Columbia Southern University, along with the New York Police Department, has named NYPD officers Francis Smillie and Michael Wischhusen as the recipients of the 2022 NYPD Scholarship.
Smillie of Massapequa, New York, plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in information technology at CSU. With this scholarship, he says it is another opportunity to help better not only himself, but his family.
“To continue my education would assist my family immensely, especially my parents who I still take care of today. The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I will not let this opportunity pass by without giving it a shot,” he said.
Smillie is devoted to making a difference in the community, specifically the deaf community, in his role as a police officer.
“Growing up a child of a deaf adult I was tasked with much responsibility,” he said. “When I became a police officer, my skills of being proficient in American Sign Language were used to assist the Deaf community. From events in the Deaf community to assisting a deaf crime victim, I was there to help them understand and communicate. This language proficiency I once thought was a burden on my life quickly became a blessing to many people.”
Wischhusen of Port Washington, New York, plans to pursue a master’s degree in occupational safety and health with this scholarship. Earning a graduate degree has always been a goal of his.
“Education is something that I feel very strongly about because I believe that there is always something new to learn,” he said. “As I get older, I see the importance of the role of the safety officer. Tasks such as ensuring that members have donned their personal protective equipment and air pack to enter the hazardous environments that they will encounter, keeping track of the training and compliance of the volunteer members and proper maintenance of equipment are all paramount in the field. This degree would help me to better understand the laws, rules and regulations that come along with all these situations and more.”
Wischhusen also works as a volunteer firefighter.
“When the call for help arises, I look forward to getting on the truck and helping my neighbors,” he said. “I believe that this has all made a difference in my community, but I also believe that sometimes giving back to the community can be done through simply returning a wave to a child on the sidewalk as the firetruck races to another job. I know this scholarship will help me enhance my service to my community.”
To learn more about CSU’s NYPD Scholarship, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Scholarships.