FSSA Educational Foundation 2020-2021 Scholarship Recipients

Each year, the Foundation provides financial support to outstanding young students connected with the fire protection industry to help them meet their ever-rising cost of a college education. The FSSA Educational Foundation is pleased to announce the following recipients of scholarships for 2020 - 2021:

  • $3,000 scholarship in the name of Chuck Hooper - Gabriel Levy, California Polytechnic State University
  • $3,000 scholarship in the name of Jim Boyer - Rebekah Schrader, University of Maryland
  • $2,000 scholarship in the name of Bernie Bischoff - Colby Costa, Eastern Kentucky University
  • $1,500 scholarship - Kristen Dentici, California Polytechnic State University
  • $1,500 scholarship - Ethan Fowlie, Eastern Kentucky University
  • $1,000 scholarship - Roberto Aguilar, University of Maryland, College Park
  • $1,000 scholarship - Sarah Guynup,Eastern Kentucky University
  • $1,000 scholarship - Etienne Jackson, University of Maryland, College Park
  • $1,000 scholarship - Derrick Meis, Eastern Kentucky University
  • $1,000 scholarship - Jacob Witlin, University of Maryland, College Park

More about our Winners . . .

$3,000 Scholarship in the name of Chuck Hooper
Gabriel Levy, California Polytechnic State University

I am a Cal Poly SLO mechanical engineer undergrad and current FPE student. I was inspired to enter the fire industry by Professor Richard Emberley, who is the most approachable and friendly professor I have ever met. I am concurrently working at WJE as a fire protection associate, where I am furthering my knowledge in the field everyday. In my spare time, I love to surf, rock climb, and homebrew kombucha. Special thanks to Professor Emberley and Garner Palenske for always pushing me to work my hardest.

$3,000 Scholarship in the name of Jim Boyer
Rebekah Schrader, University of Maryland

Rebekah Schrader is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park studying FireProtection Engineering. She is also minoring in Global Engineering Leadership. She is originallyfrom Western Michigan. For the past two summers, she has been a Fire Safety Research Internat the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute. While there, she has conducted various literaturereviews and assisted in a large-scale experiment. After graduation, she would like to continueher education by pursuing a M.S. degree in Fire Protection Engineering.

At school, Rebekah is an A. James Clark School of Engineering Ambassador, a University ofMaryland Cru community plant leader, and a member of the Society of Fire ProtectionEngineers. She was also a member of the FLEXUS Women in Engineering Living and LearningCommunity and participated in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering SophomoreResearch Experience last spring.

$2,000 Scholarship in the name of Bernie Bischoff
Colby Costa, Eastern Kentucky University

This past fall, I was completely dedicated with hopes to attend The United States Military Academy at West Point when a serious injury left me medically disqualified. After realizing that West Point and the military was no longer an option, I began looking for a new college, degree, and future. Having been a member of my local fire department since I was 16 and loving every moment of it, I decided to look for a program in fire science. I very quickly learned about Eastern Kentucky University's Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigation and knew it was the place for me. Due to the injury, I was left far behind my classmates in planning for the future. This scholarship will greatly assist me in still being able to pursue a career in a field and environment I love.

$1,500 Scholarship
Kristen Dentici, California Polytechnic State University

Kristen graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in June of 2020 and began studying in the Fire Protection Engineering Master’s Program in January 2020. As an undergraduate student, she took an interest in thermal and fluid systems which led to an interest in fire science which she explored through clubs during her time at Cal Poly. She served on the board of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers at Cal Poly for two years as an Outreach Coordinator and Vice President.

During the summer of 2019, Kristen worked as an intern with Jensen Hughes at the San Diego location. Through mentorship from her colleagues, she took an interest in special hazards and smoke management and plans to pursue a career focusing on these aspects of fire protection. During her final year as an undergraduate student, Kristen performed a research project exploring the effect of HVAC and detector layouts on detection times in a fire scenario. This fall, Kristen will begin as an associate at Jensen Hughes in San Diego in hopes of having a well-rounded background in many aspects of Fire Protection Engineering.

Outside of school and work, Kristen enjoyed many extracurricular activities at Cal Poly. She was a member of the Cheer and STUNT team for three years and participated as an orientation leader for new students. She enjoyed the beautiful central coast of California with many days spent exploring, hiking, and at the beach. She hopes to be a leader for anyone who feels they don’t “fit” within an industry and show that they can bring unique skills and ideas to a field that would be lacking without them. Even when it is difficult, it is always important to be yourself and pursue whatever in life that will make you fulfilled.

$1,500 Scholarship
Ethan Fowlie, Eastern Kentucky University

Ethan Fowlie is currently a Junior at Eastern Kentucky University.  He is double majoring in Fire Protection Engineering Technologies and Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigations with a minor in Mathematics.  Ethan is actively working on the numerical gypsum thermochemistry research, examining the process of calcination when under fire exposure.  He has presented one paper on the topic at the Eastern States Section of the Combustion Institute’s 2020 Spring Technical Meeting.  He plans to continue this research, moving to experimental tests this academic year.  Ethan also is working on analyzing patterns withing wildfires in the US, examining causes, size, duration, and location to see if any patterns exist that could be of use for prevention.  He hopes to be able to publish papers or present on these topics by the time he graduates.

When not working on his research, Ethan competes with his Mock Trial team on campus, where he has captained a team the past two years.  In these competitions he primarily plays the role of attorney, allowing him to hone skills in argument development, communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills.  Ethan is also an avid rock climber and is an active member of his school’s rock-climbing club.

After Ethan completes his undergraduate studies, he hopes to attend graduate school to continue his work with numerical fire research.  He is considering either Masters in Fire Protection Engineering, or Physics with a Thermodynamics focus.  Ethan looks forward to his continued education, allowing him to grow and continue to work on what he is passionate about.

$1,000 Scholarship
Roberto Aguilar, University of Maryland, College Park

My name is Roberto Carlos Aguilar and I am from Gaithersburg, Maryland. I am a current 21-year-old Senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying Fire Protection Engineering at the A. James Clark School of Engineering. I am a transfer student from Montgomery College located in Rockville Maryland where also I’ve obtained my Associates of Science in fire protection engineering. As a hobby, I like to work out, preferably running and produce music. I am a first-generation college student and I plan to pursue a master’s degree after the completion of my bachelors. After completing my degree, I plan on taking the first of two exams that engineers must pass to be licensed as a Professional Engineer in the United States. That exam is the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination. I’ve completed an internship at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the summer of 2018 and this summer of 2020 where I’ve taught students from the DMV area from the grade range from 6th to 12th grade about engineering. I am also a member of the Student Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and a part of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

$1,000 Scholarship

Sarah Guynup, Eastern Kentucky University

Sarah Guynup is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering with a minor in Fire Administration and a certification in Industrial Fire Protection. She is a volunteer firefighter for Johnsonville Fire-Rescue & EMS Company and will be working on obtaining her EMS certification as well. She works for an engineering firm in Delmar, NY as a Junior Engineer and participates in volunteer activities with her company such as cooking meals for the Ronald McDonald House. Sarah’s career goals are to obtain her EIT in fire protection and then seek to gain the knowledge needed to take her PE exam.

$1,000 Scholarship
Etienne Jackson, University of Maryland, College Park

Etienne Jackson is the eldest of three siblings and son to Clyde Jackson III (Construction Industry: Quality Control Manager) and Miatta Jackson (Senior Clinical Analyst and Researcher). Etienne’s West African heritage has been one of the driving forces of excellence in his academic pursuits. He attended creative and performing arts elementary and middle schools and a Science, Technology, and Industry high school (North Point High School); where he majored in Drafting. Through these magnet programs, he developed a fairly good understanding for the mechanics of various products and how they functioned as he developed his creative and technical thinking skills through art and design.

Etienne gained acceptance to the University of Maryland, as a Mechanical Engineering student, due to its versatility compared to the other majors within the engineering school. While attending the welcoming ceremony for incoming engineering students, Etienne was interested in the tour for the Fire Protection Engineering Department due to his previous interest in becoming a Fire Chief. After learning about the vast opportunities within the Fire Protection Engineering program such as investigation, research, and construction; he was instantly sold on the idea of becoming a Fire Protection engineer and was welcomed with open arms by the entire department. He was eager to join the department because the UMD Fire Protection Engineering program is the only ABET accredited program in the country and the demand for Fire Protection Engineers has been increasing throughout the years. Since being accepted into the program, he has even persuaded a fellow LSAMP Bridge Program student to change his major to Fire Protection Engineering. Etienne is a consistent volunteer for the Center for Minorities and Sciences, and the Fire Protection Department. He continues to thrive by joining the executive board and general body of multiple organizations such as SFPE, NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers), BES (Black Engineers Society), BSU (Black Student Union), and the Multi-Media Club. He also furthers his knowledge on Fire Protection Engineering by doing internships with companies such as Intel Corporations and multiple research projects under the direct supervision of Dr. James Milke.

As a Fire Protection Engineer, Etienne hopes to work internationally as a researcher and innovator of various fire resistant technologies. Etienne is proud of his family and grateful for an educational foundation that has encouraged his unique way of processing information and expressing himself creatively. He now strives to write his own narrative as a future Fire Protection Engineer who can someday create innovative chemicals and materials that will increase safety and save lives from disastrous fires.

Etienne Jackson sincerely thanks the FSSA Scholarship Fund for the financial eligibility toward furthering his college education. His educational pursuits would not have been possible without generous opportunities presented by scholarship sponsors like this society. He thanks you for the opportunity and now looks forward to seeing what he can create or improve upon while making life better for others.

$1,000 Scholarship
Derrick Meis, Eastern Kentucky University

Derrick is a 27 years old senior at Eastern Kentucky University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology. He graduated from Aims Community College in 2019 in Greeley Colorado with an Associates of Applied Science in Fire Science Technology. He am a first generation college student, and is pursuing this program to work into the field as either a Professional Fire Protection Engineer or be employed by one of my local fire departments as a fire marshal.
He has spent almost four years as a volunteer Firefighter/EMT and is where he found his love for the fire service. However, he wanted to be more involved in the fire prevention aspect of this great service. His other passion is in the construction field. He has spent almost five years in the electrical and fire detection/suppression field as a systems integrator, where he installs life safety systems such as fire alarms, security systems, and other electrical devices to help with the safety and security of the public.

His hobbies are being in the beautiful Colorado outdoors fishing, hiking, and camping with his family. He also enjoys woodworking and making things with his hands.

$1,000 Scholarship
Jacob Witlin, University of Maryland, College Park

My name is Jacob Witlin and I am a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park. I am enrolled at the A. James Clark School of Engineering majoring in Fire Protection Engineering with a minor in nuclear. I am also a College Park Scholar and I am studying International Relations and Studies in that program. I am from Ellicott City, MD.

Some of the things that define me as a person are the extracurricular activities that I take part in. I am an Eagle Scout and I have decided to remain active in my troop by signing on as an advisor to younger scouts in the Troop. I am also an athlete. In college I have chosen to join the Rugby Football Club. Being a part of a team is something I enjoy both on and off the field. Athletically through rugby and professionally through the engineering projects that I have worked on. I enjoy working with others and finding myself on teams where everyone contributes and has opportunity to learn from each other.

I spent this summer working as an intern applying my engineering and technical skills in support of a DOD contractor in the greater Baltimore area.


View Past Recipients