SoReMo Project Discovers Outlet for Improved Disaster Preparedness

Disaster preparedness could be improved citywide across Chicago if the Federal Emergency Management Agency takes advantage of a willing partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), according to Ryan Ciminski’s (MATH 1st Year) research findings with the Socially Responsible Modeling, Computation, and Design (SoReMo) initiative.

Ryan sent questionnaires to 352 random educators in CPS asking whether they believe families are prepared for a disaster, and whether they would use free materials from FEMA to educate students about disaster preparedness. FEMA points to numerous studies that show Americans are not prepared for a disaster, and one way to influence a cultural shift is to motivate children.

“This is the rationale behind FEMA’s support of the Youth Preparedness Council,” Ryan says. “In my sophomore year of high school, I was volunteering at my local food shelf and had learned of an opportunity to serve on FEMA's Youth Preparedness Council. This is a council that is dedicated to creating a cultural shift in the way that Americans perceive the concept of preparedness and how they prepare for emergencies and disasters. I was selected to serve on this council and have done so for the past four years.”

Along with serving on the Youth Preparedness Council, Ryan has volunteered with a local food shelf and a senior center. He says his volunteer experience changed his life, and he has centered his life as a “servant-leader.” SoReMo’s mission to influence social change through research appealed to him.

“I want to develop my math skills to serve others,” Ryan says. “Absolutely nothing is more satisfying than being of service. This is why initiatives, such as SoReMo, are so important in our community. They allow ourselves to foster a culture of service to all and use our talents to better our community.”

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