Master’s Degrees Awarded to 31 at CHDS

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Thirty-one professionals who work in the homeland security field were awarded master’s degrees March 29 at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).

The graduates comprise professionals from law enforcement, fire safety, homeland security and public health.

"These graduates bring great credit to themselves and their professions. They will join the expanding network of homeland security leaders who are shaping the future of our nation," said CHDS Director Glen Woodbury.

NPS Interim President, Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe, presided over the ceremony and the guest speaker was former U.S. Atlantic Fleet Commander, Admiral (ret.) Henry H. Mauz. Advanced degrees were awarded to 366 students from the various schools at NPS.

Three students earned awards for their work in the Center for Homeland Defense and Security master’s degree program:

  • Michael D. Falkow, assistant city manager in Inglewood, California, earned the Outstanding Thesis Award. His thesis was titled "Does homeland security constitute an emerging academic discipline?" Theses were evaluated on: overall academic rigor; quality of the literature review; impact of the study on homeland security strategy and future research implications; quality of analysis and conclusions; quality of organization, writing and overall presentation of thesis.
  • Kenneth Rueben, special agent in charge with the Oregon Department of Justice, earned the Curtis H. "Butch" Straub Award, which is based on grades, thesis and classroom leadership. The honor is in memory of one of CHDS’ founders. This award is based on grades, thesis and classroom leadership.
  • Ed Welch, director of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, earned the Philip Zimbardo Award. This award honors a student who demonstrates the best understanding of the psychological aspects of terrorism and whose performance in the master’s program best embodies the highest levels of academic achievement and outstanding leadership. The honor is named after Stanford University psychologist and professor emeritus Philip Zimbardo, who also formerly taught at CHDS.

The newest CHDS alumni include:

  • Robert Allen, Director of Planning and Policy Analysis, Ramsey County (Minn.) Sheriff’s Department.
  • Michael Barvels, Captain, Fire Department of New York.
  • David Brown, Assistant Agent in Charge (ASAC), Transportation Security Administration/Federal Air Marshal Service
  • Louis Bruhnke, Associate Director, North Coast Emergency Medical Services.
  • Mark Carr, Administrator, Department of Transportation.
  • Catherine Coleman-Valencia, AAII, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security.
  • Nicholas Davidson, Public Health Director, Midlands Region, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
  • Michael Falkow, Assistant City Manager, city of Inglewood, Calif.
  • David Ferguson, Assistant Federal Security Director, Inspections, Transportation Security Administration.
  • Richard Giusti, Battalion Chief, San (Texas) Antonio Fire Department.
  • Joel Justice, Captain, Los Angeles Police Department.
  • Robert Keith, Principal Maritime Advisor, U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Robert Kelly, Executive Director, Westchester (N.Y.) Intelligence Center.
  • Malcolm Kemp, Deputy Chief of Operations, Leon County (Fla.) Emergency Medical Service.
  • Stephen Marsar, Captain, New York City Fire Department.
  • Jennifer Martin, Deputy Director, Baltimore County Health Department.
  • Christopher Mercado, Lieutenant (Special Assignment), New York City Police Department.
  • Jerry Monier, Planning Section Chief, Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
  • Tony Parker, Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, Tennessee Department of Corrections.
  • James Prokop, Office Security Capabilities, Advanced Surveillance Program, Transportation Security Administration.
  • Kenneth Rueben, Special Agent in Charge, Oregon Department of Justice.
  • Michele Samarya-Timm, Health Educator/REHS, Somerset County (N.J.) Health Department.
  • James Schwartz, Fire Chief, Arlington County (Va.) Fire Department.
  • Kirk Skinner, TSA Representative Oceania, Transportation Security Administration.
  • Tamara Spice, Public Affairs Officer, Missouri National Guard.
  • Balaji Subramaniam, Director of Systems Engineering, Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration, ITAC.
  • Christopher Sweeney, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Victor Teal, Chief of Plans – Dep. Director Air Operations and Civil Support, California National Guard/Air National Guard.
  • Edward Welch, Director, Port Authority of New York/New Jersey.
  • Jonna West, Special Projects Manager, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Georgia Office of Homeland Security.
  • William Wickers, Sergeant, Phoenix Police Department.
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