NFPA Awards Scholarships To Students In Fire Safety

Quincy, MA – Three students have been selected to receive scholarships from the Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), based on their academic achievement, leadership qualities, commitment to volunteerism and pursuit of careers in fire safety.

Bonnie Bleskachek, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration at Southwest Minnesota State University, was awarded the Memorial Fund’s most recently designated scholarship – the George D. Miller Scholarship – established in 2002. The scholarship was created in tribute to NFPA’s former president and chief executive officer. Bleskachek has held leadership positions in the Minneapolis Fire Department, including captain, chief of training, and battalion chief. She is founder and past president of the Minnesota Women Firefighters Association. The Miller Scholarship provides assistance to students in fire service or public administration programs in the United States or Canada.

Stephen I. Kerber, a volunteer firefighter who is studying for his master’s degree in fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland, was awarded the John J. Jablonsky Scholarship, which aids graduate students in fire protection engineering programs in the United States and Canada. Kerber has volunteered with the College Park Volunteer Fire Department since his freshman year at Maryland and was promoted to captain after a short period of time. The Jablonsky Scholarship is named in honor of John L. Jablonsky, an insurance company executive who served on the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, held numerous positions with NFPA including Standards Council chair, and received NFPA’s highest honor, the Paul C. Lamb Award, in 1987.

The David B. Gratz Scholarship, established for students enrolled in fire science or engineering programs outside the United States or Canada, was awarded to Fiona Suk-chong Tsui, who is studying for a PhD in building services engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Tsui is a senior engineer with a Hong Kong engineering consulting company and is coordinating a consultancy project on fire codes in Hong Kong. The Gratz Scholarship honors the fire chief in Maryland who was instrumental in initiating the fire science program at Montgomery College, where he served as an adjunct professor. Gratz was NFPA’s first executive director for international operations, serving in the position for 22 years.

A committee appointed by NFPA’s board of directors selected the scholarship recipients. Each scholarship is $5,000.

Contributions to the Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund also support four additional scholarships for fire service graduate students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Quincy College, University of Maryland, and Oklahoma State University. These scholarship recipients are selected by their educational institutions.

Applications for NFPA scholarships and contributions to the Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund can be sent to NFPA Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund, Attention: Christine Ellis, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471; phone: (617) 984-7244, Fax: (617) 770-7222.

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