EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: KELLY BOYSEN


Kelly Boysen has always been fascinated by storms. Originally from Galveston, Boysen knew at a very young age she wanted to be a meteorologist and study the weather. However, as her career developed, her interests took an unexpected turn.

“I realized that I really have always enjoyed the weather, but I cared a lot more about emergency preparedness and trying to prepare people for either weather hazards or other environmental hazards that might affect them. So I decided to change gears,” Boysen said.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in meteorology in Florida and working as a tropical weather forecaster, Boysen decided to go back to school. She received her master’s degree in geography at Texas State University and did most of her research in emergency management geared toward preparing for disasters at universities. During her studies, she worked for a summer at Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management where she gained emergency management experience and acquired valuable contacts. It was her former supervisor at Harris County that informed Boysen of the position opening at UH. Boysen became UH’s Emergency Management Specialist in late July 2011.

As the specialist, Boysen said she wears several different “hats.” She is responsible for writing incident action plans for campus events to keep track of all security resources, providing preparedness and outreach to the UH community, and helping to overhaul the university-wide emergency management plan. Boysen is currently also developing hazard specific plans for emergencies such as pandemic influenza, and said she hopes to have all these plans completed and ready by December of this year. Emergency Management is also in charge of Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT) training and just graduated its first class of 15 people this semester. CERT training teaches participants basic search and rescue skills, fire suppression, medical skills and triage so that they can act quickly in emergency situations to help out others until first responders are able to arrive. UHDPS plans to host two more training sessions in the spring.

Boysen said she and Joe Mendez, Emergency Management Director, are working diligently to get all disaster plans in place campus-wide and also reaching out to the UH faculty, staff and students to educate and promote disaster preparedness. In this position, Boysen must communicate with various departments to get their cooperation in the university’s emergency preparedness plans and has found them to be very receptive to her efforts.

“What I love about UH is everyone has been so friendly to me and so welcoming. I have worked with a number of people that have been a joy to work with and they seem to all really care about the university,” she said.

Boysen said she loves her job at UH because it is “different every day” and is happy to have found the opportunity in Houston. She moved along with her husband John who was able to find a nursing position in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. The couple lives near the Medical District with their new puppy, Rhea, and James, a cat that has lived with Boysen since college.