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The University of Olivet Senior Samuel Vondra Awarded the J.H Blades Scholars London Experience

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The University of Olivet senior Samuel Vondra is one of two insurance and risk management students nationwide to have been awarded the J.H Blades Scholars London Experience through the highly competitive Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) internship program. The J.H Blades Scholars London Experience gives Vondra the opportunity to work at Lloyd’s, the birthplace of modern insurance, in June of 2023.

WSIA is a world-class member service organization representing the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry. It offers one of the most prestigious internship programs in the nation for insurance and risk management (IRM) students.

Hailing from Hillsdale, Michigan, Vondra knew he wanted to go into insurance and risk management after high school. He selected The University of Olivet specifically for its award-winning insurance and risk management program. “I chose insurance and risk management to become more specialized in the business field and also to take advantage of the success rate related to the The University of Olivet program,” Vondra said.

Vondra continuously looks for ways to further his knowledge and experience. That drive led him to WSIA. “I wanted to participate in the WSIA internship program to better understand the excess and surplus field,” he said.

Vondra was one of 24 students from around the country selected to participate in WSIA. Of those 24 students, Vondra was among 10 selected to attend the WSIA Marketplace, an annual wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry event where more than 5,000 industry professionals gather for networking and business meetings. From there, he was one of two students awarded the J.H. Blades Scholars London Experience.

“Receiving the J.H Blades Scholar London Experience is an absolute honor; this solidifies the strength of the The University of Olivet Insurance and Risk Management program as a whole,” said Vondra. “Professors Tom Humphreys and Mike Weglarz were the ones who helped me with the internship process and taught me what I needed to know in the classroom to get me to this spot.”

To earn a spot as a WSIA intern, an applicant must apply with letters of recommendation, go through multiple interviews, and answer several essay questions. Vondra said, “We had three other students from The University of Olivet chosen for this honor along with me, including MaKenzie Borg, Owen Guilford and Ally Sears. These three are a fantastic representation of The University of Olivet and deserve recognition for their incredible success.” It’s not uncommon for The University of Olivet to have multiple insurance and risk management students selected for a WSIA internship.

At the conclusion of the five-week internship, 10 of the 24 students were selected to apply for the London Experience. After another round of essay writing and an interview with a panel of 30 WSIA internship committee members, Vondra was one of two interns to be awarded the J.H Blades Scholars London Experience.

“WSIA was a fantastic experience. Getting to see the non-admitted side of insurance while traveling at the same time was amazing,” Vondra said. “I was placed in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Charlotte, North Carolina, during the five-week internship. Learning from and working with a couple of companies in the same summer was incredible. Then to find out I was selected for the annual Marketplace was an honor. Also, I anticipate the experience in London this June will be fantastic. I am looking forward to working at Lloyd’s for a couple of weeks and the experience that comes with this award.”

WSIA not only furthered Vondra’s knowledge of the excess and surplus division of insurance but also was essential to his career development. “Being part of the WSIA program put my name out there. It also exposed me to a whole new aspect of the industry. I was able to work on unique risks and learn firsthand how to come up with a creative solution. This experience set my job path down the excess and surplus route and even helped me determine that a career in sales is the perfect role for me,” he said.

Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.

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