Patricia Connolly, a 19-year fire service veteran, is the recipient of Columbia Southern University’s Women in Fire scholarship. Connolly, the fire captain in Bend, Oregon, says she this scholarship will allow her to pursue a master’s degree in emergency services management.
“Without this scholarship, it would be very challenging to attain a master’s degree at this point in my life,” she said. “During my career, I have made it a priority to continually improve myself through tactical and academic classes and programs. Earning a master’s degree in emergency service management is a key component to my executive and educational development, as well as an important piece to assist in my goal to promote to a chief officer position in the near future.”
Connolly recently graduated from the Executive Fire Officers (EFO) program at the National Fire Academy.
“The EFO program was academically challenging, but it gave me the opportunity to see the fire industry from different angles and broader perspectives,” she said. “I immensely enjoyed the challenge of the EFO program, and the experience solidified my desire to continue my formal education.”
Connolly’s five-year goals include moving up in the ranks and achieving a chief officer position one day.
“I have worked at this department for 19 years and have been the only line female firefighter. I have [been] promoted up the ranks, holding the positions of firefighter, engineer, captain and acting in capacity battalion chief,” she said. “I am committed to being promoted into management and leadership roles to shape the future of my fire department and the fire industry as a whole.”
Columbia Southern University and Women in Fire, formerly known as iWomen, collaborate each year to award a scholarship to one of their members every year. The scholarship awards up to 60 credit hours in one online degree program.