Fall Highlights, 2019
Brantley Risk & Insurance Center
David C. Marlett
Managing Director, Brantley Center 
Appalachian State University
(828) 260-5289

Back row, L-R: Dr. David Marlett, Greg Langdon, Dr. Kevin Huff, Dr. Lori Medder, Dr. Karen Epermanis; Front row, L-R: Lacy Schmidt, Dr. Jamie Parson
Director's Note
Dr. David C. Marlett
It takes a lot of teamwork to provide extensive experiential learning opportunities to students. As you can read in the Fall Highlights below, the faculty and staff are constantly leading students off the mountain to engage with insurance professionals. 

In particular, I want to recognize Dr. Kevin Huff who is now leading the efforts to build the Employee Benefits minor. He has made tremendous progress in the last few months and is working closely with Dr. Jamie Parson. Dr. Parson continues to serve as the faculty champion of our Diversity and Outreach initiative that can be used as a model for other majors. 

Lastly, we are pleased to welcome Lacy Schmidt to our team as she replaces Linda Meznar, who recently moved upstairs to the Dean's office as Business Manager and Executive Assistant to the Dean. 

You can learn more about the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center and our students through the articles below, as well as visiting our website, insurance.appstate.edu.
Upcoming Events
Walker Spring Connect RMI Career Fair Finalized
The date for the highly anticipated 2020 Spring RMI Career Fair has been confirmed for Thursday, March 19th, 2020. The Brantley Center, along with Business Career Services, will also be hosting a VIP social with Walker's highest-achieving students the night before as well as formal interviews on Friday. Space is limited, and we recommend registering soon.

Join Us on June 9th for 2020 Brantley Golf Tournament
The Brantley Center is proud to announce its 2020 Golf Tournament is accepting registrations in early January. The annual event will be held again at the beautiful Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC.

Experiential Learning & Travel
Summit Certification
The Brantley Center is proud to announce the launch of its new Summit Certification. Headed by Brantley Board member Mike Mitchell, this resume-worthy certification is meant to recognize the highest-achieving AppState RMI and Actuarial Sciences students. The Brantley Center recognized its first class of 29 Summit awardees this fall.
CPCU Shadow Day
This September, 16 Appalachian State RMI and Actuarial Science majors participated in this year's CPCU Shadow Day in Charlotte. During the event, the students were partnered with industry leaders to learn more about professional opportunities and internships within various roles such as sales, claims, brokerage, and underwriting.

Exploring Bangalore
Risk Management & Insurance senior Roberto Sibrian and professor Dr. Jamie Parson recently visited India to exchange with Kristu Jayanti College. Dr. Parson researched potential areas of study for future RMI students, while Sibrian completed a data analysis project for mortgage lenders.

Professional Skills Day
More than two dozen Appalachian State Risk Management & Insurance (RMI) and Actuarial Sciences majors, along with industry professionals from the Brantley Center Board of Advisors, participated in the September Professional Skills Day & Etiquette Meal. Amy Odom from Walker College of Business Career Services led an interactive session on professional skills to help prepare students for the upcoming internship and job recruiting season - such as the upcoming Walker Business Connections event and job fair - as well as success during travel to industry events.  

"Participating in events like this will help prepare them for real life business situations that aren’t taught in the textbook."
- Mike Mitchell, Brantley Board of Advisors Member
Dallas GIS Conference
Sixteen outstanding members of the Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Rho Chapter represented Appalachian State at the 48th Annual International GIS Conference in Dallas, Texas in late September. The Rho Chapter was highly recognized at the final banquet, earning awards in all six rated categories of excellence. Accompanying the students was Dr. David Marlett. Also in attendance was Dr. Karen Epermanis.

PRIMA Conference in Wilmington
Two Appalachian State RMI students, Charles Fisher (left) and Graham Purcell (right), were offered support from the North Carolina Public Risk Management Association (NCPRIMA) to attend the 2019 NCPRIMA Educational Conference in Wilmington, NC. These select students had the opportunity to attend informative sessions as well as impactful networking events.

RIMS Conference in Pinehurst
Two Appalachian State University Seniors along with Professor Karen Epermanis participated in the Fall Southeastern RIMS Conference. A highlight of the conference included a “Women in Leadership” panel session led by current Brantley Risk & Insurance Center Board member Melanie Hudson of Travelers, and former Board member Angela Matherly.

The Brantley Risk and Insurance Center is committed to providing our students with quality experiential learning, networking, and other educational travel experiences. Please visit our website to find more stories detailing the numerous experiential learning opportunities like the NCDOI trip to Raleigh, the IIANC Conference in Myrtle Beach, the Carolina RIMS Holiday Social in Charlotte, and so many more.
Inclusion Excellence
The Brantley Center diversity and inclusion initiative is led by Dr. Jamie Parson in collaboration with the Brantley Board of Advisors Recruitment and Diversity Committee.

Dr. Parson also leads the Walker College of Business Inclusive Excellence Team and brings several years of experience working with first generation, low-income, and historically underrepresented populations. Continue reading below to learn more about the strides in diversity and inclusion made by the Brantley Center this fall.
Dr. Parson, center, after receiving the 2018 Service Award in gratitude of her commitment to diversity and inclusion within the Walker College of Business and at the University-wide level. 
"Diversity, equity and inclusion is a business imperative that starts as an educational imperative." - Dr. Jamie Parson, Assistant Professor of Finance, Banking and Insurance
NAAIA Competition in Atlanta
Back Row, L-R: Leah Thomas, Matthew Scott; Front Row, L-R: William Chisholm, Kyndavee Bichara
With the support of Travelers Inc., four Appalachian State University students accompanied by Dr. Jamie Parson traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) Conference & Empowerment Summit in September.

Students competed in the National Talent Competition and presented their research the topic of "The Internet of Things".

LAAIA Convention in Hollywood, FL
Four RMI students attended the Latin American Association of Insurance (LAAIA) Convention in Hollywood, Florida in July alongside Dr. Jamie Parson. Read more about LAAIA here
ACCESS Scholar Student Speaker
RMI and Finance Major Kimberly Aguirre-Salguero spoke at an ACCESS Scholar meeting in September on the positive impact of the Brantley Center and its faculty in her career.
Industry Mentor Program Develops
The Insurance Mentorship Program that was conceived in the 2019 Spring Semester has grown to support five RMI students through monthly calls and visits with select industry contacts.
Dr. Lori Medders & Dr. Jamie Parson with the WomenLead group in Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Lori Medders & Dr. Brandy Hadley with the Women in Finance group in New York City.
Empowering Women in RMI
The Brantley Center recently sponsored two impactful programs to inspire and empower female RMI students.

In November, Dr. Lori Medders and Dr. Brandy Hadley led a group of ten female students on a week-long experience to visit successful business women in New York City. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Jamie Parson and Dr. Lori Medders accompanied a group of six young women to the WomenLead Symposium in Atlanta. Both events contribute to the Center's continued efforts to support female students in the Risk & Insurance industry.

Student Outreach Initiative
Two student liaisons, William Chisholm (left) and Gilberto Ramirez-Hernandez (right), have been selected as student outreach and support designees, a new initiative headed by Dr. Jamie Parson. Chisholm and Ramirez-Hernandez work to empower historically underrepresented and first-generation students and connect these populations with existing resources and support communities within the Walker College of Business.
Academic & Industry Engagement
NCDOI "Flood Day" Continuing Education Event
On September 18, the Brantley Risk & Insurance Center hosted more than 100 participants at the Plemmons Student Union for the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) flood continuing education event, "Flood Insurance: Protecting 
Consumers and Agents". Gamma Iota Sigma volunteers, such as Ellen Collins pictured left with NCDOI's Tracy Biehn, contributed significantly to the successful logistics of the event.

FinTech and InsurTech Course Development
With Brantley Center support, Dr. Lori Medders (right) and Dr. Brandy Hadley have developed and are executing the new FIN 4530 "FinTech & InsurTech" class. This cutting-edge course explores the history, current environment, and near-term outlook of financial and risk innovation, and delves into the “how to” of several useful technology applications.

Topics include the history and fundamentals of risk analysis and financial innovation, the modern technology landscape and implications for finance, banking, and insurance, the power of Big Data analytics, block-chain technology, machine learning, the near-term environment for "new" risk analytics, and long-term possibilities, questions, and risks.
Excellence in Employee Benefits
Dr. Kevin Huff Leads Employee Benefits Program
In August, 2019, Dr. Kevin Huff (JD, CPA, CFP) was selected to serve as Program Director. As the new Director, Dr. Huff brings 30 years of experience to the program, having served as an attorney, CPA and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in the fields of ERISA regulatory compliance, tax law and employee benefit plan administration. Dr. Huf is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
(AICPA), currently serves on the AICPA Personal Financial Specialist Examination Review Task Force, and is an active member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Dr. Huff's primary role will be the expansion through two main initiatives: Externally by interfacing with HR/Benefits departments and firms to help them become familiar with our course offerings and pool of students, and requesting their input on course content most relevant to their hiring needs; and Internally, through student outreach efforts, helping students to discover a wide range of career opportunities available to them in the field of Employee Benefits. 

IFEBP Conference in
New Orleans
Two Appalachian State students minoring in Employee Benefits attended International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) Symposium in New Orleans, Louisiana, accompanied by Dr. Kevin Huff and Dr. Jamie Parson.

The event provided an unparalleled opportunity for our students and faculty members to learn more about careers the employee benefits field while networking for three days with industry professionals.
Above, L-R: Dr. Jamie Parson, Dalton Adams, Jaxon Mitchell, Dr. Kevin Huff

Employee Benefits Organizations Visit Campus
Under Dr. Huff's guidance, a number of Employee Benefits organizations have scheduled visits to Peacock Hall this Fall Semester to present in classes and meet with students. These include Aon, McGriff, and Mercer visiting the AppState campus as well as virtual student-company "visits" with several other leading EB organizations.