Feb 18, 2022 9:01 am

When Joshua Brown retired from a distinguished 26-year career in the Army, he was ready for his next chapter. Although transitioning out of the military was not an easy experience, he looked forward to finally having the opportunity to focus on his education as he prepared for civilian life.

Many of his colleagues on base recommended that he look into Pierce College. With a location on Joint Base Lewis-McChord as well as campuses in Puyallup and Lakewood, he quickly made the decision to enroll at Pierce College. “I’m so happy I decided to attend Pierce College, because I don’t believe I would be where I am in my career today without my time there,” he said.

From the beginning, he had his sights set on studying Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) at Pierce College. After meeting with HSEM staff, Brown was given the option to apply previous college credit and enroll directly in the Bachelor of Applied Science program, rather than starting with an associate degree. Brown opted to earn his associate degree first. “I wanted to learn everything I could about emergency management, from the ground up,” he said. “I’m so glad I did, because I had a great experience in the program and was placed in an internship that provided so much valuable experience for me.”

Studying emergency management during a pandemic was an especially unique experience for Brown and his classmates. “The professors in the program took the time to put us in real-world scenarios to see what our reaction and demeanor would be,” he said. “The professors in the program were always willing to go to great lengths to help us be successful.”

One of his professors recommended that Brown become a tutor, allowing him to not only help students with their coursework, but also put his strong leadership skills to good use. “When I started working in the Tutoring Center, I hadn’t had a lot of interaction with civilians,” he said. “Having the opportunity to meet all kinds of different professors and work with students really helped prepare me for my career today.”

Brown graduated in 2021 with his Bachelor of Applied Science in Homeland Security Emergency Management. Today, he works as an Emergency Management Assistant at West Pierce Fire and Rescue, where he also served as an intern while working toward his degree. In his role, he works hard to help develop cohesive, comprehensive emergency management plans so when disaster strikes, cities and agencies can operate under the same guidelines.

"It’s so important to make sure these plans are in place to make the community safer for everyone,” he said. “I love my job because I have an opportunity to meet with so many different people from police and fire chiefs to emergency managers and public works officials. Every day, I have a chance to help people, which is what I enjoy most about my work.”