September 21, 2023

Program director grew to love teaching

When Misti Kill, program director of Emergency Services and Fire Sciences for the College of Safety and Emergency Services, launched her teaching career, she found it a bit daunting.

“I started teaching in grad school and disliked it at first, as I had a bit of a fear of public speaking,” she explained. “However, I grew to love it when I started to have students who were engaged in the classroom and material. I find it very satisfying to watch students take material and connect it back to their lives, to see how it applies to them and why we need it.”

Kill, who has taught for about nine years, enjoys working and helping others as evident in her strong educational background. She has a doctorate in emergency management from North Dakota State University, a master’s in sociology from NDSU, and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and criminal justice from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

“I have always been interested in disasters and preparing for them. I especially became interested after I responded to Hurricane Katrina and my interest has grown from there,” said the Fargo, N.D. native. After Katrina in 2005 and still in grad school, Kill and a Fargo funeral director helped identify bodies for about three weeks.

Grim work, but it did pique her interest in emergency management and training. One thing she likes about the field is “showing people that they are their own first-responder. That they must not rely on others to care for them when a disaster strikes as everyone is in the same boat right away. Preparing an area so that a disaster does not affect them as badly as it could have.”

At CSU, Kill works with about 30 professors and administration and academics to ensure the best education for students seeking degrees in EMS and fire science.

“The goal that I have for my instructors is to be able to connect with students and help them understand why their education and the material they are learning is important,” Kill said. “I always direct instructors to connect the material they are teaching back to specific (current) disaster events so students can see why it is relevant.”

She added that to further enrich her department’s educational offering, she is currently working to secure Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education compliance and developing the emergency management program.

Kill wants students enrolled in fire and emergency services online degrees at CSU to know “that the work they are doing is extremely important and they may have the lives of others in their hands at some point, so it is important to learn as much as possible and continue to learn and stay current even after they have graduated.”