September 27, 2023

Female Firefighter Pursues Continued Dreams with Scholarship

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.”



  1. Shane Ullom

    As a former chief officer of the department that Wendi currently works at, I know she will have the opportunity to hone her skills and be successful in this career. She has the drive that it takes to be a leader. She wants to help everyone be their best, and pushes her peers to challenge each other. I have no doubt she will excel.

    1. Libby Reilly

      Thank you for your comment, Shane! That is very encouraging and I am sure Wendi will be happy to hear your kind words.

      Libby Reilly
      Communications Coordinator

  2. Chuck Schorr

    We are long overdue for more women having leadership roles in every industry. Wendi already has a reputation of being tough as nails, tenacious and goal oriented.
    If anybody is going to trail blaze a path to more equal gender representation in the rescue service industry it’s going to be her.
    She really good is a good representative for the fire fighting community and the Ohio valley as a whole.

    1. Libby Reilly

      Hi, Chuck. Thank you so much for your comment. We agree! We are proud to have Knights like Wendi and other strong leaders.


      Libby Reilly
      Communications Coordinator

  3. Andrew Locke

    As a fire service instructor in our area I have had the honor of instructing Wendi in a few courses. There’s not a doubt in my mind this girl has the strength and courage to fill her life goals within this service. From having her in her first ever fire course to currently having her enrolled in one of my courses she pushes herself every day to go further and be better then she was the day before. Failure will never be an option for her. She is a very embishious firefighter and is always willing to help anyone around her no matter what the situation. Much honor and respect for her as she continues everyday to not only better herself and push forward but also always tries to pass skills and knowledge to anyone in need as well as willing to learn from everyone.