Community, connections, and compassion motivate Kevin Conley, Class of 2013, to a life of service, working both behind the scenes and on the front lines to make a difference.
Emergency management specialist Kevin Conley ’13 shares his insights on service and career.
Q. Your profession and volunteerism make clear your heart for service. When did you realize your passion for helping others?
Kevin: My parents were very involved when we were growing up; getting our family involved in sports and other activities continued to introduce us to different communities. Connections we made through these different community groups opened opportunities for us to get more involved. My Catholic education also influenced my desire to serve others. I am grateful to all the coaches, teachers, family friends, and to my parents who instilled a strong set of values and demonstrated the positive impacts I could strive to have on others.
Q. You are a 16-year volunteer at Camp Fatima Exceptional Citizens’ Week. What keeps you involved?
Kevin: Camp Fatima Exceptional Citizens’ (EC) Week is a summer camp opportunity for children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. For most of my years at camp, I have volunteered as a counselor working with a camper 1:1 for the week to ensure they have the best experience. EC Week is a unique type of service. For many who volunteer, it is a week of reflection on our own personal challenges and how we overcome them. The motto repeated continuously during the week is “Love in Action”; my explanation does not fully describe the impact it has on me personally.
Q. You’ve chosen a career in emergency management. How did Rivier help prepare you?
Kevin: I completed my senior internship with the Emergency Management Department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Two key projects included working as a member of the Emergency Management Team to coordinate the hospital’s response to a public health emergency declared by the Governor of Massachusetts related to flu and to the response plan for the 2013 Boston Marathon. On the morning of the Boston Marathon, I participated in the Emergency Department’s set-up for the expected surge of marathon runners and spectators. Just after the first explosion, we received notification to be on stand-by, and I transitioned to actively supporting the Emergency Department medical team as patients arrived. The hospital’s ability to manage the crisis as well as they did was a direct result of the Emergency Management Team’s advance planning and organization. This internship experience still shapes my career track today.
Q. How has your career evolved?
Kevin: These first few years have proved to be formative. With advice and help from a few mentors, I finished my master’s in Emergency Management at Mass. Maritime Academy in 2016. After completing my degree, I found an opportunity as the Emergency Management Coordinator at Lowell General Hospital and am currently working as the Emergency Management Coordinator for UMass Lowell.
Q. How has your service on Rivier’s Business and Homeland Security Advisory Councils impacted you?
Kevin: I appreciate Rivier’s effort to engage professionals in various fields that students may find attractive. I have seen the effect the Advisory Councils have on students—the input from field professionals is used to adapt and develop meaningful curriculum for their success.
Q. What is the most meaningful aspect of service to you?
Kevin: I enjoy seeing the impact. In my field, I often see the effect a training or exercise will have on the participants or the agencies drafting the plans. The successful response by the entire city of Boston during the Boston Marathon in 2013 was a demonstration of the impact the planning process can have.
Q. Future plans? What’s next for you?
Kevin: I am very excited to join Rivier’s Division of Business and Security Studies as an adjunct faculty member in the Homeland Security and International Studies Program. I am teaching the HLS 300 Emergency Management course this fall and truly enjoy sharing my practical experience with students.