Cheyenne Gates SF Fire Dept

Known for Community: UM Grad Finds New Ways to Serve in Pandemic

Cheyenne GatesSciences

My name is Cheyenne Gates and I graduated in 2015 from the University of Mobile with a degree in Sociology. I currently work at the Spanish Fort Fire Rescue Department as the public education coordinator.

Before the lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic, my typical day included public events such as CPR classes for the local high school and businesses, reading time for kids at the public library, and also fall prevention/ safety classes at the senior center.

Since we are no longer able to go out and interact with the public, we have turned to social media to stay connected with the community. We release public safety tips, activity and coloring pages for the kids, and even Storytime with Spanish Fort Fire-Rescue, which was featured by WKRG. 

Our station was also doing birthday drive-bys for the kids stuck at home – which just brings me so much joy watching the kids get so excited seeing a fire truck coming down the street just for them!

Although things are different and inconvenient, I think personally that I have been challenged in my creativity and pushed to learn skills and try new things that I might not have otherwise if things were still in the same routine. My passion is working with people and bringing joy to people, and even though I don’t get to see the full result of releasing media content, it is still satisfying know it is reaching people and making them smile.

My UM experience impacts what I do today because it was the stepping stone to get me to where I am. Although I don’t have a marketing or media degree, my sociology background gives me a passion for caring and connecting with people. Sociology also provides a widespread range of knowledge, therefore not limiting you to only one skill set or field. Freshman year while I was struggling to pick a major, I had a professor tell me to pick a major based on what I was interested in and wanted to learn more about…and not pick a major for one particular job. Employment interests will change, but what you are passionate about will remain consistent. That was the first time I’d ever been told that, and it was great advice that I never forgot!