2018 Building Safety Month Essay Contest Winners

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), in partnership with the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association (VBCOA), and the Virginia Plumbing and Mechanical Inspectors Association (VPMIA), is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Building Safety Month Essay Contest.


Thea Konefal

Thea Konefal, a 2018 graduate of Maggie Walker Governor’s School, is our first place winner! While attending Maggie Walker, Thea was the president of the Environmental Club and worked with a tutoring program for children in her area. Thea will attend Barnard College at Columbia University in the fall and has an interest in their Urban Studies program. While there, she also plans to participate in extracurricular activities such as swimming, rowing and ultimate Frisbee. Thea will receive the $2,000 scholarship grand prize to use towards her upcoming educational expenses.

Download Essay


Caroline Maloney

Caroline Maloney is our second place winner! She is a graduating senior of Freedom High School, where she has served as president of the Science Olympiad Team, design editor for the school’s art and literature magazine, and as a representative of the student council. Caroline has interned at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and at the Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia. She will attend Duke University in the fall to pursue a double major in neuroscience and computer science. Caroline plans to become a physician, specializing in neurological disorders. As second place winner, Caroline will receive $1,000 towards her upcoming educational expenses.

Download Essay 


Madilyn Abbes

Madilyn Abbe’s essay was chosen as one of the “honorable mention” winners. Madilyn is a graduating senior of Loudoun Valley High School. She is the current president of the Country Rabbit 4-H club and participates in activities that include playing the cello, the piano and also running cross country and track. Madilyn will attend Brigham Young University in the fall. She will receive $500 to help with her educational expenses.

 Download Essay

Pierina Rossini

Pierina Rossini is a rising sophomore at Liberty University. She is also an “honorable mention” winner. Because she feels that it is a beautiful and humbling profession, Pierina has chosen to pursue a degree in nursing. She will receive $500 to use towards her upcoming educational expenses.

 Download Essay

Nicholas Dize

Nicholas Dize is a graduating senior at Loudoun Valley High school and the recipient of an “honorable mention” award. He will attend the School of Architecture and Planning at Catholic University of America and will begin his studies in architecture in fall 2018. Nicholas was a member of his high school’s varsity basketball team and spends his time volunteering. Nicholas also enjoys drawing and fishing in his spare time. He will receive $500 for educational expenses.

 Download Essay


Congratulations to this year’s winners of the 2018 Building Safety Month Essay Scholarship Contest!