Outstanding FPE Students Earn Academic Assistance
Each year, the Center for Life Safety Education (CLSE) and the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) come together to award $7,000 in scholarship funds to two exceptional students studying fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park. For the 2015-2016 academic year, those winners are Irene Lemberos and Julie Dicus.
Irene Lemberos, the winner of the first place award of $4,000, is a senior studying fire protection engineering, with a minor in international engineering. This past semester she studied abroad at the Technical University of Denmark, where she designed and created an upward flame spread test to determine the safety of materials used by NASA on spacecraft and space infrastructure. Lemberos also worked as a junior mechanical design engineer intern at the National Security Agency, where she performed 3D design work using SolidWorks CAD software. Says Lemberos of her time at the NSA: “I learned how to systematically approach technical problems and use design techniques and experiments to find innovative solutions.”
Lemberos’ instructors describe her as being intelligent, intuitive and witty. Michael J. Gollner, a faculty member of the Fire Protection Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, remembers her as the top student in his undergraduate fluid mechanics class, where she excelled above her peers and earned the highest grade in the course.
Lemberos is a member of the Salamander Honor Society as well as the RISE Leadership Academy, an engineering leadership development program. She is in the University of Maryland Honors College and has earned the University Honors Citation. She is also a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America and has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award that organization offers. She spends her free time giving back to her community though volunteer work as a tutor, as a mentor, and as a Fire Protection Engineering Department Ambassador on her campus.
“I wanted to study fire protection engineering because it was a field where I could make an impact,” says Lemberos, “a field where I would be challenged, and a field with a strong community.”
This summer, Lemberos participated in an internship at Jacobs Engineering, doing design and consulting work. After graduation she plans to pursue a master’s degree in fire protection engineering.
Julie Dicus, a senior fire protection engineering major, was awarded the second place prize of $3,000. Dicus has been a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers since she first enrolled at the University of Maryland in 2012, and last year she was elected president of that organization. She volunteers her time to teach high school girls about the engineering industry, as well as welcome and mentor freshmen students that are new to the program.
Her professors describe her as a strong leader, one with excellent organizational skills and a conscientious nature. In addition to leading the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Dicus is a RISE student leader, which she says gave her the opportunity to expand her leadership skills while giving back to the department by assisting with projects and classes.
“I loved volunteering for these opportunities because I enjoy spreading the word about Fire Protection Engineering,” says Discus. “I do not ever want new students to miss their opportunity to join such a great program just because they have not heard about it…[I] know that I am helping out the department that has already done so much for me.”
The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) established the Philip L. DeCamara, Jr. Scholarship in 1984, to honor a man who used his creative talents during his lifetime to advance the goals of the fire sprinkler industry. Today, the scholarship is sponsored jointly by AFSA and CLSE. The annual scholarship is awarded to students majoring in the fire protection engineering program at the University of Maryland, DeCamara’s alma mater. Both scholarship programs administered by CLSE, the DeCamara scholarship and the Thomas S. Waller Memorial Scholarship for students majoring in fire protection at Oklahoma State University, are funded through donations by individuals and companies. AFSA and CLSE thank those listed in the accompanying tables, who supported the Philip L. DeCamara Jr. Scholarship with their donations in 2014, as well as those who have contributed through the first part of 2015. To find out more about the scholarship programs, or to support these scholarships with your tax-deductible donation, visit CLSE.org.