Left photo: James Baldwin is the 2020-2021 recipient of the Philip L. De Camara, Jr. Scholarship. Right photo: De Camara was dedicated to the fire sprinkler industry and very involved in AFSA.

Baldwin Receives De Camara Scholarship

Endowed Scholarship Funds the Future of Fire Protection

The Center for Life Safety Education (CLSE) and the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) are pleased to announce the 2020-2021 Philip L. De Camara, Jr. Scholarship recipient is James (Jimmy) Baldwin. The scholarship was established to honor a man who was dedicated to the fire sprinkler industry and awards $3,500 to an exceptional junior or senior studying fire protection engineering (FPE) at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park, De Camara’s alma mater.

“I was overjoyed when I learned that I’d been selected for this scholarship,” comments Baldwin. “I feel genuinely honored that the scholarship committee would choose me out of all the applicants, and I intend to do my best to continue developing myself professionally and personally throughout the rest of my time at UMD to make the most of this opportunity.” 

Baldwin is currently a senior who will graduate in May 2021. “I chose to study engineering, and specifically fire protection engineering because I have a strong desire to help both individuals and society in any possible way I can,” says Baldwin. “In my opinion, engaging in a field where I can help protect the public from one of the most destructive and prevalent global catastrophes is extremely fulfilling and provides a great outlet for me to both realize my professional goals as well as to truly make a difference in the world.”

Baldwin has been very involved in the FPE department. He has been involved in several research groups, specifically in projects focused on the thermally-induced failure of lithium-ion batteries, the inexpensive creation of low-temperature diffusion flames as a part of the “Chair’s Sophomore Research Experience” program, and the development of a pyroterrorism response seminar for law enforcement professionals in the D.C. Metro Area. He also works in the laboratory facilities as a member of the department’s FireTEC program, where he conducts fire tests for clients as well as assists in maintaining the department’s lab spaces and testing apparatuses.

Baldwin represents the FPE department as a recruitment ambassador, where he conducts lab tours and information sessions, visits local high schools, and facilitates other recruitment events in order to bolster enrollment. He is also a teaching fellow for several courses.

Baldwin is busy in scholastic extracurriculars as well. He has held several internships: the Architect of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.; Bechtel on the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Richmond, Kentucky; and Burns & McDonnell’s Denver-based Fire Protection Engineering group.

“In all of these positions, I have had the opportunity to develop myself technically as a fire protection engineer, as well as confirm my desire to both pursue a career in this profession and make an impact on the overall industry,” says Baldwin.

He is a member and board member of Engineers Without Borders and vice president of the Salamander Honorary Society. He was also a camp counselor for the Engineering Design Virtual Summer Camp.

Baldwin was a recipient of the Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar distinction in Spring 2020, and has been on the Dean’s List for the School of Engineering every semester since he started at the university. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in the FPE program immediately following graduation. Ultimately, Baldwin plans to pursue a career as a consultant engineer in the fire protection industry.

“My short-term goal is earning my Professional Engineering license. Beyond that, one thing that’s really important to me is contributing to the overall FPE community through activities such as getting involved with my local chapter of SFPE, joining an NFPA code development committee if the opportunity presents itself, participating in the UMD FPE Department’s Alumni Club, etc.,” says Baldwin.

Funding the Future of Fire Protection

The Philip L. De Camara Jr. Memorial Fund was established in 1984. For over three decades, scholarships were provided to the FPE department, helping deserving students pursue their FPE goals. Now those students have now joined the workforce and are making a positive impact on the fire protection industry. In 2018, CLSE joined with the University of Maryland in College Park to endow the scholarship.

The award is based on the student’s character, leadership, and academic excellence with a demonstrated personal commitment to the area of fire safety. The recipient is selected by a committee, lead by De Camara’s widow, Terry, that will evaluate each application.

De Camara was dedicated to the fire protection industry. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 1962, his career progressed with him assuming the position of executive vice president of Central Sprinkler Corp. in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and later president of De Camara Fire Protection Products in Ivyland, Pennsylvania. Widely known and respected in the fire sprinkler industry, De Camara became involved in AFSA in the early 1980s and later helped establish its first Manufacturers/Suppliers Council, giving these members a voice within the association. In October 1983, De Camara, 44, died of a heart attack, leaving his wife, Terry, and their five children: Philip III, Andrew, Matthew, Nancy, and Joseph.

 De Camara Scholarship Waller Scholarships 2019 Contributors

AFSA thanks the individuals and companies listed below for their contributions to the Center for Life Safety Education’s efforts and the De Camara and Waller Scholarships, as well as the donors who chose to remain anonymous.

  • Cen-Cal Fire Systems, Inc.
  • Andrew De Camara
  • Teresa De Camara
  • Fire Design, Inc.
  • Fire Tech Systems, Inc.
  • Hampshire Fire Protection
  • Hub City Sprinklers
  • Richard Matsuda
  • Meridian Fire Protection
  • Liz Messner, AFSA
  • Network for Good
  • Strickland Fire Protection
  • Sunland Fire Protection
  • Superhero Fire Protection
  • Western Fire Protection

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: D’Arcy Montalvo is the public relations manager and Sprinkler Age editor for the American Fire Sprinkler Association.

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