NFPA awards scholarships to fire safety students

July 30, 2014 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund Committee awarded scholarships to four extraordinary fire safety students who have demonstrated strong leadership potential, exhibited academic achievement, and who have contributed to fire safety activities. The scholarships are awarded each year to recognize students for their pursuit of careers in fire safety.

Brian E. Elias, a Ph.D. candidate in Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), is the recipient of the John L. Jablonsky Scholarship. When he was 19, he was elected to the position of company president for a local ambulance service. This, Elias said, was one of the most challenging roles he has ever taken up. At WPI, he was given the opportunity to work as a research assistant on a project that involved evaluating the safety of portable gasoline containers. His construction of an apparatus and test procedure that could evaluate the performance of flame-arresting devices installed on portable gasoline containers was featured on NBC News Investigation. He hopes to pursue a career as a professor of fire science. The John L. Jablonsky Scholarship is awarded to recognize the growth of fire science and fire engineering programs.

Richard L. Emberley, for the second time in a row, is the recipient of the David B. Gratz Scholarship. He is a Ph.D. student in fire safety engineering at The University of Queensland and is working on understanding modern structural systems exposed to fire. Emberley graduated as a Civil Engineer from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with high distinction and completed an M.Sc. in fire protection engineering and a second one in civil engineering. He continued to show his leadership qualities when he was the president of the ASCE Student Association and vice president of the WPI Music Association. His long-term career goal is to be involved in 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.

Catherine Hamel, a second-time recipient of the Arthur E. Cote Scholarship, is a senior at University of Maryland. She joined the fire protection department 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, she has been involved with departmental 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. Hamel has taken on multiple leadership positions, excelled in academics and still found time to give back to the greater College Park community. She plans to pursue a career in fire investigation and analysis. The Arthur E. Cote Sholarship 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.

Meredith Hawes, the recipient of the George D. Miller Scholarship, is pursuing a master’s of science degree in public administration at Central Michigan University and is the Fire and Safety Public Educator at Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department. She is currently aiding her department in a study to determine the feasibility of merging their combination department with their city’s full time, professional department. Hawes embarked on a mission to create a Risk Watch Coalition for youth in her area and received the Michigan Public Educator of the Year Award for that program. Her future goal is the pursuit of a City Manager or Assistant City Manager position. 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.

For additional information regarding NFPA scholarship program, please contact Melinda Collins at +1 617 984-7234.

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