Scholarships Aid Students Studying Fire Protection
The Center for Life Safety Education (CLSE), an educational affiliate of the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), is proud to sponsor two scholarship programs: the Philip L. DeCamara, Jr. Scholarship and the Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship. These programs honor dedicated industry veterans who made a difference in the fire sprinkler industry by offering scholarships named in their honor to students studying for a fire protection engineering career.
“By supporting the best and brightest students studying for degrees in fire protection, CLSE donors make an investment in the future of our special industry,” says Frank Mortl III, CAE who serves as president of both AFSA as well as CLSE. “We are so grateful for donations from supporters which assist in the development of the next generation of fire protection professionals.”
Philip L. DeCamara, Jr. Scholarship – University of Maryland (UMD) Established by the AFSA Board of Directors in 1984, the DeCamara Scholarship program benefits outstanding juniors and seniors majoring in the fire protection engineering (FPE) curriculum at the University of Maryland in College Park, DeCamara’s alma mater. The program presents two scholarships each year.
AFSA honors DeCamara for his commitment to the fire sprinkler industry and the association. As president of DeCamara Fire Protection Products (DFPP), he became involved during AFSA’s early years. In 1983 he chaired the Budget & Finance Committee and co-chaired the then newly formed Manufacturers & Suppliers (M/S) Council. Later that year, DeCamara passed away of a heart attack, leaving behind his wife Terry and their five children. Terry is still involved with the scholarship committee today, evaluating applicants and presenting scholarship awards.
Katherine McKee, the winner of the first place award of $4,000, is studying FPE. She went into the field because she wanted to make the world a better and safer place. McKee is equally passionate about teaching. She has worked as a teaching assistant for several courses in the FPE curriculum, worked as a fire protection engineering ambassador, and also taught high school students about FPE through a design challenge.
In her spare time, McKee does everything she can to help the department. She speaks at every high school presentation, open house, demonstration, and shadowing experience that she can in order to bring talented students into the program. She was recently selected by the Dean of Engineering to represent the University of Maryland at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Global Grand Challenge Summit, a prestigious engineering conference between the United States, United Kingdom, and China.
Lindsay Huffert, an FPE major, was awarded the second place prize of $3,000. From 2013 until 2015 she worked as an emergency medical technician for the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, while also attending school, and took that passion for saving lives into her college career. Huffert was first introduced to FPE during her sophomore year of high school. She worked in the campus labs to learn about the physics and principles behind fires, and then as an engineering intern at the R.E. Ginna nuclear power plant to gain practical experience. Huffert currently works as an undergraduate research assistant in the department’s FireTEC program, which performs consulting and fire testing projects for outside companies.
Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship – Oklahoma State University (OSU) The AFSA Board of Directors voted to fund a second scholarship in 2005 after industry leader Thomas S. Waller passed away. Waller devoted more than 40 years to the fire protection industry. He served as chairman of the board of Viking Fire Protection of the Southeast in High Point, North Carolina, and also gave much of his time to AFSA. He helped form the AFSA Carolinas Chapter and served on the board of directors of the North and South Carolina state chapters. He also served on the AFSA Board of Directors from 1985-1995 and as national chairman of the Board from 1989-1991. Waller believed in the value of education and was determined in his efforts to provide educational opportunities for young people, both in and outside of the industry. The Waller scholarship is presented to juniors or seniors enrolled in the Fire Protection & Safety Technology program in the College of Engineering, Architecture & Technology at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
The 2017-2018 winner is Aaron Erb, who is studying fire protection safety technology, and has a passion for protecting people. He is currently an operations manager in the Tulsa Air National Guard. He was a technical school honor graduate in the Operations Management career field at Shepard Air Force Base in 2014, and a top performer at the 145th RTS Deployment for Training in North Carolina in 2015. Erb has spent much of his young life giving back to his community. He has been a mentor to younger students through the ELEVATE program, he has volunteered as a physical education and wellness instructor at his local YMCA, and he has put his engineering skills to good use constructing shelters for rescue dogs. Erb also embarked on a humanitarian mission to Latvia where he helped to insulate a school in a rural community so that children could attend classes in the winter.
Invest in the Future Your tax-deductible donations help students attain their educational goals and professional dreams while positively impacting the fire protection industry. Supporting either the DeCamara Scholarship Fund, Waller Scholarship Fund or both is greatly appreciated by the winners, their families, and the DeCamara and Waller families. Remember, as CLSE is a 501(c)(3) educational affiliate of AFSA, all contributions made to these scholarship funds are tax deductible.
To make a one-time donation or become a regular donor, visit CLSE online at clse.org and click on “Scholarships” or mail a check to DeCamara Scholarship or Waller Scholarship, c/o CLSE, 12750 Merit Dr., Ste. 350, Dallas, Texas 75251. With a donation of $100-$199, donors will receive a complimentary, limited-edition 13-in. x 19-in. print (one of 200 total prints), signed and numbered by original painter Jefferson Muncy, the son of former AFSA President Steve Muncy. Or, for a donation of $200 or more, donors receive an 18-in. x 24-in. limited-edition signed and numbered print (also one of 200 total prints). With appreciation, we welcome all donations of any amount should you choose not to receive a print. For more information on the scholarships or to apply, visit clse.org/scholarships.htm.