Photo Credit: Kenneth “KC” Wilsey, Visual Imaging Manager, FEMA Region II
TEAK Class: 4
High School: Ethical Culture Fieldston School
College: Muhlenberg College
Profession: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Region II External Affairs (EA) Resource Manager
TEAK recently hosted a career panel for TEAK High School Juniors and Seniors and invited several TEAK alumni to sit on the panel. The alumni had a great time engaging the younger students, sharing their experiences, and offering advice and tips on navigating internships, college and life in general. Alex Rico, an alumnus from Class 4, was one of the panelists and shared his career and life advice with the students. Below he shares how he became involved with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Alex is currently working at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where he works as the Region II External Affairs (EA) Resource Manager, concentrating on crisis communications and Public Information and Warnings. He has conducted outreach to Federal, State, Local, Territorial, Tribal Nation, and Disability partners within the region; and participated in several large-scale training exercises, most notably as a trusted agent and regional EA Liaison to FEMA Headquarters for the inter-agency exercise Gotham Shield 2017. He recently returned from the US Virgin Islands after over a 3 month deployment with one of the Region’s Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT).
Alex graduated from the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in 2007, then attended Muhlenberg College, graduating in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations. While at Muhlenberg, he worked with the Allentown Municipal Government and volunteered during local elections. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, serving on the Inter-Fraternity Council, and studied abroad in Spain and Belgium. In 2009, Alex collected testimonies during the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations. Then in 2013, he was accepted into the NYC Civic Corps, where he was a project manager at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA). At MOVA, he performed outreach at veteran, military, political, and civilian functions; designed and managed veteran volunteer opportunities throughout NYC; drafted testimonies for City Council; and supervised the agency’s relocation.
Alex also volunteers as a civilian uniformed member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, serving as the Division 5 Incident Management Staff Officer and the Vice Flotilla Commander of Flotilla 5-11 based in Northern Manhattan.
Favorite Memory at TEAK:
“Summer Institute was great and helped prepare me for the rigors of High School. It was nice knowing that I was with people in the same boat. I also enjoyed all the Broadway shows that we would go to.”
How did you become involved with FEMA? How did your time at TEAK prepare you?
“If it wasn’t for TEAK, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My 2nd or 3rd internship through TEAK was with the National Minority Business Council where I worked with a CEO who had vision loss and had to help him with everyday tasks. This experience and my work with the Civic Corp helped me secure the job with FEMA.”
Advice for current TEAK Fellows:
“Always keep your goals in mind and don’t give up. Things will happen that are not part of the plan but there are always other ways to reach your goals.”
Get in touch with Alex: