The Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department is home to CSU Online’s Fire and Emergency Services Administration Degree.

Within a short space of time, Danya Tumia found firefighting, secured a job and is now graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Fire and Emergency Services Administration this spring.

Tumia moved to Colorado as a child, and grew up aware of the medical profession that ran in her family. She was initially interested in becoming a doctor. Upon shadowing the job one day, she realized two things about herself: (1) she wanted to be outside and (2) she wanted something more community-based.

She considered becoming a paramedic, completing her EMT certification and training with a fire department in Broomfield. During a training day, one of the firefighters asked Tumia if she wanted to “fly.” He attached her to the side of a stokes basket which was at the tip of the fire engine ladder, and simulated high-angle, low-angle training in a parking lot. She said she always felt included and enjoyed the fire station atmosphere, which influenced her decision to become a firefighter.

“The firefighters were so welcoming and I just felt part of their team,” Tumia said. “It felt like a family and checked that medical box.”

In 2017, she started as a fire cadet at Littleton Fire Rescue and went to fire academy. She was hired as a firefighter the next year, and her station soon merged with South Metro Fire Rescue in Denver where she has been ever since.

Photo Courtesy of Danya Tumia


A year into the global pandemic, things have normalized for Tumia and her team. Emergency call volumes initially decreased during the pandemic’s early stages, so she and her colleagues took extra precautions to keep the virus outside their station. The young firefighter said her biggest adaptation has been wearing more personal protective equipment with heavy-duty Silicone P100 respirator masks on their now increasing volume of calls. All these extra efforts have now become second nature.

“We faced a lot of similar challenges as the public,” Tumia said. “It heightened our awareness but we were used to that.”

In summer 2019, Tumia began her FESA degree with CSU Online. She was already used to extra work once the pandemic began, and gained even more awareness as she completed courses amidst her 48-hour on, 96-hour off schedule. FESA instructors brought up topics about long-term health care that the pandemic made more relevant, especially for providers on the front lines.

Tumia learned that the 48-96 schedule had been linked to cancer and extra health risks, which helped her understand how to better take care of herself now early in her career. Down the line she said she’s more mindful about ensuring firefighters receive retirement health care that allows experienced professionals to retire while they’re healthy. She admits that firefighting is a tough job, but that’s one of the reasons she enjoys it.

“I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from my colleagues and the profession right now,” Tumia said. “I really enjoy the place I’m at.”

In the future, she is interested in applying her academic degree to become an engineer. This person drives and operates the apparatus, which includes fire engines, ladder trucks and water pumps. This leadership role also helps keep the interior crews safe and supplies water during a fire. Tumia said she also admires officer qualities she sees in her own station’s leadership. It’s that sense of trust and community from the bottom to the top that she said lets her know she is in the right place.

“When you finally find the crew your supposed to be with and the closeness you feel working through hard calls together, it’s just an incredible feeling,” Tumia said. “It’s a lifestyle; it’s more than just a job.”


We would like to recognize all of our FESA graduates since the pandemic began last spring. Student-professionals and alumni of the program have been first responders to communities in over 40 different U.S. cities during the pandemic while also completing their degrees. Thank you for your service and congratulations on an accomplishment during unprecedented times in your profession.

Spring 2021 Graduates: Jonathan Beattie, Kyle Davis, Carlie Dickson, John Patrick, Rebekah Mitchell, Jacob Romero, Stephen Sears, Danya Tumia

Fall 2020 Graduates: Joshua Collier, Thomas Fields, Randon Grimes, Gilbert Hernandez, Malcolm Malone, Braxton Traylor, Craig VanderZwagg

Spring 2020 Graduates: Brian Boggeln, Joseph Dell, Jennifer Ebelke, Charlie Kimball, Estevan Neri, Garrett Soldati, Michael Blackwill, Nathan Waters