BY ERIN SILVER
Earning a scholarship to a university or college can be a life-changing opportunity. This funding enables recipients to pursue their education, achieve their dreams and gain invaluable work experience before and after they graduate.
Zahra Wilson, 21, feels fortunate to have won this year’s Chubb Robert Clements Scholarship, a fully funded scholarship for Bermudians interested in working in the insurance industry. In addition, the Robert Clements Scholarship offers its scholars the opportunity to gain relevant work experience during school breaks.
“Chubb’s generous investment towards my future will help to support my short- and long-term goals,” said Ms Wilson, who attends the University of Tampa and is studying international business and economics.
“This scholarship will not only allow me to earn my degree, but it will help me to further develop my passions and discover new hobbies or skills. I hope to learn just as much outside the classroom by connecting with various individuals and learning about different cultures, while learning more about myself in the process,” she said.
Ms Wilson, who wants to work as an underwriter in the insurance industry in the future, continued: “Also, receiving this scholarship from Chubb will make an even more profound impact on my life because of the numerous resources that Chubb provides to its scholars.
“I am looking forward to taking advantage of their gracious support to have immense professional and personal growth in the upcoming years.”
Every scholarship applicant is encouraged to highlight the attributes that set them apart from the field.
Ms Wilson said: “What helped me earn the scholarship was being authentic, confident and self-aware.
“During the scholarship process, it is crucial to be confident in yourself but, most importantly, you must be confident in your future.
“I view this scholarship as an investment in my future self, so knowing why I want this scholarship helped me stand out in the scholarship interviews because I was able to show genuine interest, which helps to portray a sense of authenticity.
“Additionally, having a good sense of self-awareness helped me to answer off-guard questions because I was able to think quickly on the spot.”
Since 1996, the Chubb Robert Clements Scholarship has been awarded to Bermudian students interested in pursuing careers in the international insurance industry.
“Our scholars major in such fields of study as insurance, risk management, actuarial science, corporate law, accounting, economics or any other such disciplines related to the industry,” said Lori Dunstan, executive director of the Chubb Charitable Foundation.
“While a single scholarship recipient is selected each year from an applicant pool of about 60 strong candidates, there have been occasions where a candidate has suitably impressed the selection committee and a bursary award recipient is also chosen.”
Over the past 25 years, Chubb’s Scholarship has supported more than 30 Bermudian students through either full scholarship or bursary awards. It’s been a huge help to every one of the winners.
“A four-year university or college degree comes with a large price tag,” Ms Dunstan said. “Scholarships allow recipients to focus on their academic studies without worrying about where the fees are coming from or even if they’ll be able to complete their studies. When you take away the stress around the uncertainty of funding, students can naturally excel.”
In addition to funding, scholarships provide students with the opportunity to be exposed to unique opportunities in the working world.
“Scholars are offered employment in our insurance or reinsurance operations locally during school breaks and given preferred access to the Chubb Select internship programme, allowing them to rotate through our various departments to gain hands-on experience in the fundamentals of our business,” Ms Dunstan said.
What do scholarship committees look for in applicants? There are many common items on their list. The first is academic excellence. They are also impressed by analytical and social skills, leadership qualities and a desire to succeed.
Ms Dunstan offered applicants some helpful pieces of wisdom as they begin looking for scholarships. “Start early and give yourself enough time to find the scholarships applicable to you, as well as to work through the requirements for submission. Keep an eye on the varying deadlines, and do not hesitate to reach out with questions to help you get through the application process.”