A group of diverse college students working on a project together in a lecture hall.

The Future is Bright with Our Newest Fraternal Practice DE&I Scholarship Winners!

Bobbi Larsen
Bobbi Larsen
Education Consultant

I recently had the good fortune to serve on the selection committee for our second annual Fraternal Practice DE&I Scholarship with my Holmes Murphy colleagues: Kelli DeVries, Andy Smith-Jones, Zach Walker, Nola Cartmill, and Audriana DeBuse.

The results were fantastic. Over 450 people started the scholarship application process — establishing an initial connection for us to build on in the future — and nearly 60 ended up applying. It was awesome!

The students were asked to provide a resume, transcript, letter of recommendation, and to answer essay questions. Reading through these materials was an exercise in hope and optimism for the future. These students are impacting their campuses and communities in so many positive ways.

Our 2023 Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice DE&I Scholarship Winners

We are happy to announce that we have now distributed $1,000 scholarships to 10 undergraduate fraternity and sorority students of color as part of Holmes Murphy’s commitment to advance DE&I initiatives within the organization and industry, and we’d love to introduce you to the recipients:

  • Olakunle Akande, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. of Hampton University. Olakunle has had a number of interesting internships from New York to Miami and is a member of Hampton University’s Track & Field Team.
  • Aspen Amador, Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc. of the University of New Mexico. Aspen is also a member of another Fraternal Practice client, Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, and as president of her sorority, she led the chapter to win the MGC Greek Cup at the University of New Mexico.
  • Michael Bland, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. of the University of Georgia. Michael served as a Resident Assistant at the University of Georgia and was the 2022 UGA NPHC Executive Board Member of the Year.
  • Kendall Divers, Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc. of James Madison University. Kendall is fluent in Tagalog and worked in the James Madison University Advancement Information Services department, putting his majors — Quantitative Finance and Math — to good use.
  • Armani Jones Elliott, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Armani specializes in mentorship, and she’s served as an Orientation Leader, in the Summer Bridge Program, TRIO Student Support Services, and a Learning Community. This is not her first insurance scholarship — she received an endowed scholarship from the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina as well.
  • Aisha June, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. of Howard University. Aisha led a social media strategy during an internship that increased audience engagement by 956.25 percent and founded and serves as president of an artistic collective: 360 Creative Collective.
  • Mia McGraw, Phi Mu Fraternity of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Mia has been extensively involved in campus activities at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities: Student and University Senate, Carlson Business Board, Student Government. She also interned for a Minnesota Senator and campaigned during a successful election.
  • Justin Nguyen, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity of University of California, Davis. Justin successfully facilitated “Balanced Man Scholarships” for his fraternity, awarding 20 $1,000 scholarships. He also speaks English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • Esau Rodriguez Olvera, Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, Inc. of Texas Christian University. Esau managed the visual content for TCU360’s newspaper and website and is the sole developer of modern Cryptographic Ciphers, which involves the development and testing of encryption techniques.
  • Lianne Rodriguez, Tau Beta Sigma Sorority of Texas Christian University. She is clarinet-playing member of the TCU marching band and President of Independent Greek Council.

How the Scholarship Was Created

Our Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice DE&I Scholarship resulted from a challenge issued by one of our clients at their renewal, asking what we were doing in the area of DE&I. We shared the DE&I strategies Holmes Murphy was implementing at the corporate level, but they pressed, “what are you doing for our organization and our community?”

Our Fraternal Practice brokers insurance for dozens of culturally based fraternities and sororities as well as other organizations whose members include students of color. We realized we were perfectly positioned to introduce the world of insurance to the members of our client organizations — undergraduate students of color who had already demonstrated leadership and a commitment to their communities, who may be seeking career opportunities that would let them use those skills, and who could better reflect the communities in which Holmes Murphy operates.

Introducing Students to Insurance

The scholarship recipients were announced during a webinar featuring Audriana DeBuse, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant, and Dr. Lori Hart, Director of Educational Initiatives, who were able to share information about Holmes Murphy, our internships, and the Brainery program with all the scholarship applicants.

This scholarship is one part of Holmes Murphy’s DE&I strategy, but we believe it provides support for students of color from client organizations, introduces them to the field of insurance, and provides value for our client organizations.

To end this blog, I wanted to share just one of the many positive things we heard back from our participants. This one from Olakunle Akande:

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. To be a recipient of the Holmes Murphy Fraternal Practice Scholarship means a lot to me because it provides me with the resources and a gateway for me to continue my education and receive higher knowledge to be a change in today’s world. A change in our economy requires a change in our insurance and healthcare as it is the pivotal point for ensuring the financial wellbeing and overall health of individuals, business, and the entire nation. Insurance is the guardian angel that shields us from the unpredictable storms of life, providing comfort, security, and a safety net in times of adversity.”

We look forward to what he and the other winners will bring to the future.

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