Wake Forest University students Morgan Briggs and Taylor Hodges have been selected from a group of national finalists to join this year’s incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program. The program prepares students for professional leadership positions through experiential workplace learning that applies what they learn in their academic programs.
Both students are rising sophomores. From Knoxville, Tenn., Briggs has been involved in Campus Kitchen and Athletes in Action. Her academic interests are in business, politics and foreign language.
Hodges is from Chesapeake, Va., and his academic interests are in psychology, biology and business. He’s been involved with the Black Student Alliance.
Wake Forest is one of fewer than 20 U.S. schools to offer this program for students in their first year of college. Kemper Scholars represent a select group of undergraduates from exemplary liberal arts colleges nationwide.
The Kemper Scholars Program mission is to shape well-rounded business leaders, with a special focus on the insurance industry. By identifying high-potential undergraduate students and supporting them with a comprehensive program of scholarship, mentorship and internships, the Kemper Scholars Program helps students develop both practical and professional skills to become the next generation of effective business leaders.
Recent research reports that employers rank real world experience in internships and work while in college as a primary criterion in hiring recent graduates. “The Kemper Scholars Program helps students apply their academic education to the world of professional careers, making connections between the classroom and the workplace,” says Jerry Fuller, executive director of the Foundation.
Kemper Scholars receive annual need-based scholarships during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college. They also receive stipends to cover the costs of their work as interns in major non-profit organizations throughout Chicago during the summer following sophomore year. During these summer months, Scholars are placed in full-time administrative positions where they gain firsthand experience in financial management, organizational strategy, fund-raising and non-profit administration.
Scholars live communally in a downtown residence hall and participate in weekly educational seminars in conjunction with outings highlighting the cultural and historical aspects of the city. Weekly meetings include reading and discussing major works on leadership, service, ethics and business as well as visiting Chicago institutions including the Art Institute or cheering on the Chicago Cubs at a baseball game. Following junior year, scholars are placed in paid summer internships with the Kemper Corporation, focused on gaining experience and skills in the insurance industry, at offices throughout the United States.
Every year, all Kemper Scholars attend a national summer conference in Chicago to discuss their summer work and experience, to meet with former Kemper Scholars, and to consider topics in administration, leadership and business. Starting in the fall and throughout the academic year, scholars continue to have frequent contact with Kemper Foundation staff to discuss academic and professional goals, as well as hopes for future careers and learning opportunities.