Wendi Wentzell-Cuc is a woman in constant pursuit of her goals. Before joining the fire service, she explored careers in biology and medical lab sciences, serving two years as a county medical examiner in Virginia. During that time, she decided to also take courses to become a firefighter.
Today, she is happily working in the fire industry full-time and is in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health with a concentration in fire science. Her long-term goal is to become the first female fire chief in her area. This may all be possible now that she has been awarded the iWomen Scholarship with CSU. This scholarship is awarded annually by CSU to a member of iWomen, an interactive, non-profit network that provides education, support and advocacy for women in fire service. The scholarship covers up to 60 hours in the recipient’s selected degree program.
For Wendi, this scholarship means the ability to conquer another goal.
“Not only is a fire science degree a necessity to obtain my goal of moving up the ranks and eventually becoming the first female fire chief in our tristate area, it will also provide me with a more solid foundation and greater understanding of the science of fire,” says Wendi. “Knowledge is what powers a great leader.”
She has been a career firefighter for only a few months but has solid goals in place; she looks up to the leadership and seasoned peers at her station to help her reach her full potential.
“In the next five years, I see myself honing my skills as a firefighter and EMT under the guidance of my chief and assistant chief. I look forward to gaining more knowledge from my peers and becoming a better leader with every hour I spend at the station.”
While she has come a long way throughout her career journey, Wendi knows that in order to get to where you want to go, you have to be willing to take the good with the bad.
“The road to success is never paved with smooth asphalt. There are huge walls, downed power lines, and even some hazardous materials along that road. Those detours are life’s experiences. Some will be horrific and some will be heavenly, but they all teach you valuable lessons that ensure arrival to your destination.
“I’ve been on a rocky road for as long as I can remember. I wanted to give up so many times because I didn’t understand how all of these unpleasant situations were meant to get me where I am today. I got hired as a career firefighter at 35, an age is considered ‘too old.’ I somehow made it just in time. Life has taught me to work hard and to never give up on a goal.”