Jennifer Carlson

Assistant Professor
Social Work
(508) 849-3268
-Ph.D. in Public Safety & Emergency Management, Capella University.
-M.S.W. in Social Work (Community Organization and International Disaster Relief Services), University of Connecticut.
-B.S.W. in Social Work, Elms College.

Dr. Jennifer Carlson, Ph.D., CEM®, LCSW is a New England emergency management expert, facilitator, speaker, trainer, university faculty member, writing professional, and author of Exploring the Professionalization of Emergency [Disaster] Management and Write Your Story: A Self-Start, Write Your Own Biography. For over 20 years, she had dedicated her life in service to the emergency management field, deploying on disasters from hurricane Katrina to the Boston Marathon bombing through the American Red Cross and the State of Massachusetts. She works/has worked as faculty and teaching staff for emergency management courses, workshops and Homeland Security content at MIT for FEMA, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Eastern Kentucky University, Anna Maria College, and at other locations across the country while deployed.

Dr. Carlson holds the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®) certification with the International Association of Emergency Managers IAEM and is Licensed as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for the State of Massachusetts. With deployments spanning more than two decades, Dr. Carlson has been working as a leader in her field in coordination with FEMA, American Red Cross Disaster Services, and other organizations for many years. Dr. Carlson led 25 American responders while deployed in an executive leadership role to wildfires in British Columbia and has worked in the role of Director of Emergency Services in Massachusetts for more than 15 years; this work led to an appointment as the Senior Disaster Program Manager for the State of Massachusetts. Dr. Carlson also worked for the Commonwealth for over five years, helping to coordinate the response to the Western MA tornadoes with FEMA, and the Massachusetts response to Hurricane Sandy in New York as one of two planning chiefs on-scene, among other responsibilities and deployments during this time.

As faculty, Dr. Carlson has filled the role of Professor with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (course: Information Technology in Emergency Management), Eastern Kentucky University (course: Managing the Nation's Disasters for their Homeland Security program) and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (course: Emergency and Disaster Management). Dr. Carlson is a trained instructor/facilitator for FEMA (course: Continuity of Operations Planning) and American Red Cross Disaster Services (courses: International Humanitarian Law, all train-the-trainer programs, and all advanced and basic Disaster Services courses to 2019). Dr. Carlson began teaching policy courses with Anna Maria College in February of 2021 and joined the faculty team full-time in August of the same year (courses listed below). Dr. Carlson believes passionately in the scholar-practitioner model (both facilitating and working in the field concurrently) to provide a current and meaningful educational experience for students. Jennifer continues to work to improve the field through board and committee work with the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), the writing of books/articles, and reviewing articles for the Journal of Emergency Management. Specifically, Jennifer serves as IAEM's Higher Education Co-Chair for the Training and Education Committee and on their Scholarship Commission Nominations Task Force. Jennifer also serves as the Affairs Specialist in Massachusetts for the Department of Defense/ESGR.

Dr. Carlson was born and raised in Massachusetts. She lived for four years on Cape Cod National Seashore when working as a Director of Emergency Services, maintaining responsibility for the coordination of disaster management on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket for the American Red Cross. Dr. Carlson continues to work with Nantucket Island on projects, showcasing her book at author events, and has facilitated the PBS special titled "Decoding the Weather Machine." Jennifer now makes her home lakeside in Charlton, MA.

Courses Taught at Anna Maria College:

604 Integrated Seminar
601 Advanced Policy and Practice
504 Growth and Behavior in the Social Environment
503 Social Welfare Policy
401 Social Work Research
310 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Emergency Management

Research Interests:

Professionalizing the field of Emergency Management; moving from certification to higher levels of professionalization (such as other professions, cataloged by the Sociology of Professions). Advancements in professionalization (specific to emergency management): licensure, education/institutional growth, and areas relating to increasing the levels of professional competence for those participating in the field.

Selected Publications:

Carlson, J. (2015). Exploring the professionalization of the emergency management field: A qualitative analysis. Retrieved from ProQuest Digital Dissertations. (ATT 3735146)

Carlson, J. (2019). Write your story: A self-start, write your own biography. Retrieved from

Carlson-Benoit, J. (2010). Regional sheltering paradigm shift. International Association of Emergency Managers Journal, 27(10), 12-13.

Carlson, J. (2006). On the front lines of disaster relief. Interaction, 18(1), 4-5.

Grobman, L. (2006). Weather the storm: Social Workers and the 2005 hurricane season. The New Social Worker, 13(1), 15-17.

Selected Professional Presentations:

Exploring the Components Needed to Further the Professionalization of the Emergency Management Field: A Qualitative Analysis of Higher Education and Training; FEMA's Higher Education Symposium, June 2022. Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Exploring the Professionalization of the Emergency Management Field - A Qualitative Study in Review; International Association of Emergency Managers Conference, October 2016. Savannah, Georgia.

Decoding the Weather Machine - A PBS Special (Facilitator); Nantucket Atheneum, April 2021. Nantucket, Massachusetts.

What's Your Disaster Plan? (Workshop); Assabet After Dark, September 2019. Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Write Your Story - Author Event (Facilitator); Nantucket Atheneum, June 2022, 2021 and April 2019. Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Write Your Story - Author Event (Author); Barnes & Noble, June 2019. Holyoke, Massachusetts.


International Association of Emergency Managers
-Co-Chair in Higher Education for the Training and Education Committee
-Representative: Scholarship Nominations Task Force
-CEM® (Certified Emergency Manager)
-Member in good standing

ESGR/Department of Defense
-Affairs Specialist for Massachusetts

Journal of Emergency Management
-Article Reviewer

State of Massachusetts, National Association of Social Workers
-LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
-Field concentration in thanatology/grief and loss
-Member in good standing