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InVEST Awards 76 Academic Student Scholarships

Financial and insurance literacy program is key to attracting young talent to insurance industry.

InVEST dot.jpgALEXANDRIA, Virginia, July 11, 2017– InVEST, the insurance industry’s premier classroom to career education program, has awarded $75,500 in scholarships to 76 students pursuing insurance-related degrees. The program is a key incentive in attracting new talent to the insurance industry.

“InVEST congratulates the 76 students representing 23 high schools, colleges and universities in 8 states, who earned scholarships this year,” says Cindy Hower, InVEST board chair and president of Kellerman Insurance, an independent agency in Holton, Kansas. “InVEST develops future industry professionals by teaching high school and college students about insurance, risk management and financial services. As a result, students from more than 800 InVEST programs across the country are better equipped to pursue careers in an agency, company or other insurance industry organization.”

InVEST contributes to the education and development of future insurance professionals through academic programs and scholarships. In high schools, the program offers students a business curriculum which teaches them about the dynamics of insurance agencies and companies. At the college level, the program develops students’ risk management and financial analysis skills. Along with corporate and 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. 

“A successful InVEST program is vital to the financial literacy of our young people, to the future of the independent agency system and to the insurance industry as a whole,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “We are concerned that the average age of an insurance agent is almost 60 and as baby boomers continue retiring in record numbers, the InVEST program has the potential to replenish our workforce and to produce the next generation of industry professionals and leaders.”
 
This year’s scholarship winners represent 23 schools and hail from California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire and New York.

$5,000 Randy Roth Applied Memorial Scholarship Winner:
Robert Tromberg, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida

$3,000 Bob Baxter Honorary Scholarship Winner:
Michelle Dajczak, East Hartford High School, East Hartford, Connecticut 

$3,000 Scholarship Winners:
Sophia Brown, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Samantha Moroney, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida 

$2,000 Scholarship Winners:
Hanna Bordwell, McGraw Central High School, McGraw, New York
Varsha Geer, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Chirstopher Janak, II, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Christian Valencia, Cypress Bay High School , Weston, Florida
Emily Weingarten, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Michael Weissman, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Nathan Wendling, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida

$1,500 Scholarship Winners:
Traci Bugaj, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York 
Emma Calvert, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Celine Choukroun, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
Valerie Ezcurra, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, Florida
Annika Mursten, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Staci Stewart, Manatee High School, Bradenton, Florida

$1,000 Scholarship Award Winners:
Brenna Batzer, Groton High School, Groton, New York
Dana Bender, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Nicholas Bottomley, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, Florida
Rachel Crump, Manatee High School, Bradenton, Florida
Marc Cutler, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Andrew DeRusha, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
Austin Gonser, Capital Area Career Center, Mason, Michigan
Brandon McCoy, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida 
Melanie Keusch, Olivet College, Olivet, Michigan
Vanessa Marzullo, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Brianna Miller, Groton High School, Groton, New York
Delaney McCabe, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Christopher Ouwerkerk, Pinkerton Academy, Derry, New Hampshire
Alexa Pace, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Rebecca Roy, River Oaks High School, Monroe, Louisiana
Nicholas Ruszczyk, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Marc Wheeler, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, Florida
Collier Witt, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
Addison Wright, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York

$500 Scholarship Award Winners:
Jakiya Acoff, Northeast H.S. Academy of Finance, St. Petersburg, Florida
Tyler Ahearn, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Andrea Alderman, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, Florida
Janysa Cabrera, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
David Caplen, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Krystianna Clouse, Cooper City High School, Cooper City, Florida
Zach Conner, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
Reid Davis, Coventry High School, Coventry, Connecticut
Kelly DeGrood, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Gabrielle Dolan, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Salvatore Ferri, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Jacqueline Hebert, Northeast H.S. Academy of Finance, St. Petersburg, Florida 
Catherine Lang, Morningstar School, Pinellas Park, Florida
Madeline Maurer, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Jameson McDevitt, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, Florida
Gavin McLay, Northeast H.S. Academy of Finance, St. Petersburg, Florida
Matthew Merriman, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
Kelsi Mohn, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Cassie Moree, Newington High School, Newington, Connecticut
Bailey Moroney, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Noli Muratovic, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Oliver Neeb, Capital Area Career Center, Mason, Michigan
Da'jua Quarterman, Northeast H.S. Academy of Finance, St. Petersburg, Florida
Josh Ramsay, Dryden High School, Dryden, New York
John Rattan, Grossmont Community College, El Cajon, California
Lucy Rauker, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Hunter Reddick, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Tucker Reynolds, Hamburg High School, Hamburg, New York
Tania Romero, Palmetto High School, Palmetto, Florida
Chandler Sexton, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
Taylor Sheley, Pinkerton Academy, Derry, New Hampshire
Christopher Smith, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando, Florida
Emily Smith, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida
Braylon Stroud, B.E.S.T. Academy High School, Atlanta, Georgia
Alex Teblum, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Collin Wisner, Capital Area Career Center, Mason, Michigan
Kiara Zambrana, William R. Boone High School, Orlando, Florida

$500 Second Round Scholarship:
Jeffrey Steinhoff, State University of New York at Oswego 

The Randy Roth Applied Memorial Scholarship was established in 2017. The scholarship awards the highest dollar amount and this year’s award is $5,000. Roth served as Applied Systems director of talent acquisition and passed away this spring. “The Randy Roth Applied Memorial Scholarship is a tribute in memory of Randy and his passion and enthusiasm for bringing talent to the industry,” said Reid French, Applied Systems chief executive officer. “I can think of no finer way to memorialize Randy and his contributions to our company and the industry than by expanding our partnership with InVEST to support this annual scholarship.”

The Bob Baxter Honorary Scholarship was established in 2017 and awards a $3,000 scholarship to a high-performing InVEST student. Baxter is the retiring CEO of Dryden Mutual Insurance Company and was a dedicated member of the InVEST board of directors as well as a tireless volunteer for the InVEST program teaching insurance classes for decades in upstate New York. Today, 25% of the employees at Dryden Mutual are InVEST graduates thanks to Baxter’s pioneering efforts in New York. The InVEST board has agreed to award the top scholarships for three years to honor his commitment to the InVEST program.  

The Second Round Scholarship is awarded to previous InVEST scholarship recipients who are currently in college and have completed at least three years of college. Their intended degree must relate to a career path within the insurance industry. These students are eligible for a $500 scholarship. This year’s winner, Jeffrey Steinhoff, studies risk management at the State University of New York at Oswego. In 2015, when he was a student at McGraw Central High School in McGraw, New York, Steinhoff received a $1,000 InVEST scholarship

Scholarship hopefuls from across the country submitted essays describing the influence and benefits of InVEST on their educational plans. 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. 
 
As a 501(c)(3) educational trust, InVEST benefits from the support of numerous insurance organizations, hundreds of agencies, brokers and volunteers. The program provides the insurance industry with motivated, talented and intelligent professionals through a support structure of state associations, board members, national staff, teachers and the many industry professionals who work in the field as classroom liaisons.

Founded in 1970 and based in Alexandria, Virginia, InVEST promotes insurance education in order to attract individuals to pursue a career in the insurance industry. Each year, the program prepares thousands of students for insurance-related careers with a hands-on curriculum taught in high schools, adult education centers and colleges. These courses provide students with a working knowledge of the basics needed to pursue careers in the insurance industry. For more information, go to www.investprogram.org.

Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products.

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