May 30, 2024

August Scholarship Roundup

Jason Kinlaw – Learning Partner Scholarship

Jason Kinlaw of Chesapeake, Virginia, is the recipient of the 2020 Columbia Southern University Learning Partner scholarship. Kinlaw is a member of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, a CSU Learning Partner. He plans to pursue his master’s degree in public administration.

“As an assistant chief and member of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, I have expanded my professional development through certifications and formal education,” he said. “A master’s degree is the next step in my professional development and with the support of the Learning Partner scholarship, I can fulfill my goal of progressing through the ranks toward becoming fire chief.”

Kinlaw previously served as a squad leader in the Army’s Ranger Regiment, a role that prepared him for a wide array of leadership scenarios.

“I learned the foundations of leadership that would mold the rest of my life. I constantly rely on the leadership skills that I developed under the most adverse of conditions and have expanded upon them with education, training and experience,” Kinlaw said. “As a senior firefighter and paramedic, I developed and used critical decision-making and interpersonal skills that oftentimes made the difference between life and death.”

Carol Gaido-Schmidt – Safety Scholarship

Carol Gaido-Schmidt of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, is the recipient of the 2020 CSU Safety scholarship.
Gaido-Schmidt, a nurse, says the COVID-19 pandemic has been eye-opening.

“As a nurse, I understand the need for personal protective equipment. Now I am more aware of its [importance] than ever,” she said. “I think planning/prevention and fast action/mitigation are both essential sides of the same coin under occupational health and safety. We live in a world that can change overnight; we have to be prepared to move quickly.”

Gaido-Schmidt will pursue a master’s degree in occupational safety and health to improve safety within a medical environment.

“All workplaces need a strong safety program to protect workers. My nursing background has given me a unique perspective of the importance of safety and the risk of not following safety precautions.”

Alexa Chialtas – Knight Scholarship

Alexa Chialtas of Eugene, Oregon, is the recipient of the 2020 Knight Scholarship. She will pursue an MBA in human resource management.

“My partner, a professional classical singer, is pursuing his master’s in music,” she said. “I have been working full time on the leadership team for a company that I absolutely love and intend fully to continue there. Receiving this scholarship would liberate me massively.”

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chialtas sees many crucial ways the world of human resources can grow.

“Human resources management is facing massive crises. How can we keep institutions afloat, and how can we rebuild ourselves better? This unprecedented time calls us to remake ourselves through the lens of intersectional praxis,” she says. “As the dust of panic settles and we are left to make critical decisions about individual and corporate identity, it is crucial that we redesign ourselves with the most marginalized person at our center.”

To learn more about CSU’s scholarship offerings, visit

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.