Matthew Benton – Atlanta Fire Rescue Scholarship
Matthew Benton of Dallas, Georgia, is the recipient of the 2020 Atlanta Fire Rescue scholarship. Benton has worked in the fire service for 19 years and is looking forward to completing his degree in order to shape his leadership skills.
“Being able to complete this process would help open up doors within our department for continued professional development and allow me to give back to a department that has helped shape me,” he said.
Benton has also volunteered at Camp Breathe Easy for the last 10 years, a medically supportive camp for Georgia children with asthma.
“I have been volunteering as a camp counselor and on the camp’s year-round leadership and planning committee,” he said. “I feel that by helping to facilitate a summer camp experience for medically fragile children is making a difference in our community.”
He will use this scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fire science.
Jacqueline Lopez-Papadatos – C.O.P.S. Scholarship
Jacqueline Lopez-Papadatos of Wayne, New Jersey, is the recipient of the CSU Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) scholarship. Lopez-Papadatos lost her husband five years. She spent 12 years teaching history but soon after her husband’s death, she had to leave her career because of her own health issues. Now she is ready to enter the workforce again and show her children what it is like to get back up after you fall down.
“I have wanted to go back to school for some time now so I can completely change my line of work,” she said. “I want to show my children that although life has knocked me down, I never gave up. I believe it provides a lasting example that will help them formulate their goals in life.”
Witnessing her husband’s terminal illness for three years and being with him for the eight months he spent in the hospital opened her eyes to the world of health care. This experience has now allowed her to explore a career in health care.
“I will never forget the kindness and compassion I received from certain doctors, nurses, patient care associates, therapists and palliative care. But I will also never forget those who did not show empathy or compassion,” she said. “I know what it is like to sit in a waiting room in a hospital, waiting to speak to someone to get an update on my loved one. I am confident that anything I do in the health care field will be full of love, compassion and first-hand experience.”
Lopez-Papadatos is considering a master’s degree in organizational leadership.
Tiffany Treusch – Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship
Tiffany Treusch of Wahaiwa, Hawaii, is the recipient of the Hero Behind the Hero scholarship. Her husband, an active duty gunnery sergeant in the Marines, is a current CSU student.
“Once my husband started on his courses and realized that the school was military friendly, I was interested. I cannot describe what it is like to have a school that understands our lifestyle and the challenges we face,” she said. “It eases your mind when you are all of a sudden told you will be moving and you have to put your school on hold for a few weeks and your advisor just swings into action to handle what you need. The understanding and commitment to your students is what I tell others when I suggest they attend Columbia Southern University.”
Treusch’s goal is to begin a career in human resources with the VA hospitals.
“I feel that there is a need for understanding between the employees of the VA and the people whom they treat. I want to help bridge the gap of expectations between the VA and the employees,” she said. “I seek the ability to take the business structure of the hospitals and work with the organization to find and support employees that share my passion in taking care of those that have served.”
Treusch will pursue her MBA in human resource management.
Glenda Bryant – CSU Fire Scholarship
Glenda Bryant of Jackson, Mississippi, is the latest recipient of the CSU Fire scholarship. Bryant has big goals for her fire career. The next promotion on her sights is lieutenant, followed by captain.
“A safety degree allows me to give those around me and those I teach the best version of myself. They will obtain better skills and knowledge because I will have obtained the skills and knowledge to effectively teach them. The more knowledge I obtain, the more effectively I can relate that knowledge to the people around me,” she said.
Last year, Bryant developed a program called 12 Under Your Wings (12 Wings), which teaches children safety when walking or staying home alone, CPR, and other resources. She hopes to have 12 Wings programs in communities across Mississippi in the next year.
“12 Wings is a blessing to me and it is very dear to my heart. The program took a year to research and put together. There is a need for the program in many of our communities,” she said. “During the last several years, we’ve had too many children dying and getting hurt from accidents that could have been prevented. If all children know how to effectively care for themselves while spending time alone, more lives will be saved and fewer accidents will occur.”
She will pursue a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health with a concentration in fire science.
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.