Invest in the Future of Fire Protection

De Camara and Waller Scholarships Aid Students

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. De Camara, Jr. Scholarship at the University of Maryland in College Park and the Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. 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.

“Supporting our next leaders in the fire safety industry is absolutely integral to our future,” says Debra N. McGuire, MBA, IOM, CAE, who serves as President and CEO of both AFSA and CLSE. “By investing in these dedicated students who are committed to a long-term career in fire protection, we ensure that our work will continue to move forward. On behalf of the Boards for AFSA and CLSE, we are grateful to those fire safety advocates and companies whose donations make these scholarships possible, and we encourage all AFSA members to contribute to our annual fund drive in 2019.”

Supporting either the De Camara Scholarship fund, Waller Scholarship fund, or both, is greatly appreciated by the winners, their families, and the De Camara 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. Your donations help students attain their educational goals and professional dreams while positively impacting the fire protection industry. 

Philip L. De Camara, Jr. Scholarship – University of Maryland (UMD) Established by the AFSA Board of Directors in 1984 and endowed in 2018, the De Camara Scholarship program benefits outstanding juniors and seniors majoring in the fire protection engineering (FPE) curriculum at the University of Maryland in College Park, De Camara’s alma mater. The program presents two scholarships annually.

AFSA honors De Camara for his commitment to the fire sprinkler industry and the association. As president of De Camara 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, De Camara passed away from 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. 

Theresa Weyant

Theresa Weyant The winner of the first place award of $4,000, Theresa Weyant, is a junior studying fire protection engineering (FPE). She works as a fire protection engineering student ambassador, a role she took on as soon as she joined the department. She leads tours, gives presentations, allows prospective students to shadow her, and much more. Weyant is also responsible for helping the department to recruit and retain students.

“I love building those connections and sharing my passion for FPE with others,” says Weyant of her experience as an ambassador.

In her spare time, Weyant stays involved all over campus including being elected president of the Flexus Living and Learning Community for Women in Engineering. She also has held leadership positions in six other groups, found time to participate in intramural sports, and was the president of the University of Maryland equestrian team. 

Ella Meredith

Ella Meredith The De Camara Scholarship second place prize of $3,000 is awarded to Ella Meredith, a senior fire protection engineering major. Meredith grew up with her dad serving the community as a volunteer firefighter and credits her early knowledge of fires and fire safety, as well as a long-time passion for math and science (specifically in engineering), as her motivation for joining the school.

Much like Weyant, Meredith immerses herself in the fire protection engineering community at the University of Maryland. Joining the department as a sophomore, Meredith maintains a strong dedication to stay involved in any way she can. She is a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Student Chapter. After being a member for just one year, she ran and served as the secretary of the chapter during her junior year. In her senior year, Meredith has continued her commitment to leadership by serving as president of the Salamander Fire Protection Honor Society.

Meredith also studied abroad in Sweden at Lund University, and says the experience was an “amazing experience that provided the opportunity to meet fire protection engineering students all over the world.” 

When not in class she stays active on campus as a member of the club gymnastics team, as well as staying highly involved in her sorority. 

Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship – Oklahoma State University (OSU) The AFSA Board of Directors voted to fund a second scholarship program 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 OSU in Stillwater.

Leigh Kelly

Leigh Kelly The winner for the 2018-2019 academic year is Leigh Kelly, a junior studying fire protection safety technology.  Kelly became interested in fire protection technology with his introduction to the fire service in Skippack, Pennsylvania. “My grandfather was the fire chief of the neighboring township and my father was heavily involved in the fire service as well as teaching at the fire academy.”

Over the past four years, Kelly has served as a volunteer firefighter and has been very active on campus. He is a member of the Fire Protection Society and serves on the Training Committee, a traveling member of the Firefighter Combat College, and was a CEAT representative for the Society of Fire Protection Engineers during his sophomore year. Kelly has also served others, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in 2013 and traveling on mission trips for Life Builders.

Invest in the Future Your tax-deductible donations help students attain their educational goals and professional dreams while positively impacting the fire protection industry. To make a one-time donation or become a regular donor, visit CLSE online at and click on “Scholarships” or mail a check to the De Camara Scholarship, Waller Scholarship, or both c/o CLSE, 12750 Merit Dr., Ste. 350, Dallas, Texas 75251. For more information on the scholarships or to apply, visit

2018 Philip L. De Camara, Jr. &  Thomas S. Waller
Scholarship Contributors

The De Camara and Waller Scholarships are supported by voluntary donations from corporate and individual members of the fire protection industry and their friends and associates. AFSA and CLSE thank the individuals and companies listed below for their contributions to the 2018 scholarships, as well as the donors who chose to remain anonymous.
Aegis Technologies, Inc., Pottstown, PA
Aegis Fire Systems, Inc., Pleasanton, CA
Allstar Fire Protection, Inc., Madison, TN
Anchor Fire Protection, Perkiomenville, PA
Atlanta Winsupply, Lithonia, GA
Bamford Fire Sprinkler Co., Inc., Salina, KS
Carolina Fire Protection, Inc., Dunn, NC
Andrew De Camara, Sherman Oaks, CA
Terese De Camara, Dresher, PA
Extinguish Fire Corporation, Fredricksburg, VA
Fire & Safety Systems Co., Ocean, NJ
Fire Tech Systems, Shreveport, LA
Firestop, Inc., Bethel, CT
Freedom Fire Protection, Longmont, CO
General Underground Fire Protection, Orange, CA
Hampshire Fire Protection, Westfield, MA
Hampshire Fire Protection, Londonderry, NH
Houston Fire Systems, Lockford, CA
J & J Fire Protection Co., Inc., Butler, PA
JB Fire Protection, Fullerton, CA
Jimco Fire Protection, Inc., Au Gres, MI
JSM Fire Pro, Oak Ridge, TN
Richard Matsuda, Dallas, TX
Noland, Mechanicsburg, PA
Protection Design & Consulting, San Diego, CA
Sawyer Sprinkler Service, Milton, VT
Willie Templin, Fort Worth, TX 
United Sprinkler Co., Inc., Fredricksburg, VA
Universal Fire Systems, Inc., Tampa, FL
VSC Fire & Security, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA

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