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Graduate Degree Disaster Management Scholarship Opportunities

These graduate degree disaster management scholarships have been established to assist students aspiring to become disaster practitioners and demonstrate a commitment to engage the global community. All scholarships are based on funding availability. These scholarships only apply to students attending the face-to-face program.

Scholarship Application Documentation

The application for each scholarship must include the following documents:

  1. A cover page, which shall state the applicant’s name, email, contact phone number and the scholarship(s) you are applying for the Paul C. Bell, Major Phil May, and R. David Paulison scholarship;
  2. A copy of student’s unofficial undergraduate transcripts;
  3. A copy of your resume; and
  4. A typewritten essay of no more than three pages (double-spaced) describing the reasons that led him or her to seek a degree in disaster management at FIU and their professional aspirations.

Submit all applications materials via email to

*Students may apply to one or more scholarship but will only qualify for one.

Application Due Date

July 1st  at 5 PM (EST).

Award Announcement

The award will be announced at the beginning of the cohort.

Paul C. Bell, Jr. Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Scholarship

Paul C. Bell, Jr. dedicated his life to serving others. His career started as a missionary, then continued with with U.S. Peace Corps, the Inter-American Foundation, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Refugee Programs, the U.N. Disaster Relief Office. In the mid-1980s, Mr. Bell helped establish the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) Latin America and Caribbean regional office in San Jose, Costa Rica, and served as the senior regional advisor until he passed away in 2003.

This scholarship will be awarded to any student working or volunteering for an NGO (e.g., Save the Children, OXFAM, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief) at time of admission.


  1. Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time of admission.
  2. Must demonstrate financial need per the U.S. Department of Education Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  3. Must demonstrate that he or she is working or volunteering for an NGO.

Award Amount:

Student will be awarded $5,000 for the forthcoming academic year to be used for tuition. Award will disburse in the Fall and Spring term.

Major Phil May Scholarship

Major Phil May's career in emergency management started back in 1979 when he served as Congressman Jack Edward's liaison to FEMA following Hurricane Frederick's strike on Alabama. Two years later, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to become the regional administrator of FEMA's Region IV's office, which oversees preparedness, response, and recovery activities for the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. He continued to serve as regional administrator until 1994, returning to the same position in October 2006. After years of dedicated service, Mr. May retired in July 2014. Throughout his time with FEMA, he enthusiastically guided the development of both people and programs. His legacy includes establishing the first Regional Hurricane Program to further the development of regional hurricane evacuation studies. This initiative led to closer ties between emergency managers and weather forecasters, and ultimately the establishment of the Hurricane Liaison Team - a mainstay of current FEMA-state operations. He had an accomplished and distinguished career in emergency management, and earned both the Distinguished Meritorious Service Award and the Distinguished Civil Service Medal. The Department of Health and Human Services also presented him with its first national Disaster Medical Services Award. Sadly, Mr. May left us in November 2017. A supporter of the Academy from the very beginning, this scholarship honors his dedication to the field of emergency management and the people he has mentored and impacted over the years.

This scholarship will be awarded to a student demonstrating the dedication to advance their studies in emergency preparedness and disaster management.


  1. Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time of admission.

Award Amount:

Student will be awarded $5,000 for the forthcoming academic year to be used for tuition. Award will disburse in the Fall and Spring term.

David Paulison Exceptional Student Scholarship

David Paulison is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in emergency and disaster response and recovery. After beginning his career as a firefighter, Mr. Paulison rose through ranks and become fire chief of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and oversaw Miami Dade’s Office of Emergency Management in 1992, the same year Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida. After 30 years in the fire service, on September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Chief Paulison as the head of the U.S. Fire Administration. In 2003, President Bush appointed Chief Paulison to serve as the director of the newly created National Preparedness Division of the Emergency Preparedness & Response Directorate. This distinctly Department of Homeland Security Directorate was later made part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 2006, Chief Paulison was unanimously confirmed and sworn in as the first Under Secretary for FEMA and served as its administrator until 2009.

This scholarship will be awarded to a student demonstrating exceptional academic achievement and contributions to the community.


  1. The award is based on competitive merit and will be selected from applicants possessing a minimum GPA of 3.5 at the time of admission.

Award Amount:

Student will be awarded $5,000 for the forthcoming academic year to be used for tuition. Award will disburse in the Fall and Spring.


William Averette Anderson Fund

African-American and other minority representation in hazard and disaster mitigation is very important. Research has shown that racial and ethnic minorities often have increased difficulty evacuating prior to a crisis and are more likely to experience disproportionate physical and financial loss during disasters. Our focus now is on students who are already enrolled in graduate school. The Fund is dedicated to the work done by and the legacy of William Anderson who passed away in 2013.