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Double Scholarship Recipient Marches Full Steam Ahead into the Fire Protection Arena

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Double Scholarship Recipient Marches Full Steam Ahead into the Fire Protection Arena


Katherine McKee, a Senior majoring in Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) and minoring in Technology Entrepreneurship, is a busy woman. McKee was recently informed that she is the 2017 recipient of both the Sarah Bryan Scholarship and the Philip De Camara Jr. Memorial Award, offered by the American Fire Sprinkler Association. She was selected not only for her high marks in the classroom, but also for her extensive list of extracurricular activities, which include mentoring incoming freshmen via the UMD Ambassador Program, working as a teaching assistant, and collaborating with startup companies through the UMD Hinman CEO’s Program

“I fell in love with problem solving by working in my father's automotive shop – it was during that time that I decided I wanted to be an engineer. I ultimately decided to major in FPE because, as cliché as it may sound, I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. FPE is perfect for me because it allows me to protect lives and problem solve at the same time,” said McKee. “I decided to pursue a business minor because the field is rapidly advancing and I believe that a diversified education will help me excel in an interdisciplinary environment for the future.”

McKee’s dream is to have an international consulting career, and she began chasing this ambition last summer while interning with ARUP in their London office. This summer, she is applying both her business background and FPE experience at Hilti where she is working as a technical field engineering intern to analyze and advance the firestop market.

Later this month, McKee will break from her work at Hilti to attend the Global Grand Challenges Summit – the third and final meeting in the Summit series – to be held July 18-20 in Washington D.C. Hundreds of scientists and academics from the U.S.A., the U.K. and China will gather together to address the critically important engineering challenges and opportunities facing humanity. The Clark School Dean, Darryll Pines, selected McKee to represent UMD at the Summit.

Somehow McKee, originally from Frederick, Maryland, still finds time to spend with her family, which is usually where she is when not hitting the books, traveling, or volunteering with FPE.

“I am incredibly grateful for the support that both my family and FPE ‘family’ have provided me,” McKee said. “I sincerely thank Joan Bryan and Terry DeCamara for seeing potential in my future. I have my work cut out for me to live up to their legacy, but I’m excited to give it my all in my senior year and dedicate myself to the advancement of the fire protection field!”

Where will all this education, inside the classroom and out, lead? McKee says she’s still exploring her options, but that she is incredibly excited for the future. Wherever she may land, this FPE scholar is sure to make a profound impact.

July 7, 2017


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