Fall 2022 Newsletter

Note from the Director


This fall we welcomed several new colleagues to the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center and RMI Program. Austin Eggers and Sabina Pandey have started teaching RMI courses, and Wendy Deng has joined as University Program Support. We are so pleased to work with them and know our students will benefit from their experience.

Student engagement has finally returned to pre-pandemic levels with no apparent lingering effects. The Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Open House had the largest turnout in program history and we have sent a record number of 

students to off-campus experiential learning opportunities through the first half of the fall semester. We are particularly proud of the GIS leadership team as they meet each Tuesday morning at 8:30 and plan for upcoming events.

I hope you enjoy an in-depth look at our Center's updates and events in the below newsletter. Our tailgate during ESPN Gameday was an especially unforgettable experience on campus. 


David Marlett

Managing Director, Brantley Risk & Insurance Center

Faculty & Staff Updates

Dr. Sabina Pandey

Wendy Deng

Professor Austin Eggers

Brantley's Newest Faces

The Brantley Risk and Insurance Center is excited to welcome three new faces into the Center's operations during the Fall semester. Dr. Sabina Pandey, left, joins the Walker College of Business from Texas Tech University where she earned her Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning. The Brantley Center benefits from her teaching Principles of Risk Management and Insurance and Personal Finance courses.

The Center also brought on Wendy Deng as its new University Program Specialist. Wendy joins the Brantley Center from the Finance Department and the Center will benefit hugely from her 8 years of experience on staff at Appalachian State. 

The Center also had the privilege of working more closely with Professor Austin Eggers, J.D., as he teaches Commercial Insurance. Professor Eggers was a practicing attorney for over five years and used his legal education to help individuals and businesses navigate complex legal issues. Eggers earned the prestigious Walker College of Business Sywassink award for Teaching in 2022.  

Service to the Community

Three professors from AppState spoke at one of The Institutes Griffith Insurance Education Foundation’s webinars titled “Foster Care and Insurance: Exploring Opportunities and Issues Around Risk Management”. Speakers included Judith L. French, JD, Director, Ohio Department of Insurance, Dr. David C. Marlett, Dr. Lorilee A. Medders, and Dr. Jamie A. Parson. The discussion, featured insights on issues related to foster care liability exposures and approaches to address the risks. Public policymakers, staff and interns, and others viewed this complimentary, non-partisan and non-advocative webinar. 

(L-R) Dr. Lori Medders, Dr. David Marlett, Dr. Jamie Parson

Dr. David Marlett Selected as the Appalachian State Sun Belt Faculty Member of the Year Nominee

Dr. Marlett recently accepted his award as the Sun Belt Conference’s Appalachian State Nominee for Faculty Member of the Year. The annual award recognizes a faculty member from each Sun Belt institution who goes above and beyond in supporting student-athletes.

See the full article here.

Industry Partnership Updates

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC Increases Support for Brantley Risk & Insurance Center

The Brantley Risk and Insurance Center announced Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s three-year commitment in support of the Center.

A long-time Strategic Partner of the Brantley Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC's gift supports Appalachian State University’s Employee Benefits minor and several of the Brantley Center’s diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives including scholarships, the Building Insurance Talent (BIT) cohort, and the Women in Financial Services (WiFSi) Initiative.

Dr. David Marlett, Managing Director of the Brantley Center, expressed his gratitude for Blue Cross NC’s dedication to these causes: “Blue Cross NC’s support makes several of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center’s important programs possible. It also makes careers in employee benefits and insurance more accessible for our students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds.”

Summer Visits with Company Partners Possible Post-Pandemic

The Brantley Center was able to return to normal in visiting its partners over summer break. Dr. David Marlett and Associate Director Lacy Chesnutt made multi-day trips to Raleigh, Greensboro, and Florida to visit new offices and check in on alumni and interns from the Appalachian State RMI program. Visits included Penn National, NCSLA, IIANC, Redwoods Group, and Founders Professional. These trips help strengthen relations with partners as well as help Brantley Center staff increase their knowledge of company operations and culture.

Founders Professional (L-R) Sara Zacharias, Carolyn Coldiron, Robb Williams, and Dr. David Marlett

Penn National (L-R) Hunter Grady, Jonathan Dillon, James Sizemore, Lacy Chesnutt and Dr. David Marlett

Brantley Center Hosts Guest Speakers in the Classroom

Risk management and insurance courses benefitted immensely from having several organizational partners visit Principles of Risk Management and Insurance and Commercial Insurance courses.

Visiting speakers included Risk Placement Services, AmWINS, USI, IIANC, and IAT. This industry perspective provided invaluable insights to current risk management students and help support their classroom learning.

Harrison Cameron and Mike Mitchel of Risk Placement Services visit a Principles of Risk Management and Insurance course

Student Volunteers smile alongside Brantley staff and Josh Ammons of AmWINS,

the event's Peak Sponsor, after a successful event

First TopGolf Fundraiser a Swinging Success

The Brantley Center Executed its first-ever TopGolf Tournament Fundraiser in June 2022 to raise funds for the operation of its programs. The event was made possible by several sponsors including AmWINS at the Peak level, RT Specialty at the Gold Level, Key Risk & Builders Mutual at the Black level, and RPS as the Hole in One Sponsor in addition to numerous bay sponsors. This event attracted over 200 industry professionals in the Charlotte area and beyond to network with one another and Brantley Center students and staff.

Walker Business Connections Return to Pre-Pandemic Normal

The Brantley Center co-hosted the bi-annual Walker Business Connections Career Fair this October and welcomed over 120 companies, including 45 insurance organizations, on campus to recruit our students. The event took place in the Holmes Convention Center and almost 1,000 students were in attendance. In addition to the career fair, the event also included a VIP Networking Social as well as formal interviews.

RMI major Oliverio Anselmo and Markel's Steve Girard connect at the 2022 VIP Networking Social. 

Registration Opens for Walker Spring Connect RMI Career Fair

The Brantley Risk & Insurance Center has partnered once again with Business Career Services to put on its bi-annual career fair. The career fair is scheduled for Thursday, March 9th at the Convocation Center on AppState's campus. Sponsor-level registrants will also be invited to the VIP Networking Social on Wednesday, March 8th, and all participants will also be invited to host formal interviews on-site in the College of Business on Friday, March 10th. Interested employers can register now to take advantage of the early bird discount available.

Student Engagement & Travel

(L-R) Omar Gonzalez, Addiysn Sharkey, Dr. Lori Medders,

Madison Browne, Ben Kolodny

AppState RIMS Challenge Team Wins First Place

Congratulations to the Appalachian State “RIMS Challenge” team, composed of students Madison Browne (team captain), Omar Gonzalez, Ben Kolodny and Addisyn Sharkey and faculty advisor Lori Medders on winning first place in the international 2022 RIMS Spencer Risk Management Challenge! The contest is an 8-month-long competition for students where university teams compete to develop and present the most comprehensive Risk Management program based on a company’s case study. The competition finals were held April 10th-13th in San Francisco, CA, where they competed with seven other finalist teams.

Diverse Students Visit NYC Insurance Companies with Support of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC

Over 2022 Fall Break, the Brantley Risk & Insurance was able to take a cohort of 11 students from diverse backgrounds to NYC to meet with several insurance companies to learn more about the industry and gain important business travel skills. The trip was led by the Brantley Center's Associate Director, Lacy Chesnutt.

AmWINS, AcrisureRe, and Travelers met with the group during the trip and students were able to learn more about opportunities within the insurance industry. This trip was made possible as past of the Blue Cross Blue Shield NC's multi-year contribution to support employee benefits and equity programs within the Brantley Center. 

Two AppState RMI Students Chosen as WSIA Interns

Two Appalachian State students, Conrad Nelsen and Mark Pruitt, were selected as 2023 WSIA summer interns and scholarship winners this year. The program offers risk management students of the highest caliber across the country the opportunity to participate in internships in the underwriting and brokerage sides of the surplus lines marketplace.


See the full article here.

Students "Go Pro" With Brantley Skills Committee

Chase Pasour of Key Risk, Avery Fink of Markel, and Mike Mitchell of RPS led an outstanding session for graduating insurance seniors this semester. The seminar focused on the skills students would need to navigate their first year in the working world to equip them with the skills they need to make the most of their first full-time role.


See the full article here.

Appalachian State Well Represented at 51st Annual GIS Conference

Nearly 30 students from Appalachian State University attended the 51st annual international conference of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) in Charlotte, September 29-30, 2022. The students were all members of App State’s GIS Rho Chapter and participated in educational sessions alongside industry professionals. They were accompanied by faculty advisors, Professor Austin Eggers and Dr. David Marlett. The Rho Chapter was recognized as a “Superior Chapter” and Dr. Marlett received the 2022 Gamma Iota Sigma Values Award for Service. The Brantley Center strongly encourages student travel as a means of experiential learning. Students have opportunities to travel locally, regionally and internationally. 

A Dozen Insurance Students Benefit from CPCU Shadow Day

A dozen Appalachian State students and as many UNC-Charlotte students came together in Charlotte to participate in the CPCU's Shadow Day experience. This was the first time the event was able to take place in person in several years and students were able to spend a morning with a Charlotte insurance organization to learn about their operations and career paths. The trip was led by the Brantley Center's Associate Director, Lacy Chesnutt.

AppState Insurance Students Serve as Panelists at MAMIC Conference

Appalachian State insurance students had the honor of participating in a panel at the 2022 11th Mid-Atlantic Mutual Advantage Convention at the Greenbrier in West Virginia in August. Three current Appalachian risk management and insurance (RMI) majors Andrew “AJ” Miller, Mark Pruitt, Tom Phillips were joined as panelists by recent graduate and current Penn National underwriter, Hunter Grady.

The session was moderated by Gen Re Senior Vice President John Stone who made sure the students felt at home by bringing in tailgating chairs and an Appalachian State cooler for the students to enjoy during their talk. 

Brantley Leads Student Athlete Workshop on Financial Literacy

Faculty and staff from the Brantley Center met with incoming student athletes to discuss financial literacy topics. Professor Kevin Huff, Professor Austin Eggers, Lacy Chesnutt and Dr. David Marlett shared their views on budgeting, credit use, auto and homeowners insurance, liability risks, and career planning. Student athlete and RMI major Summer Schloss provided guidance and offered advice to the incoming first-year students as well.

Four Students Travel to Winston-Salem for IIANC's InsurExpo Conference

The Brantley Center was excited for the opportunity to bring four Appalachian State insurance students to Winston-Salem to participate in the IIANC's annual InsurExpo. Students were able to learn about emerging issues for North Carolina agencies during the two-day conference as well as network with business professionals. Thank you to the IIANC for sponsoring this amazing student group!

App Student Selected for CPCU Society’s NextGen Scholarship

Appalachian State Actuarial Science major and Master of Data Analytics candidate Omar Gonzalez was recently awarded the CPCU NextGen Scholarship. The $5,000 award was designed to support higher education opportunities for students pursuing careers within the insurance industry. Gonzalez was a previous AppRIMI intern in 2021 and completed a risk analyst internship with USAA in the summer of 2022.

See the full article here.

Student Spotlight:

Jackson Stamey

Jackson Stamey, May 2022 RMI graduate, discovered the insurance industry through his brother, Andrew. Though he knew he wanted to pursue the insurance course of study, he never realized how much his studies would impact his life. Stamey became very involved with GIS, currently serving as Co-Director of Community Service, and participating in an internship with RPS the summer following his junior year. He has recently accepted a full-time role with RPS in Charlotte. Outside of school, Jackson is active with his church and even went on a service trip to Guatemala.

GIS Insurance Club Cleans Campus

The Gamma Iota Sigma Rho Chapter at Appalachian State has committed to keeping its campus clean. The professional fraternity supports students pursuing a career in insurance, and engages students through guest speaker events, social gatherings, and volunteering. This year, the group has worked to clean up Stadium Drive several times following busy football weekends to ensure their campus and environment stays beautiful and healthy. This event is a great way for students to connect with one another as well.

GIS Partners with FSA on Successful Tailgate Social

Appalachian State's GIS club partners with the Finance Student Association (FSA) to host a fantastic tailgating event that coincided with GameDay as the Mountaineer took on the Troy Trojans in football. Alumni, current students, and industry partners all came together to enjoy NC BBQ and another AppState victory.

Thank you to our '21-'22 Strategic Partners!