NSPF Awards Scholarships, Fellowships

Colorado Springs, Colo.—The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) has awarded $12,000 in scholarships and $4,000 in fellowships for 2018. Each year, NSPF provides scholarships and fellowships that support both pioneering research in the field of aquatics and the continued education of young aquatics professionals or their immediate family members. This year’s recipients represent some of the brightest and most promising applicants in a competitive pool.

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The mission of the NSPF Scholarship Program is to honor public swimming pool or spa operators who have pursued further education to better protect public health by achieving the NSPF Certified Pool/Spa Operator (CPO) certification status. Supporting the education of active CPO Certification holders, NSPF Instructors, and their families protects the career stability and longevity of our service professionals, ensuring that their call to safeguard public health isn’t threatened by financial concerns. Whether awarded to an industry professional or to that person’s child or spouse, NSPF operates the Scholarship Program as way to give back.

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Amanda Bowden of Appalachian State University, Sydney Panetta of the University of Georgia, and Jada Pemberton of Emory University are the recipients of the three $2,000 NSPF Board Scholarships awarded in 2018. Additional NSPF Scholarships of $1,000 each went to Julianna Carl of Westmont College, Emily Garde of Arizona State University, Austin Ringquist of the University of Arizona, Andrew Santillo of Georgia State University, Harry Sheppard of the University of Southern Florida, and Daniel Viboch of the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Scholarship applicants were asked to propose the most effective learn to swim campaign for a $250,000 budget. CPO® Amanda Bowden, who plans to work in special education, suggested funding early intervention programs for parents and their first-through-third-grade children, based on a 2014 Red Cross study finding that parents who don’t swim tend to pass that on to their children. Jada Pemberton—whose father is CPO® Certified—proposed using the money to promote public recreational spaces and increased youth volunteerism in learn to swim initiatives.

NSPF Fellowships are awarded to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows whose research focuses treatment of circulating water to reduce risk and promote the public health benefits of aquatic activity. The NSPF Fellowship Program supports scholars whose efforts map the aquatics industry’s contributions to public health and safety. Fellows investigate topics like facility design, chemical or bacterial exposure, and air quality; they measure the benefits of aquatic activity for people with various health conditions; and above all, their work makes a significant impact on the aquatics industry and public health.

NSPF Board Fellows for 2018 are Dr. Jodi Jensen of Hampton University and Michael Vakula of Utah State University, who each received a $2,000 grant to support their aquatic research.

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Dr. Jensen, who also received fellowships in 2012 and 2015, will study the aquatic life of students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), focusing on factors that motivate and/or deter aquatic activity for students of color. In a recent article, Jensen writes that “HBCUs can play an important role in addressing the lack of participation of African Americans in swimming as a physical activity by promoting the importance of learning how to swim as well as encouraging students to participate in swimming as a physical activity for colleges and universities with swimming pools as a physical resource.”

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Michael Vakula’s research in the field of biomechanics includes using an aquatic environment to research the speed and accuracy of learning a motor skill, and novel exercise interventions for obese young adults. Vakula’s ongoing mission is to help others increase their quality of life through movement, using evidence-based practice. Says Vakula, “If movement is medicine and all movement originates and exists only by the virtue of the environment, when movement ceases to exist, a new environment is essential to its revival. I am thankful for the aquatic environment, and the movement it affords.”

For more information on NSPF’s scholarship program, please visit the nspf.org Scholarship and Fellowship Program page.