Steve Lemming of Saginaw, Texas, has been announced as the Cecile A. Christison Sterrett College Scholar for Spring 2013.
“I am very excited and honored to be chosen as the College Scholar,” said Steve. “I’m grateful to those who selected me to represent the program.”
Steve is a Lieutenant for the Azle Fire Department, Azle, Texas, serving as the department’s Training Officer and EMS Administration Officer. He also works part-time as a paramedic with Six Flags Over Texas and with Medcor Health Services at the Dallas Convention Center.
“I grew up in a service oriented family with a grandfather and two uncles in the fire service, and a mother who is now retired as a nurse. My emergency service began as a fire service Explorer, a program under the oversight of the Boy Scouts of America. I began at age 15 with the Addison, Texas, Fire Department in 1984. I went on to serve as an Explorer, Volunteer, and Reserve with several Texas fire departments,” Steve said.
In order to apply to the Dallas Fire Department, Steve had to earn at least 45 semester hours of college credit. He began classes in 1987, but continued to struggle in the academic classroom, much as he had in primary and secondary school. His first semester was, as he said, “unsuccessful.” But he had a dream, and he refused to give up on that dream, and a year later he enrolled once again.
“In the fall of 1988 I was ready to begin. I found that I enjoyed academic learning for the first time. I attributed my newfound interest to pursuing my dream career,” he said. Years later, as he began to pursue the BGS degree, “while the fire service and emergency medical services remained my primary goal, I found other areas of interest as well. I enjoyed psychology and human resources courses, as well as courses in marriage and family, the arts and humanities. One semester of jogging for health and wellness provided much needed stress relief.
“My academic interests today focus on personal and professional development through the fire and EMS service while taking a well rounded approach to meeting the complex needs of those we serve and work alongside. I feel that this is best accomplished by taking the human aspects of needs, motivations, and the environment into consideration. I find the managerial and leadership aspects of my chosen career to be fascinating.”
Steve is looking forward to attending Commencement in what will be only his second time in Illinois.
“I look forward to seeing the campus firsthand, although it seems strange to visit for the first time and graduate in the same trip! I look forward to meeting those who have helped me through the program and to catch a little of the spirit of the University. WIU has been such an honored institution for so long. I am honored to be among those who graduate from WIU,” said Steve.
To other graduates and students currently in the program, Steve said, “I am proof that a non-traditional student with full time 24 hour shifts, part-time jobs, training, a wife and two children, can do well in the BGS degree program. This program and the University are solid and run by people who care about your success. You should be proud to be part of such a well-respected University program. It was a long process, but very worth it in the end!”