Upon recently completing her graduate degree, a Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration from Cal State University, Long Beach, Deputy Fire Chief Eleni Pappas was selected as a recipient of the Emergency Services Administration Program’s Claire B. Rubin Award.
Named in honor of a trailblazer in the world of emergency management, the award recognizes significant female achievement in advancing the field of emergency management as well as student achievement in the midst of barriers that life may have for them. During her 40-year career, Claire B. Rubin was an admired emergency manager, researcher, author, and subject matter expert on disaster and long-term recovery.
Chief Pappas formally received the award at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management’s 27th Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, May 15, 2022.
“Being honored with the Claire B. Rubin Award was truly meaningful to me on both a personal and professional level,” said Chief Pappas. “My mother – and best friend – passed away while I was completing the last semester of my master’s thesis. It was a difficult time for her and for me and my daughter. I continued to work full-time, raise my 11-year-old daughter, and provide care for my mother. I was completely overwhelmed. I would work on my thesis after everyone else went to bed. I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. most days to compete assignments.”
Despite the challenges, Chief Pappas persevered to complete her thesis.
“I was committed to finishing the thesis because I had tremendous support from Deputy Fire Chief Dennis Breshears and Battalion Chief Brian Kane,” added Chief Pappas. “The three of us entered the master’s program together and finished together in two years while continuing to work full-time. I had unwavering support from my professors who encouraged me through my challenges. Most importantly, I wanted to complete the master’s program for my mother, who sacrificed a great deal to make sure I was educated. I wanted to be an example for my daughter.”