As the homeland security program manager for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), dual criminal justice sciences graduate Michelle (Hillman) Hanneken ’99, M.A. ’00, is dedicated to helping communities prepare for disaster.

Her work gained White House attention. Hanneken was honored as a 2013 Champion of Change. Only 18 were chosen for the award, which recognizes individuals who do extraordinary acts to empower and inspire their communities.

She oversees Illinois’ Citizen Corps Council, which received the FEMA Outstanding State Citizen Corps Initiatives award. Only seven corps groups were recognized at the national level for building local partnerships to support emergency preparedness.