NFPA awards scholarships to fire safety students

July 15, 2013 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund Committee awarded scholarships to four exceptional fire safety students who have exhibited academic excellence and contributed to fire safety activities, academic achievements and leadership abilities. The scholarships are awarded each year to recognize students for their pursuit of careers in fire safety.

Catherine Hamel, the recipient of the Arthur E. Cote Scholarship, is a junior at the University of Maryland. She joined the fire protection department last spring and developed interest in the field due to its prospect of saving lives by utilizing engineering tactics and technology. Over the past year and a half, Hamel has been involved with department research, activities and scholarship. Her work has included a research of stovetop fires as part of a student team and she has been actively working with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. She plans to pursue a career in fire investigation and analysis. This scholarship was established in 2006 in honor of Cote’s retirement from the NFPA and is awarded to recognize and offer support for undergraduate students pursuing careers in fire protection engineering.

Justin Beal is the recipient of the George D. Miller Scholarship. He is currently pursuing a master’s of public administration at Columbia Southern University. He has obtained a bachelor’s degree in fire science and is currently a supervising fire prevention inspector with the City of Fresno Fire Department. Beal has many certificates from the California State Board of Fire Services and also attended the United States National Fire Academy for the past six years, taking several resident courses. In order to continue his development and broaden his impact in the fire service, he hopes to become a fire marshal for his next career step. The George D. Miller Scholarship was established in honor of the former NFPA president and CEO and is awarded to students in fire service or public administration programs.

Christine Pongratz, a senior in the Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) program at the University of Maryland, is the recipient of the John L. Jablonsky Scholarship. Pongratz will be working as an FPE graduate student starting in June. She was the president of the Salamander FPE Honorary Society and has also contributed to community service events and departmental services via her role as student ambassador. Her role entailed educating, presenting and inspiring prospective students to join the fire protection engineering community. Pongratz has interest in performance-based design and smoke management, and would like to pursue these areas during graduate school. The John L. Jablonsky Scholarship is awarded to recognize the growth of fire science and fire engineering programs.

Richard Emberley is the recipient of the David B. Gratz Scholarship. He is a Ph.D. student in fire safety engineering at The University of Queensland working on understanding modern structural systems exposed to fire. Emberley graduated as a Civil Engineer from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and completed an M.Sc. in fire protection engineering and a second one in civil engineering. He has been committed to learning, excellence and volunteerism. His long-term career goal is to be involved in the fire protection engineering research, consulting and/or teaching at the college level. Emberley desires to obtain appropriate licensing and certification as a professional engineer. The David B. Gratz scholarship is awarded to recognize the growth of fire science and fire engineering programs.

For additional information regarding NFPA scholarship program, please contact Christine Ellis at +1 617 984-7244 or

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275