54 Students Win Insurance Industry Scholarships

June 20, 2011

InVEST, an insurance industry classroom to career education program, has awarded $47,000 in scholarships to 54 students who are pursuing insurance-related degrees.

This year’s scholarship winners represent 20 schools and hail from California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska and New York.

InVEST supports academic programs and scholarships as part of an effort to attract new talent to the industry. There are more than 200 InVEST programs across the country. In high schools, the program offers students a business curriculum that teaches them about insurance agencies and companies. At the college level, the program develops students’ risk management and financial analysis skills.

Along with direct contributions, scholarships are funded through proceeds generated by the InVEST Silent and Live auctions held in conjunction with the Independent Insurance Agents & Broker’s (IIABA or the Big “I”) Legislative Conference & Convention.

“Continuing success of the InVEST program is critical not only to the future of the independent agency system, but to the insurance industry as a whole and the increase in financial literacy of our young people,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “Many are concerned that the average age of an insurance professional is around 54 and as baby boomers retire, the InVEST program has the potential to replenish our workforce before it’s too late and may actually save our industry.”

This year, the Big “I” offered two new scholarships: The Bob Betters Memorial Scholarship and the Classroom to Career Scholarships.

The Bob Betters Scholarship is the newest component of the InVEST program. The scholarship awards the highest dollar amount at $2,000. Bob Betters with Watson Insurance Agency in Gastonia, N.C., passed away in February, after battling brain cancer. Betters, who was appointed to the InVEST board of directors in 2009, served as the InVEST state champion for North Carolina. The InVEST board has agreed to award the top scholarships for the next five years to honor his commitment to the InVEST program.

The Classroom to Career scholarship is another form of aid added this year. This program is for students who would like to enter the insurance industry immediately after graduating from InVEST. These students are eligible for $500 reimbursement for licensing or designation expenses.

This year, 101 scholarship hopefuls from across the country submitted essays describing the influence and benefits InVEST had on their educational plans, according to Heather Minkler, chair of the National InVEST board of directors and CEO of Clark-Mortenson Agency, an independent insurance agency in Keene, N.H.

The quality of the essay, combined with the applicant’s grade-point average and extracurricular activities, were factors in selecting the recipients. Scholarship checks are mailed directly to the institute of higher learning that each student is attending and will be used exclusively for educational expenses.

This year InVEST is awarding 54 scolarships.

$2,000 Bob Betters Scholarships:

  • Annia Fonseca, Southwest Miami High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Benjamin Gajus, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla.
  • Paul Mandley, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Anthony Mella, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Leela Rao, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Jennifer Squire, Manatee High School, Bradenton, Fla.
  • Clare Wilkes, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.

$1,500 Scholarships:

  • Krishna Dozier, Palmetto High School, Palmetto, Fla.
  • Taylor Dudley, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Gabriel Guerra, Coral Gables Senior High School, Coral Gables, Fla.
  • Elizabeth Martinez, Palmetto High School, Palmetto, Fla.

$1,000 Scholarships:

  • Kaitlyn Antle, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla.
  • Tabitha Cook, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Amy DeLorenzo, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Amy Foote, Dryden High School, Dryden, N.Y.
  • Jakir Hussain, Murry Bergtraum High School, New York, N.Y.
  • Cassandra Kent, Dryden High School, Dryden, N.Y.
  • Kaitlyn Mangold, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Logan McKenna, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Brittany Randolph, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, N.Y.
  • Luke Rodosevich, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Ira Zukanovic, Naperville North High School, Naperville, Ill.

$500 Scholarships:

  • Caleb Amy, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Bryan Bing, Manatee High School, Bradenton, Fla.
  • Vanessa Cabrera, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Dylan Card, Dryden High School, Dryden, N.Y.
  • Michelle Cardenas, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Kim Casillas, Grossmont College, El Cajon, Calif.
  • Danisbel Conesa, John A. Ferguson Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Taylor Davis, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Carlos Diaz, John A. Ferguson Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Danielle Emmons, Charles O. Dickerson High School, Trumansburg, N.Y.
  • Ashirra Ford, Barbara Goleman Senior High School, Miami Lakes, Fla.
  • Quincey Gill, Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield, Conn.
  • Taylor Golat, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Jacob Gray, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Stefon Hall, East Hartford High School, East Hartford, Conn.
  • Brian Hall, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Russell Kelly, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Jevarnie Martin, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Samantha Mazozzi, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Timothy Mazurczak, West Seneca East Senior High School, West Seneca, N.Y.
  • Robert Miglionico, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Joshua Nawrocki, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Anais Sanchez, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Jennifer Serrano, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
  • Saige Sharp, Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield, Conn.
  • Tuyetrang Tang, William Boone High School, Orlando, Fla.
  • Steven Vogel, Samuel W. Wolfson High School, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Dara Wilson, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Kelly Yndestad, Naperville High School, Naperville, Ill.

$500 Classroom to Career Scholarships:

  • Jennifer Vermeer, Northeast Community College, Norfolk, Neb.
  • Marcia Berger, Grossmont College, El Cajon, Calif.
  • Kathy Austin, Grossmont College, El Cajon, Calif.

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