Elizabethtown College Alumna Supporting Incident Command Operations for U.S. COVID-19 Response
Elizabethtown College alumna Agnetha Serrame ‘14 first started researching COVID-19 or coronavirus as part of her role as a CBRN Emergency Management Specialist with the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency in December 2019. Most recently, she’s been placed at the White House working as a contingency specialist based on her expertise in the field of biological incident response (or biodefense in the bigger scale), which can range from natural to man-made incidents.
“I assist with incident planning and any other tasks that relate to the science piece of this incident,” Serrame said. “I am also assisting my Agency’s National Response and Coordination Center as the CBRN Planning Support and Advisor within the Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) with creating an internal plan for the agency to determine how we can keep our mission and protect our employees during an outbreak.”
As the pandemic began to spread across the United States, Serrame’s position escalated quickly.
“I was deployed to assist the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the COVID-19 response in the FEMA capacity within a Crisis Action Task Force (CATF),” Serrame said. “I am also assisting my Agency’s National Response and Coordination Center as the CBRN Planning Support and Advisor within the Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) with creating an internal plan for the agency to determine how we can keep our mission and protect our employees during an outbreak.”
Serrame, a 2014 graduate of Etown, majored in Political Science. The now Arlington, Virginia resident credits the foundational skills during her time at the College for setting her on a path to success.
“Etown taught me everything I know today,” Serrame shared. “I believe that the foundations and skills I received from the Department of Political Science and my professors were the reasons that facilitated my success in life.”
Skills like writing, research, public speaking, and technical knowledge are all critical areas Serrame utilizes in her career every day. The continued support she receives today from her former professors is an added bonus.
“My mentor was Associate Professor of Political Science Oya Dursun-Ozkanca,” Serrame said. “Her Comparative Politics class was the class that opened my eyes up to what I really wanted to do in life and also the turning point of my college career when I decided to finally switch to Political Science as my major.”
Serrame also gained invaluable knowledge and support from Political Science professors April Kelly-Woessner and Fletcher McClellan.
“Etown pushed me out of my comfort zone, and taught me life lessons that we do not learn in the classroom,” Serrame said. “Etown is special to my heart and not only that it taught me skills I use in my professional life but also in my personal life.”
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More About Agnetha Serrame
Agnetha Serrame, a 2014 graduate of Elizabethtown College, holds a degree in Political Science. Currently, she serves as President of the non-profit organization called Filipino Young Professionals of Washington, DC (FYP-DC). FYP-DC creates a community within the young Filipino professionals in Washington, D.C., Md., and Va. providing programming, support, and resources to young professionals. The organization also spreads the importance of culture and breaking down cultural barriers by educating the Filipino diaspora in the U.S.
“I am proud to say that this is work that I searched for because Etown taught me that giving back to my community and being a champion of diversity is important to living a happy life.”
– Agnetha Serrame