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Recent Firefighter Graduate Looks Forward to Starting Her Career


Hana Zydani, recent STC Firefighter Graduate, always knew what type of career she should be in.

“Utilizing my skills and abilities to make a difference in the lives of others is the most important thing to me. I need (and want), a future career that will really pay off in terms of self-fulfillment.”

Hana was immediately drawn to the Emergency Medical Responder Program while attending high school in Tampa. “There were so many courses to choose from, but EMS seemed like the most exciting.” She was not only passionate about the material being taught, but Hana was overwhelmingly inspired by the great pride that was taken by those in its service. She excelled in the class, obtained her certificate as a first responder, graduated high school, and planned to become a Firefighter/Paramedic next, or so she thought.

Life always presents challenges and that is exactly what it did to Hana. Her future career came with some apprehension. Her concerns were not about her ability to be successful in the Firefighter Program or on the job. They were due to potential challenges regarding her culture, specifically her religion. “I wear a hijab.” She said.

“I wanted to become a firefighter, but I thought my religion might pose some challenges, especially in terms of wearing certain fire apparatus.”

So instead of a career in the fire service, she enrolled at the University of South Florida and decided to pursue a major in Biology. Though she enjoyed her coursework, Hana continually found herself correlating her new major with Emergency Medicine. She was simply not finding the same satisfaction in biology that she had in emergency medicine.

Hana eventually realized that becoming a Firefighter was something she had to do. “I literally fell in love with this field when I was in high school. I wanted to carry on with it because I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.” After reaching out to many Fire Programs in the area, Hana said, “STC was the only academy that responded kindly when I asked for guidance regarding my dilemma.” Hana set up a meeting that included STC Health & Public Services Program Manager, Scott Kennedy and Program Coordinator, Charles Joseph where she addressed her concerns.

“What I anticipated being a complicated discussion turned out to be a simple conversation. They were sensitive, attentive and reassured me that my religious needs would be met without compromising any safety protocols.”

Reflecting on her STC experience, Hana recalled her first day of class. “I had so much to learn! I didn’t even know what a 4’ X 4’ or dry wall was so I asked many questions and tried to soak up all of the information I could.” She feels that her training and skillset have really prepared her for what’s to come and is looking forward to the next chapter in her life. Hana also expressed great appreciation for her instructor’s personal stories, stating that, “Although no situation is the same and no future can be predicted, their experiences gave us a glimpse of what’s to come. I think sharing those experiences helped the most because it turned ‘textbook’ scenarios into ‘real’ situations.”

Hana plans to continue working as an EMT while applying for a firefighter position. She is applying to fire stations in the surrounding area and said,

“I’m so excited for the future and look forward to starting my career, especially knowing that I will be making a positive impact on the lives of others.”

Hana went on to express how impressed she was by the way her situation was dealt with at STC and is grateful to Chief Charles Joseph along with her other instructors for their commitment to helping her succeed and ensuring that she would be treated like any other candidate.

For more information about the STC Firefighter Program, please visit our PROGRAMS link at or contact a school counselor at 941-924-1365 / Ext. 62283

Article by Laurie Dillon
June 8, 2021