As an institution, UMass Boston embodies the values of inquiry, discovery, transformation, and community engagement with a commitment to local and global communities. As a whole, we seek faculty and students who advance our mission.
Nulise François is one of those students. Since 2008, she has completed two degrees and three graduate certificates at UMass Boston.
“I used my freshman year to explore a wide variety of courses. They led me to choose a double major in African-American history and philosophy and public policy. I loved philosophy; it still helps me today in decision making. And I love to write about policy issues, too.”
Just one year after finishing her bachelor’s degree she wanted to continue her education. She went on to expand her horizons at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies and the College of Advancing and Professional Studies earning graduate certificates and degrees in women in politics and public policy (now Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy), conflict resolution, and most recently, an online graduate certificate in global post-disaster studies.
Her undergraduate internship turned into a full-time job as a transportation security officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. During a period of re-organization at the department, her supervisor did not want to lose her and reassigned her as an emergency management program specialist, a position which she has held since November 2010.
François was nominated as one of two employees in her region to join FEMA’s Emerging Leaders professional development program. She explains the motivation behind and benefits of the program saying, “FEMA wants to prepare the next generation of emergency management leaders. I gained valuable skills in leadership effectiveness, risk-taking, public speaking, and how to motivate others.”
A volunteer extraordinaire, François began serving those in need as an undergraduate at UMass Boston when she traveled with a group of students to New Orleans to help Hurricane Katrina victims. That spirit is still alive today as she organizes food drives at her office and volunteers every week at Horizons for Homeless Children.
Commenting on the Graduate Certificate Program in Global Post-Disaster Studies, she notes, “This curriculum helped me expand my world. It has helped me understand issues of feasibility, mitigation versus recovery, climate change, sea level changes, and more.” She acknowledges that this program helps her in her current position managing hazard mitigation grants and projects for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Reflecting on her time at UMass Boston, she praises the great professors, the helpful staff, and the myriad networking opportunities from which she has benefited. Although I enjoyed my history classes,” she says, “they were naturally focused on the past. But my graduate work focused on the future and I learned to look at policy challenges through local, national, international, and global lenses.”