CLSE and AFSA Award $4,000 to OSU Student
Each year, the Center for Life Safety Education (CLSE) and the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) come together to award the Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship to one junior or senior enrolled in the Fire Protection and Safety Technology program at Oklahoma State University (OSU). The Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship is $4,000 in scholarship funds, paid directly to the OSU student’s account. The winner for the 2017-2018 academic year is Aaron Erb, a senior studying fire protection safety technology.
Erb has a passion for protecting people, which is evident in his choice to be a fire protection engineer, and also in his military career. Erb 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.
“I am studying Fire Protection Safety Technology here at Oklahoma State University because I truly want to make a difference in life, by protecting people and assets from danger or harm,” says Erb. “Learning about fire disasters and hearing stories of unsafe workplaces, where people have lost their lives over things that could have been prevented, motivates me to be the change and to add everything I can to this industry.”
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. He 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. “It was a rewarding experience,” says Erb, recalling the mission. “I was able to experience some of their culture, learn some of the language, communicate with the children, play soccer with them and leave a lasting impression to the Latvians of America’s kindness in the world.”
Professor Qingsheng Wang, PhD, PE, CSP, a Dale F. Janes Endowed Professor and Associate Professor and Program Director of Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology at OSU, has nothing but the highest of praise for Erb. “Aaron has a good academic record and an intense interest in the fire protection and safety engineering fields,” says Wang. “He is also very active in student affairs, departmental activities, and volunteering in the community. He was in the top 10 percent in my class out of over 500 students. I have found him to be responsible and more interested in what he can learn rather than looking for a way to do the minimum required or even just pursuing a grade.”
Erb was thrilled to learn that he had been awarded the Waller scholarship. “Winning this scholarship really means a lot to me,” he says. “Having paid for my education on my own dime since I was a freshman, being in my senior year the classes are harder, the nights are longer, and it’s difficult to earn money for expenses with that kind of schedule. This scholarship will allow me to focus more time on my classes and learning about fire protection, and will allow me to be more involved with clubs and on campus organizations.”
The Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship was established in 2006 to honor the man who devoted more than 40 years to the fire protection industry. It has provided nearly $40,000 to OSU FPST students. The scholarship is presented to juniors or seniors enrolled in the FPST program in the College of Engineering, Architecture & Technology at OSU, which is the oldest fire/safety-related program in North America and is the nation’s only ABET-accredited FPST program. As CLSE is a 501(c)(3) educational affiliate of AFSA, all contributions made to this scholarship fund is tax-deductible. To make a one-time donation or become a regular donor, visit clse.org/scholarships.