Mr. Michael Tomaselli, Fire Protection Engineer, Anne Arundel County

Full Name

Pursuing MEng. in Fire Protection Engineering
Degree Program: 
Anne Arundel County
Job title: 
Fire Protection Engineer

From the age of about 13 I knew that I wanted to be an engineer and when I entered college I knew I wanted to achieve the status of becoming a Professional Engineer. When I was a junior in my undergraduate program I knew that graduation and the 'real-world' was rapidly approaching and the necessary preparations needed to be taken. Already a supervisor of the Adele's Restaurant kitchen staff I decided to take on another venture, an internship in my field of study. I interviewed and ultimately was given the opportunity to intern, unpaid, as a Fire Inspector with Anne Arundel County Fire Marshal's Office. One afternoon, out on an inspection, I began talking with a sprinkler contractor who was so impressed with my degree and studies at UMD that he made a few phone calls and within a week I had another interview with a reputable sprinkler contractor from Carroll County Maryland. Over the next year I took in as much on job training as I possibly could, learning the "ins-and-outs" of residential sprinkler system design. Then in December of 2013 I obtained my Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. Soon after graduation, with my aspirations of becoming a Professional Engineer in mind, I knew that I had to expand my horizons into the other realms of fire protection engineering. Within a few months I had migrated to another sprinkler contracting company only this time I was designing commercial sprinkler systems, which forced me to utilize an entirely different mindset. However, as many people with a burning desire will tell you, my aspirations of becoming a Professional Engineer never left the forefront of my mind and thus another change was in my future. This change happened to be my last and has led me to my current position as a Fire Protection Engineer for Anne Arundel County, Maryland. In my current role I serve as Fire Protection Engineer/code consultant to the County's Fire Marshals as well as contractors and design professionals from around the country. I utilize the theory and practical expertise given to me throughout my undergraduate and graduate programs to understand the intention behind nationally recognized codes and standards and ultimately ensure that these provisions are followed throughout the design phase of a project. Without the knowledge obtained at the University of Maryland I would not have been able to create a reputation for myself as logical engineer that is capable of bridging the gap between contractors and engineers that exists worldwide.

Why Maryland: 
It was after a few months at my second job that I realized I wanted to solidify and increase my odds of passing the Professional Engineers exam. I decided the best way to do this would be to obtain a Masters of Engineering in Fire Protection Engineering. The Masters of Science program was quite tempting but, as many individuals can relate, the need to maintain a full-time job was a top priority. This difficult decision became exponentially easier when I discovered the online Masters of Engineering (M. Eng.) program. The online aspect of this program is absolutely perfect for adults that are secured in a full-time position and cannot afford to take a two year leave of absence. Specific to the Fire Protection Engineering program, the courses were structured to be administered on a quarter term basis. The perfectly constructed course layout created a more than manageable workload. Before applying to the program I spent a significant amount of time contemplating if I would be able to manage knowing that I was within a short time going to be engaged, moving into a new home, working a full-time job, taking care of my household responsibilities, all while staying on top of my course assignments. Nevertheless, with some much needed encouragement from my loved ones I enrolled into the online Masters of Engineering program. Let’s just say that all of the worries I once had are entirely nonexistent. This is largely in part to the brilliantly thought-out program structure developed by the Fire Protection Engineering Department at the University but also the professors I’ve had played a vital role in eliminating my concerns. The University’s Fire Protection Engineering Department is a world renowned, highly accredited field of study and it follows that their professors are held to the same standards. This graduate level degree is one of only two in the entire country. Couple all of this together; the ability to maintain the personal life you’re accustomed to and still obtain a Master’s Degree, the ease of online courses, the program’s incredible pedigree, having field leading experts as professors, and it’s clear why this has been the greatest decision I’ve made in my life. I could not be happier with my field of study and the clout I hold for being an undergraduate and future master’s graduate of a world class university such as the University of Maryland, College Park.

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