Wilder School graduate student Amie Fuller wins top honors at NASPAA’s 2023 Wildfire Simulation Competition
by Pam Cox
Wilder School graduate student Amie Fuller represented the homeland security and emergency preparedness program (HSEP) during the 2023 Wildfire Simulation Competition. The event was held on March 4 at James Madison University by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Fuller’s team, which included five teammates from different universities, won first place. The win advances the team to the international competition.
The global event is held annually at multiple university host sites. Students are given a scenario and assigned a role such as an environmental group representative or forest service district ranger. They must work to develop a wildfire mitigation plan for a fictional town.
“The teamwork, negotiation, and collaboration were truly a joy to be a part of,” said Fuller. “We often grounded ourselves in doing what was right for the community and often focused on the marginalized communities and communication with them,” she added.
“Amie is a professional firefighter and has done actual wildland firefighting. Her experience was a huge asset to her team. The simulation is a great opportunity for students to practice real-life situations as they prepare for their future career.” — Maureen Moslow-Benway
Fuller worked with teammates from Penn State Harrisburg, University of Delaware, James Madison University, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She said they learned to work together through listening and effective communication. HSEP chair and assistant professor Maureen Moslow-Benway knew Fuller was well prepared.
“Amie is a professional firefighter and has done actual wildland firefighting. Her experience was a huge asset to her team.” said Moslow-Benway. "The simulation is a great opportunity for students to practice real-life situations as they prepare for their future career.”
Competitors were judged on five stages of “meetings” and plan development followed by a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation. Fuller said they had to adapt and overcome challenges throughout the day.
“There were learning objectives presented for each round. They covered tasks such as communication, social involvement, marginalized populations and research.”
Once her master’s degree is completed, Fuller plans to become an emergency manager.