Ella Rhodes of Chardon, Ohio, was recently awarded the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship. Rhodes works as a part-time volunteer firefighter and a full-time 911 dispatcher for Hambden Fire Department in Hambden Township, Ohio.
“Since I was young, I always saw my father leaving the house with his radio and running hot to calls,” Rhodes said. “I grew up knowing that he was going to help someone on one of the worst days of their life. I grew up with a hero to look up to. When I reached high school, I realized I wanted to be that person. For the person who needs help, for my family, for my future kids and for me.”
With this scholarship, Rhodes plans to pursue an associate degree in emergency medical services.
“I plan on being the first in my family to obtain a degree as my parents did not go to any universities or colleges. My overall goal is to obtain my associate degree in EMS and fire science and eventually obtain my bachelor’s degrees in both fields as well. By obtaining these degrees, I will be able to teach new recruits and indirectly save even more people.”
Jonathan Cervantes of Bell, California, has been named the 2022 Knight Scholarship recipient. He currently works as a welder for the city of Los Angeles.
“The city I work for has made safety their highest priority, and I would like to be a part of the push to make our city a safer place to work and live,” he said. “Obtaining a degree from this program would allow me to help make my work environment a safer place as well as allow me to take care of my body, along with helping my community by contributing what I know to assist them.”
Cervantes plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health.
“The degree program I have chosen would allow me the opportunity to advance into that section with the possibility of promoting from within to management positions and policy implementation. Once I have settled into a new role, I would like to pursue a master’s degree. This would further open doors for me professionally and personally,” he said. “Seeking my degree at this time in my life is not easy, but I feel it is necessary for me to do to better the life of my family and the community in which I live. This scholarship means the world to me.”
Katelyn Sayre of Clarksville, Tennessee, was selected as the 2022 Safety Scholarship recipient. Sayre works as a wastewater operator for Hankook and Company.
“I work a low-level industrial job. It’s one thing to read about the implementation of an effective safety culture in a theoretical factory,” she said. “It’s another thing to be immersed in the dynamics of a factory at the lowest organizational level, and to hear in real-time how corporate decisions are reacted to by line workers without any fear of reprisal.”
Sayre plans to use this scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health.
“I have been trying to attend college every fall for 10 years only to realize the finances are going to be too tight yet again to commit to the semester’s high cost. The financial assistance from this scholarship could mean that I never again have to unenroll from classes,” said Sayre.
Laila Saleh of Lawndale, California, has been awarded the CSU Learning Partner Scholarship. Saleh works as a communications operator for South Bay Regional Public Communications Authority.
“As a communications operator of nearly nine years, I have heard and dispatched a multitude of calls from small disputes to officer involved shootings and everything in between. Some calls become routine, and some can affect me personally no matter how hard I try,” she said. “I want to make changes in my workplace and beyond to make sure wellness becomes a primary focus for employees and their families, especially when employees are constantly faced with traumatic phone and radio calls.”
With this scholarship, Saleh plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in emergency services management.
“These personal and professional experiences led me to want to pursue higher education with the MPA, primarily focusing on emergency services, so I can explore my options with management roles and hopefully create a wellness program that any agency could use. I believe a program like this would help improve overall personnel wellness and mental health management.”
Eddie Cripps of Castalian Springs, Tennessee, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Criminal Justice Scholarship. Cripps is a 24-year law enforcement veteran.
“Now, from an education standpoint, I want to continue to grow and give back to my community. I have been given a life and opportunity with a testimony that resonates with so many people,” said Cripps. “It is my responsibility to use this opportunity fully as a tool to help others. Helping others is something that I have established throughout the course of my career and will continue to do as I progress forward personally and professionally.”
Cripps plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration.
“When considering a program of choice, no matter the program of choice, it allows for a specific foundation to build upon. My undergraduate was criminal justice and public administration. I can clearly see how the above obstacles and benefits have an influence in preparing me for the pathway ahead. It is my responsibility to use these experiences to affect the influence I may have upon a subject matter, go the distance and build opportunities for others.”
To learn more about CSU’s scholarship opportunities, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Scholarships.