Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only



Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
August 7, 2007
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

Workers' Memorial Scholarships awarded for 2007

An opportunity to triumph over tragedy

Most of us growing up take for granted that our parent or guardian will return home safe and sound from their job each day. Advances in workplace safety and health in Oregon have reduced workplace deaths by three-quarters in the past 35 years. Still, dozens of children each year in Oregon must cope with a parent being taken from their lives through a workplace death.

An Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services program provides an opportunity to help surviving family members reach their educational goals. Three Oregon students were awarded Workers' Memorial Scholarship awards today for the 2007-2008 academic year, presented by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA).

The award recipients are:

* Jillian Becker of Molalla. Becker is beginning work on her master's degree in education this fall at Albertson College in Caldwell, Idaho, where she received her bachelor's degree this year.

Becker graduated from Molalla Union High School in 2003 and attended Clackamas Community College. Becker's father died in October 2003 as the result of overexposure to toxic substances during thermal spray welding. Becker is a three-time recipient of a Workers' Memorial Scholarship. ($3,750 award)

* Sharon Ferguson of Coos Bay. Ferguson plans to study nursing as she enters Oregon Health and Sciences University this fall. Her ultimate goals following medical education include working as a family nurse practitioner and midwife.

Ferguson is a 2007 graduate of Marshfield High School. Ferguson's father was killed in a 1989 logging accident. This is Ferguson's first Workers' Memorial Scholarship award. ($7,500 award)

* Annette Smith of Eugene. Smith is entering the University of Oregon Law School this fall after receiving her bachelor's degree from UO in 2007.

Smith is a 2003 graduate of North Eugene High School, and became the first person in her immediate family to attend college. Smith's father died in a logging accident in 1985 when she was 3 months old. She is a three-time recipient of a Workers' Memorial Scholarship. ($3,750 award)

Award recommendations are made by Oregon OSHA's Safe Employment Education and Training Advisory Committee, an advisory group with members from business, organized labor, and government. Oregon OSHA presents the awards annually to assist in the post-secondary education of spouses or children of permanently disabled or fatally injured workers. The 1991 Legislature established the Workers' Memorial Scholarship at the request of the Oregon AFL-CIO, with support from Associated Oregon Industries.

Applicants must be Oregon residents receiving fatality benefits, a dependent or spouse of a fatally injured worker, or the dependent or spouse of an Oregon worker who has incurred a permanent total disability and whose claim for workers' compensation benefits has been accepted.

The Workers' Memorial Scholarship is open to any high school graduate, graduating high school senior, GED recipient, or current college undergraduate or graduate student who is a dependent or spouse of an Oregon worker who has been fatally injured or permanently disabled while on the job.

The awards are funded from interest earned on a Department of Consumer and Business Services fund derived from Oregon OSHA civil fines and penalties.


* * * * * * * * * * *

Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer & Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to www.orosha.org.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.