profession. 

CHDS IAEM Honorees (clockwise from top left) Emily Martuscello, Ryan Wilkinson, Alexandra Lampson, Austen “AJ” Seely, Clara Decerbo, and Christian Cunnie

Chosen from more than 135 nominees, the 40 award recipients were announced during the “IAEM Plugged In” virtual conference. IAEM members were invited to nominate exceptional members who give their all to their communities, while balancing family, friends, and life. A special selection task force of the IAEM-USA Awards and Recognition Committee assessed candidates based on criteria such as innovation, impact, leadership qualities, and community involvement. 

CHDS alums Christian Cunnie (Emergence Program cohort 2201), Clara Decerbo (Executive Leaders Program cohort 2301), and Ryan Wilkinson (Emergence cohort 2001) were among the honorees, along with current CHDS students Alexandra Lampson (Emergence cohort 2302), Emily Martuscello (ELP cohort 2401), and Austen “AJ” Seely (Master’s Program cohort 2401/2402). CHDS alums and students represented 15% of the 40 awardees. 

Master’s Alum and IAEM President Justin Kates

In addition, fellow CHDS alum Justin Kates (Master’s Program cohort 2001/2002) is currently the IAEM President. 

“Seeing so many CHDS program students and alumni in this year’s IAEM 40 under 40 is no surprise,” Kates said. “The caliber of CHDS programs cultivate innovative thinkers with a passion for public service in homeland security and emergency management.”

Cunnie serves as Director of Emergency Management at Suffolk University in Boston, MA; Decerbo is Director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency in Providence, RI;  Lampson works as Senior Program Manager of Critical Infrastructure for the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency in Washington, DC; Martuscello is Director of the Nashua Office of Emergency Management in Nashua, NH; Seely serves as the Emergency Management Director for the Dallas County Emergency Management Agency in Waukee, IA; and Wilkinson is an Emergency Manager with the Eaton County Emergency Management in Charlotte, MI. 

IAEM is the nation’s largest emergency management professional association and a non-profit professional organization representing more than 5,800 emergency management and homeland security professionals for local communities; state and federal disaster officials; private sector, non-governmental organizations; and others involved in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from all types of disasters, including acts of terrorism. IAEM provides access to the largest network of emergency management experts who can provide advice and assistance, the Certified Emergency Manager program, annual scholarships, a comprehensive monthly newsletter, and more.

INQUIRIES: Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, Communications and Recruitment |, 831-402-4672 (PST)

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