Bekah Schrader is a Research Engineer at the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), part of UL Research Institutes.
Graduate Fellow Prepares to Join FSRI as Research Engineer

From a very young age, Rebekah Schrader had a passion for fire safety that stemmed from her father’s career as a firefighter. She always knew she wanted to pursue a career in fire safety and expected graduate school to be a big part of her journey.

In 2019, while studying Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), Bekah became a research intern with the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), part of UL Research Institutes. Her research started out focusing on fire service-oriented projects, but the following summer in 2020, her research shifted to focusing on wildland urban interface (WUI) environments and involved working on literature reviews and assisting with bench and large-scale experiments. She quickly developed a strong interest in the topic.

After returning each of the following summers for additional internships, Bekah earned her bachelor’s degree in Fire Protection Engineering in 2022. The research she participated in as an intern inspired her to apply to the FSRI fellowship program to further expand her WUI research at the graduate level.

“I’ve learned so much from my time at FSRI. The opportunities for professional growth are limitless and being able to contribute my research to the understanding of WUI environments has been a huge role in my academic career” said Bekah.

Research for her graduate degree is just nearing its end as she wraps up her time as a fellow, and Bekah has developed her knowledge about the WUI fire world, both in the classroom and in the field. She is currently studying the radiative heat transfer and failure modes of different types of window assemblies when exposed to heat from a radiant panel. She works with two mentors who guide and advise her through her graduate research – Gavin Horn, Research Engineer at FSRI, and Dr. Shuna Ni, Assistant Professor at UMD.

“Structure hardening is a key strategy to help mitigate building destruction during WUI fires. Windows have specifically been identified as a vulnerable part of a building. This research will hopefully help us to understand what types of windows could keep structures safer in the event of a WUI fire.” said Bekah.

Bekah defended her thesis, “Experimental Study of Heat Transfer through Window Assemblies Under External Heat Flux: in April. She will earn a master’s in Fire Protection Engineering in May and join the FSRI team as a research engineer.