Amelia Phillips

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Women in Leadership Profile: Dr. Amelia Phillips

Many of us will say, “It isn’t rocket science!” to point out when a problem is laughingly easy compared to getting a rocket into space. But if you want to know more about what is rocket science, you might want to ask Amelia Phillips. After all, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree from MIT in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. She also worked for the Jet Propulsion Lab. She knows rocket science.

For the last twenty years, Amelia has been a tenured faculty member designing and delivering programs in computer information systems, digital forensics, and cybersecurity at Highline College. She holds a Ph. D in computer security. Amelia understands the ways our computer use relates to mitigation, preparedness, response and resilience in homeland security and emergency management. Anyone thinking of a role in emergency management would benefit from talking with her.

But even if you have no interest in rocket science or computer security, Amelia can offer insights into how to do other things.

Do you want to start a fencing club in a small rural town, sell real estate in a huge city, or manage a rock band? Talk to Amelia. Are you interested in raising your SAT scores by two hundred points in six months, earning two bachelor’s degrees from MIT, or becoming a Fulbright scholar? Talk to Amelia. Do you wonder how to live with the death of your mother before you reached your teenage years, an onslaught of losses before you became an adult, a storehouse of anger from all that has happened? Talk to Amelia. Are you considering living in a place where hardly anyone looks like you, teaching in an African nation where little is familiar, or writing a definitive textbook (now on the seventh edition) because the field you are in is new and no one has done it yet? Talk to Amelia.

And if you want to know more about how to conduct quality control in a backpack factory or create effective systems of accounting and operations for a roofing company, she can help with those things, too.

If you’re a person whose career path has been anything but straight or smooth, if your choices have sometimes left others scratching their heads, you and Amelia would definitely have stories to share.

Trouble is, she is going to be too busy to talk to everyone who could benefit from her insights. She’ll be working hard on her book about her childhood. It will offer lessons she learned from her early losses that she hopes will help others avoid letting similar obstacles get in their way.

But since you won’t have the pleasure of asking this amazing woman everything you might like to, let’s at least make sure that anyone thinking of going into the homeland security/emergency management can benefit from her advice. Her guidance for students considering the field. Take a couple of courses, talk to faculty, see what catches your attention. Realize money will not get you out of bed in the morning. Most of all, find what sparks your interest and your enjoyment. See? It isn’t rocket science.

Deb Moller

Deb Moller is the former public-private partnerships manager at the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. She is a senior fellow at the Center of Excellence, Homeland Security -Emergency Management. As principal of Moller Consulting, Deb has over ten years of experience assisting local, state, federal and tribal governments, as well as private profit and not-for-profit organizations, achieve performance goals. Deb’s experience includes twenty years designing and managing adult education and job training programs for marginalized populations. She holds an M.A. in applied behavioral science from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Cascadia Calling, a community based earthquake preparedness organization.

Information on this profile is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not engaged in rendering professional advice or services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with an professional adviser. Opinions expressed here represent the viewpoints of individuals authoring the profile and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Center of Excellence.

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