Dr. C. Ryan Akers
4-H/ Youth, Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H Youth Development
Dr. Akers focuses on statewide and regional community preparedness, resilience, and disaster management initiatives for the MSU Extension Service, which serves all 82 counties of the state by providing research-based information, educational programs, and technology transfer focused on issues and needs of the people of Mississippi, enabling them to make informed decisions about their economic, social, and cultural well-being. With an academic home in the MSU School of Human Sciences, Dr. Akers provides direction on enhancing individual, family, and community preparedness across the lifespan for the people of Mississippi.
Among his programs, Dr. Akers created and coordinates the Mississippi Youth Preparedness Initiative (also known as MyPI), MyPI National (a national youth preparedness/youth leadership hybrid program), and the MSU Community Emergency Response Team (MSU CERT). In September, 2014, MyPI was awarded the nation’s “Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness” award and also received an Honorable Mention recognition for “Preparing the Whole Community,” both from FEMA. Dr. Akers was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House and spoke on MyPI and youth preparedness at the White House and FEMA headquarters that September. MyPI was named one of the nation’s first Affirmers of the new National Strategy on Youth Preparedness Education, a collaborative effort between FEMA, the American Red Cross, and the United States Department of Education. For this, Dr. Akers again represented MyPI and Mississippi’s efforts in youth preparedness at the White House in January, 2015. He serves on two national working groups within the national Affirmers group that further promotes national youth preparedness efforts. Also, in 2016, Dr. Akers received a NIFA grant that enabled the development and oversight of MyPI National, the National Youth Preparedness Initiative pilot program that replicates the MyPI model and success in seven additional states. Based on program success and offerings, Dr. Akers received an additional NIFA grants that expand MyPI National to its current membership of 29 partnering states and 3 U.S. territories. In 2017, MyPI received another national award when MyPI National received FEMA’s “Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness” award and an Honorable Mention designation for “Preparing the Whole Community”. MyPI National is also an official Affirmer of the National Strategy on Youth Preparedness Education. In 2018, MyPI National won the 2018 National CERT award for “Preparing the Whole Community.” In 2019, MyPI Georgia received the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents award for “Citizenry in 4-H Youth Development”, the program’s fourth national award. Dr. Akers is a graduate of both FEMA’s EMI National Emergency Management Advanced Academy and Executive Academy.