About Candice E. Tylke
As part of a generous contribution from Candice Tylke, '94, thought to be the first female firefighter graduate of Madison Area Technical College, new opportunities are available for women interested in fire science careers at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Tylke, a West Allis native, was a veteran firefighter and paramedic for the city of Beloit and had experience as a flight paramedic. She passed away July 26, 2008, at the age of 42.
The donation from Tylke's estate will fund the annual Candice E. Tylke Scholarship for students in the Fire and Emergency Response Management (FERM) program. First priority is given to female applicants. UW Oshkosh is the only university in Wisconsin to offer this bachelor's degree program.
Tylke's estate will also help fund the creation of a new youth career exploration camp for women only, GO! Fire Science Camp. The inaugural camp will take place August 2 – 4, 2009, and will provide young women ages 15 – 20 with opportunities to explore careers in fire and emergency response services.
Having a paper route that required her to get up around 4 a.m. in junior high school, Tylke was always determined to succeed at whatever she set her mind to.
“Candice never saw an obstacle in her vision to reach her goals,” said Tylke’s close cousin, Mary Ellis. “Despite firefighting being a predominately male profession, it never stopped her and she felt that if she proved herself, she would be considered an equal.”
Tylke transferred to UW Oshkosh from UW-Milwaukee to earn her bachelor’s degree.
“Candice wanted to experience the benefits of a smaller campus and it was important to her to give back to the college that she really felt part of,” said Ellis.
When asked about Tylke being an inspiration to others, Ellis said, “She felt women could achieve anything they put their minds and hearts to. If she were here today, she would tell other young women to pursue their dreams and support others doing the same.”