Tomorrow’s Risk Management Leaders Reflect on URMIA Conference


Discover what university students took away from their conference experiences

5 of the 9 URMIA conference student scholarship recipients for 2023


Pictured from left: Solomon Richardson, Savannah Jackson, Raphael Nelson, Jennifer Calandra, and Andrea DuBois. Not pictured: Suma Meda

Scholarship provides opportunities for students to experience higher ed risk management

Thanks to the generosity of the Spencer Educational Foundation, six undergraduate students were able to participate in URMIA’s 2023 Annual Conference either in person or virtually. Read on to learn how this experience has impacted some of those participants and what advice they have for future participants.

The Conference Takeaways

“Networking with the industry's most prestigious talent was most valuable during my annual conference experience. I have formed relationships that will be valuable to my future career,” said Savannah Jackson of Florida State University.

Raphael Nelson, also from Florida State University, agreed stating: “The most valuable aspect of the URMIA conference as a student was the opportunity to interact directly with industry experts, gaining insights from a risk analysis perspective that I could not find in textbooks or online.”

Moments That Stand Out

“After speaking with several [URMIA] members, I became aware that the majority did not start out at their institution as risk managers but rather were unceremoniously promoted without much notice or prior education or requirements. URMIA provides an invaluable resource to these members as many did not know where to turn for advice, networking, and comradery that is unrivaled to anything else I have been exposed to,” shared Andrea DuBois of Middle Tennessee State University.

For Nelson, an ah-ha moment came “after listening [during] the ‘emergency abroad’ session about the importance of mental health evaluations for students studying abroad. It dawned on me how crucial it is to prioritize emotional well-being in unfamiliar environments. I realized that these evaluations can be the key to ensuring a successful and fulfilling international educational experience."

Advice for Other Risk Management & Insurance Students

When asked what they would tell other students about the annual conference experience, the scholarship recipients shared the following:

“During my risk management and insurance schooling,” said DuBois, “I met an enterprise risk manager and realized that my exposure to the risk management part of my degree was not as well-rounded as I would have liked. I found the URMIA conference scholarship and felt it was a perfect opportunity to expand my understanding with something that was close to home for me since I am still a student myself and can appreciate the perspective and effort of my own institution in its risk management. I suggest you come with a list of questions about your own needs in your current field because there will be someone [at the conference] with an answer who has been through your near-exact situation and is more than willing to help.”

Jennifer Calandra of the University of Houston, Downtown said, “I advise the 2024 student nominees to research potential hazards in school and meet with the school's risk management department to learn more.”

“I strongly advise any student who is thinking of applying for a future scholarship to do so as it will open your perspective to new experiences and knowledge that you probably have never thought of before,” according to Nelson.

Jackson stated, “I was very eager to apply based on feedback from past student scholarship recipients. The knowledge and network you will build in just a few days is unmatched. It is an incredible experience!”


By URMIA Staff

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