The Calm Within the Storm
"Disaster relief is all really powerful stuff," said Randy P. Quevillon, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychology and faculty of the Disaster Mental Health Institute (DMHI).
He should know—for decades, Quevillon has provided assistance in situations ranging from natural disasters, like the tornado in Spencer, S.D. in '98 and Hurricane Katrina in '05, to man-made tragedies, including the attacks of September 11, 2001.
He remembers driving all the way to New York City with Jerry Jacobs, Ph.D., director of DMHI, arriving three days after the towers fell. "I checked in with Red Cross headquarters. Jerry immediately started assessing local shelters. I then went down to Ground Zero to survey what Red Cross was doing. Disasters are always blooming, fuzzing confusion," he explained, adding, "but the disaster relief folks are trying to get things more systematized."
Quevillon enjoys working closely with students, having chaired more than 50 Ph.D. graduates' dissertations. Opportunities abound for students interested in this area, whether they want to complete an undergraduate minor, specialization or a doctoral specialty in disaster response; a graduate certificate in disaster mental health or disaster psychology; or simply take classes as electives.