FSSA Educational Foundation 2021-2022 Scholarship Recipients

Each year, the Foundation provides financial support to outstanding young students connected with the fire protection industry to help them meet their ever-rising cost of a college education. The FSSA Educational Foundation is pleased to announce the following recipients of scholarships for 2021 - 2022:

  • $3,000 scholarship in the name of Chuck Hooper - Elliot Paisner, University of Maryland
  • $3,000 scholarship in the name of Jim Boyer - Jacob Witlin, University of Maryland, College Park
  • $2,000 scholarship in the name of Bernie Bischoff - Andrew Tivadar, University of New Haven
  • $1,500 scholarship - Patrick Ethier, University of New Haven
  • $1,500 scholarship - Jose Salgado, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
  • $1,000 scholarship - Mastour Alharbi, University of New Haven
  • $1,000 scholarship - Elijah Clements, Eastern Kentucky University
  • $1,000 scholarship - Gavin Sanders, Eastern Kentucky University
  • $1,000 scholarship - Rebekah Schrader, University of Maryland
  • $1,000 scholarship - Alireza Taghvaei, Seneca College (Newnham Campus)
  • $1,000 scholarship - Leonardo Vargas, Eastern Kentucky University

More about our Winners . . .

$3,000 Scholarship in the name of Chuck Hooper
Elliot Paisner, University of Maryland

Elliot M. Paisner II, from Atlanta Georgia, is an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor OA member majoring in Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park in the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Paisner is a 3rd-generation volunteer firefighter by serving and volunteering with College Park Volunteer Fire Department in Prince Georges County. He is a student member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers Greater Atlanta Chapter, having served on the GAC Conference Committee in 2021. Paisner has an interest in fire service history. He has authored articles for the National Fire Heritage Center on pioneers in fire protection, as well as a column for the Society for the Preservation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus of America titled "Tales from the Hose Cart Barn".

Paisner’s service to others outside of the classroom can be directly seen by examining his extracurricular activities. He currently serves as the Lodge Chief of Egwa Tawa Dee Lodge, of the Atlanta Area Council, Order of the Arrow. In this role he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of more than 650 members of Scouting’s National Honor Society in Atlanta, Georgia providing leadership and service with the heart of a servant. In addition to his service with the OA, Paisner serves as a mentor to many younger scouts providing leadership, support, and opportunities to them. Similar to those that he received as a youth. Paisner discovered fire protection engineering (FPE) through one of his greatest mentors, Mr. Tom Gardner of Harrington Group Inc. while a student in high school and has devoted his life’s work and studies to becoming the best possible FPE he can.

After completing his B.S. in Fire Protection Engineering, Paisner would like to pursue his M.S. also in Fire Protection Engineering. Following the completion of his graduate studies, he would like to enter the field of fire protection with an open heart and mind providing fire protection to groups that oftentimes do not have a voice in this world, such as people with special needs. Paisner intends to give back to the fire protection community, the same way that others did for him. Paisner would especially like to thank the countless numbers of mentors, advisors, and advocates that he has had thus far in his fire protection journey for their time and dedication to shaping him into who he is as well as his parents and family who have supported his journey into fire protection. Most especially, Paisner wishes to thank the Fire Suppression Systems Association as without scholarships and support like this, it would be difficult for him to pursue his dreams.

$3,000 Scholarship in the name of Jim Boyer
Jacob Witlin, University of Maryland, College Park

Jacob Witlin is a rising junior at the University of Maryland, College Park. Currently enrolled at the A. James Clark School of Engineering majoring in Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) with a minor in Nuclear Engineering and also minoring in Global Terrorism.

Over the summer Jacob interned for the DOD in the Installations and Logistics Department utilizing some of the things learned studying FPE. This coming year Jacob is looking forward to serving as an FPE Ambassador. Jacob also actively participates with Engineers Without Borders, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and UMD Club Rugby. Jacob enjoys working with others and finding myself on teams where everyone contributes and has opportunity to learn from each other. He is looking forward to returning to in person classes and activities.

Jacob would like to thank the FSSA for recognizing him with this scholarship and the support. This is not just an award for what has been accomplished but more an investment in my his future and your support of him and his academic goals is very much appreciated.

 $2,000 Scholarship in the name of Bernie Bischoff
Andrew Tivadar, University of New Haven

Andrew Tivadar is currently a junior at the University of New Haven. He initially enrolled at UNH as a Civil Engineering major, but shortly after starting his second year, he found the Fire Protection engineering program. Andrew was inspired to change his major because of his fantastic experiences in the fire service as a volunteer firefighter with the Long Hill Fire Department. Andrew joined the department in December of 2017. During his tenure with the department he has obtained both Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certifications.

Andrew is concurrently working for SPARC Fire Protection as a fire protection consultant, where he is able to gain invaluable experiences in his career field every single day. In the future he plans to obtain his FE license and eventually his PE license in Fire Protection Engineering.
In his  free time he enjoys exploring the outdoors and camping. Andrew also enjoys repairing small engines and working on all types of cars and trucks.

 $1,500 Scholarship
Patrick Ethier, University of New Haven

Patrick Ethier is a senior Fire Protection Engineering student at the University of New Haven from Watervliet, New York. 

Patrick serves as a co-chair of the Fire Science Club Barbecue Committee, is a Charger Day Host for the University Admissions Department, and a Peer Tutor in Fire Protection Fluids for the Center for Learning Resources. 

Patrick is currently an Intern Engineer at RAN Fire Protection Engineering, P.C. in Albany, New York. Over the past two summers, he has had the opportunity to be involved in many different projects to enhance his Fire Protection Engineering knowledge.

In efforts to continue to save lives and protect property, Patrick plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Fire Protection Engineering and continue his work in the fire protection consulting industry with RAN post-graduation.

In his free time, Patrick serves his community as a volunteer firefighter at Shaker Road Loudonville Fire Department in Loudonville, New York. He also enjoys grilling and smoking meats to share with his friends and family.

 $1,500 Scholarship
Jose Salgado, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Jose's passion for being a fire protection engineer dates back to his pre -professional days, developing his skills in order to understand and learn more about the fire engineering behind the NFPA codes. Jose has developed water-based fire protection projects for important companies that were approved by insurance companies such as Global Risk Consultants and FM global. Jose decided to pursue a master's degree in fire protection engineering considering his passion for developing hydraulic calculations, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. These skills have helped him develop a better analysis of hazards and expand his knowledge about fire protection systems.  After finishing his masters program he would like to be part of a research program on water based fire suppression systems.

 $1,000 Scholarship
Mastour Alharbi, University of New Haven

 Bio coming soon!






$1,000 Scholarship
Elijah Clements, Eastern Kentucky University

Bio and headshot coming soon!

$1,000 Scholarship
Gavin Sanders, Eastern Kentucky University

Bio and headshot coming soon! 

 $1,000 Scholarship
Rebekah Schrader, University of Maryland

Bekah Schrader is a rising senior at the University of Maryland studying fire protection engineering and minoring in global engineering leadership. She is originally from Western Michigan. For the past three summers, Bekah has been a Fire Safety Research Intern at UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute, where she will be continuing as an intern throughout the upcoming school year. In her role, she has worked on various literature reviews, helped with large-scale experiments, and has focused on wildland-urban interface fire research. 

At school, Bekah is an ambassador for the Department of Fire Protection Engineering, a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, and was part of the FLEXUS Women in Engineering Living and Learning Program. She is currently part of the A. James Clark School of Engineering RISE Leadership Academy, through which she has conducted wildland-urban interface research on campus and co-hosted a virtual engineering summer camp for high school girls. Bekah also participated in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering Sophomore Research Experience. Finally, she is a community plant leader and servant team leader for Cru, a campus ministry at the University of Maryland.

 $1,000 Scholarship
Alireza Taghvaei, Seneca College (Newnham Campus)

Alireza Taghvaei  is a third year Fire Protection Engineering Technology student at Seneca College Newnham campus. I previously graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing in 2016 from York University and worked as a Registered Nurse at a major hospital here in Richmond Hill, Ontario. In 2019, I left my career as a Registered Nurse and decided to pursue an education and career in Fire Protection, with the original intention of using my nursing skills as an asset in becoming a fire fighter and first responder. However, my new passions in this new field of study include writing fire safety plans and designing residential/commercial sprinkler systems. My end career goal is to secure a position in the insurance industry as an insurance risk manager, or to obtain a position in the Toronto fire department as a Fire Prevention Officer. Special thanks to all my professors for their continued support and inspiration.

 $1,000 Scholarship
Leonardo Vargas, Eastern Kentucky University

Leonardo is currently a freshman at Eastern Kentucky University majoring in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology. Initially, Leonardo considered going into firefighting, but after an on-campus visit, he learned the diverse fire programs at EKU had more to offer him. He was furthermore impressed by the professors, resources, and college environment available to him. He is new to the fire industry and is eager to learn and become active on campus. As an out-of-state student, he will be greatly aided by this scholarship to succeed in his upcoming years of study and development.


View Past Recipients