Story by Alisha Kempher, Contributing writer
The American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation (ASSE) awarded 106 occupational safety and health students across the United States scholarships this month. Eleven of those students are from Murray State, which is the highest amount of scholarships given to one university this year.
Murray State has an ASSE student chapter that encourages members to apply, which is how many of the recipients heard about the scholarship opportunities.
Kelly Mehner, senior from Waterloo, Illinois, received a scholarship from the ASSE Foundation for the second consecutive year. She is the secretary for the ASSE student chapter and leads the community service committee.
“We always mention it to the students to apply,” Mehner said. “We highly encourage it because it is so much money.”
Both Mehner and Luke Whitmore, senior from Shepherdsville, Kentucky, said the scholarship money was going toward their student loans.
Students must have a transcript from every college they have attended, an academic letter of recommendation, a GPA of 3.0 during their undergraduate studies and have attained 60 credit hours to be considered for the ASSE scholarships, according to the requirements outlined on the ASSE website.
“I think we are producing well-involved safety professionals,” Mehner said. “Other schools match our academics, but I feel like our students are more involved.”
Whitmore said OSH students need to see what they enjoy because ASSE has so many different committees like research and community service.
He said the best way to get involved is “just going to meetings, signing up for committees and seeing what their interests are.”
Mehner said the ASSE chapter worked on raising money this year to create a scholarship for OSH majors.
“We raised money, and we are actually giving it back to the foundation,” said Mehner.
Last year, the Murray State chapter won the Outstanding Student Section Award and received $6,000 to help fund research and scholarships. A student accepted the award on behalf of the group in Dallas at the 2015 Safety Conference.
Companies come to Murray State to recruit prospective OSH students for jobs and various internship opportunities. Mehner said.
“They are asking questions like, ‘What leadership roles have you stepped into’ and ‘What have you done,’” she said.
Kristen Spicer, associate professor in the Occupational Safety and Health Department, said the program has become more competitive since 2014 because students have to apply to get into the OSH program and go through a review process. Students must have a GPA of at least 2.5, completed 30 credit hours towards an OSH degree and have an average grade of a C or above in all attempted OSH courses.
“It is competitive because we are producing top professionals” Mehner said. “If you don’t step up and get involved, it’s going to be hard and you will get lost in the crowd.”