Madison West Receives De Camara Scholarship

Contributions Support Exceptional Fire Protection Engineers

Each year, the Center for Life Safety Education (CLSE) and the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) come together to award the Philip L. De Camara, Jr. Scholarship, established to honor a man who was dedicated to the fire sprinkler industry. That scholarship awards $3,500 to an exceptional junior or senior studying fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, De Camara’s alma mater. For the 2019-2020 academic year, the recipient is Madison West.

“It really means a lot to me to receive the Philip L. De Camara, Jr. Scholarship,” comments West. “This generous award allows me to focus on my studies and relieves some of the burden of paying for my degree. More importantly, receiving this scholarship validates all of the hard work I’ve put into my past three years at the University of Maryland and shows me that my effort has not gone unnoticed. I am truly honored to receive this award and it motivates me to continue pursuing a career that will have a positive impact on the fire protection industry.”

West is currently a senior at the university and plans to graduate in May 2020. She learned about the School of Fire Protection Engineering when she attended freshman orientation at the Clarke School of Engineering and instantly felt a connection.

“I’ve always been a person who wants to know why things work the way they do. I knew that a career as an engineer fit my personality and would allow me to find a creative way to help people achieve goals. It was surprising to learn that such a focused program existed to make building, equipment, and structures safer for people. It brought to mind one of the country’s worst fire tragedies in history—The Station Nightclub fire occurred just a short drive from my hometown. Growing up, the disaster was reported on television regularly on our local stations. It was an event that changed the community I lived in and made a mark on me and many others who survived, knew people who were injured, and families who lost loved ones. In our small state, The Station Nightclub fire impacted everyone. Knowing that fire protection engineering could make a real difference in people’s lives made it a perfect fit for me.”

West has been very determined and focused throughout her life. She is proud to have earned all As during college while still being very active within the department. She is a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Student Chapter, Engineers Without Borders, Theta Tau professional fraternity, Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, and Salamander Honor Society. She has made the Dean’s List several times and received a Jensen Hughes award and several scholarships.

“Being a part of the SFPE student chapter has been a great learning and networking experience,” West says. “It has given me the opportunity to meet other students in the major as well as professionals in all areas of fire protection. I have especially liked attending company presentations to hear about emerging issues and work prospects within the profession.”

West has also worked within her field as an intern with SFPE, Duke Energy, and Arup. She is also a teaching Fellow with the UMD FPE Department and a tutor for College Park Tutors.

“I have worked on a broad scope of projects at these different internships and each has been a great learning experience.” West states. “Although I am still trying to figure out my career goals, I know I will be able to build on the skills I have developed in these internships.”

West also finds time to be active in intramural sports and plays soccer, ice hockey, basketball, volleyball, and flag football.

“My determination has helped me achieve my goals not only in sports but in school as well. By saying ‘yes’ to any opportunity that comes my way I get to try a lot of new things and have incredible experiences,” says West.

West’s professors highly recommended her for the De Camara scholarship, noting she is “best one of the top students in the program and is a strongly motivated student with excellent technical and leadership skills” and she “takes on challenges and has a lot of ambition. I’m looking forward to seeing her continue to grow in the fire protection field.”

Philip L. De Camara, Jr.

Funding the Future of Fire Protection The Philip L. De Camara Jr. Memorial Fund was established in 1984. For over three decades, two scholarships were provided to the FPE department, helping deserving students pursue their FPE goals. Now those students have now joined the work force 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 commit-tee, lead by De Camara’s widow, Terry, that will evaluate each application.

“Madison’s academic achievement and extracurricular involvement illustrate most fully what this scholarship signifies: values such as commitment, hard work and the pursuit of excellence,” comments Terry De Camara. “We were especially impressed with her leadership skills and her passion for the fire protection program.”

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 to 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.

“My husband recognized the importance of the fire protection industry. He knew it was essential to educate future professionals in fire protection engineering who would assume leadership in this field,” Terry re-marks. “My family and I take great pride in this scholarship. Phil’s legacy lives on through the resources provided to students at the University of Maryland who continue to actualize his vision of a dynamic industry. We appreciate the support of AFSA and all donors who contribute to help keep Phil’s memory and dream alive.”

Your tax-deductible donations to the Philip L. De Camara, Jr. Scholarship extend his dedication and will directly support and fund the education of future industry leaders. For more information about the scholarship, its criteria, or to apply, visit

Philip L. De Camara, Jr. &  Thomas S. Waller Scholarship
2018 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 Fire Systems, Inc., Pleasanton, CA
  • Aegis Technologies, Inc., Pottstown, PA
  • 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 Corp., 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, Londonderry, NH
  • Hampshire Fire Protection, Westfield, MA
  • 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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