Five years ago, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Foundation created the Family Scholarship Fund to give spouses and children of workplace tragedies a chance to continue their education.
This year's recipients of $10,000 scholarships are Lindsey Pinkerton of Crete, Neb. and Samantha Wooten of Belmont, NH.
“We want to encourage people to continue their plans of earning a strong education following a devastating workplace incident involving a family member,” said ASSE Foundation Chair Dave Crowley, CSP, CHMM, STS, in a statement. “Life understandably gets derailed during such difficult times, and we are committed to helping where we can.”
The hardship suffered by families affected by a workplace tragedy can’t be understated, the ASSE says. The goal of the education scholarships is to help reduce the financial impact of a loved one not returning home from work.
Pinkerton is an undergraduate student studying art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was eight when her father died in a car crash at work.
“He showed me how to look at the world through the eyes of an artist,” Pinkerton said in her application. “He made me a priority and set me up for success," Pinkerton said. "So when he died, I made a conscious decision to continue to include him in my life. I’ve used the skills he taught me to express how I felt, and it made the hurt tangible and more approachable. Now I’m learning to help others unload the heavy weight of grief.”
The second recipient, Wooten, is a graduate student pursuing a degree in forensic psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. She has been an instrument of awareness and advocacy for occupational safety since her father, a public works employee, was killed on the job in 2016.
“I received a phone call that would forever change my life, my mother’s life, my brother’s life, my daughter’s life, and the lives of everyone who loved my dad,” she said in her application. “I try day-in and day-out to give my father a voice and help ensure this type of incident doesn’t happen to another person. I also want to build the best life possible for me and my 6-year-old daughter. Putting an emphasis on education is a great way to do that.”
The ASSE Foundation’s Family Scholarship Fund was spearheaded in 2013 by John Henshaw, former OSHA assistant secretary of labor.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and should be completed online. Applicants must be a full-time or part-time student at a university, community college or trade/vocational school.
The ASSE Foundation’s Board of Trustees reviews all applications and determines the recipients of the $10,000 scholarships.