From journalist to war veteran, Keith Grant is pursuing a career in emergency management.

by Stephen Levine

“I enjoy being in classes with students who connect with me, and I’m focusing on subject matter that is close to me.”—Keith Grant

From being on active duty in Iraq to seeing his hometown battered by Superstorm Sandy, emergencies are an aspect of life that Keith Grant has grown accustomed to. Living on Long Island and going through these experiences made Adelphi’s M.S. in Emergency Management program a perfect fit for him.

The road for Mr. Grant has now come full circle. He currently resides in his hometown of Long Beach, New York, but there have been many stops along the way. In 2002, soon after 9/11, he enlisted in the National Guard and began active duty in the U.S. Army in 2003. He served stateside in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas before shipping off for two tours in Iraq. These experiences prepared him for his current field of study.

“The Army is always dealing with an emergency,” the veteran said. “Planning becomes an important process and the Army does it constantly. It’s a good skill to have for everything.”

After Mr. Grant’s departure from the Army in 2012, dealing with these urgent types of situations still remained a part of his life. The first thing he did was join a wildfire crew in Arizona. While Mr. Grant encountered various emergency situations far from home, in Iraq and Arizona, a storm soon barreled through his hometown.

When Sandy hit, and had devastating effects on Long Beach and the New York metro region, Mr. Grant decided it was time to move back home to help his family and friends deal with the damage. In the place where he grew up—and was once editor of the Long Beach Herald—he was at a crossroads in his life where one decision seemed to make sense.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Mr. Grant said. “When I found emergency management at Adelphi, it seemed like a perfect fit for me.”

Twenty years after receiving his undergraduate degree, there were plenty of reasons to choose his current area of study. Mr. Grant describes the field of emergency management as a growing one because disasters seem to be occurring more often and on a larger scale. More importantly, and on a personal level, the emergency management program “brought all of his experiences together,” he said.

So how has the experience of going back to school been for this highly accomplished Army veteran? For him, the program has been great.

“School is something you appreciate more later in life,” he said. “I enjoy being in classes with students who connect with me, and I’m focusing on subject matter that is close to me.”

Although emergency management didn’t factor into Mr. Grant’s initial career plans, it has become an integral part of his philosophy when it comes to his new chosen field. He follows the belief of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower that “plans are nothing, but planning is everything.”

“Going through the process is what you need to do,” Mr. Grant said. “You adapt to the situation at hand, and realize that it takes all of us to adapt and overcome from that experience.”

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