Katie Porter, left, and Gabriela Sabalsa

Scholarship Insures Success

Industry Investment Supports Students’ Academic, Career Goals

The generosity of Tim Ekberg (’92 Finance), director of personal and farm underwriting at COUNTRY Financial, and Kenton Brine, president of Northwest Insurance Council, allowed two WSU students to focus on their academic goals instead of worrying about financial barriers.

Katie Porter and Gabriela Sabalsa received scholarships that helped them gain professional insights into the insurance industry and prepare for their future careers.

Both students were able to attend the Northwest Insurance Council’s annual meeting and keynote panel discussion in Seattle this past June. The meeting gave them good perspective on current issues such as wildfires and the risk prevention and collaboration that go into keeping communities safe.

“It was great to meet the participants of this event, because some of them shared past experiences they encountered when entering the work force,” says Porter, a finance major. “It was reassuring to hear that many of them had the same worries as I do now, and they gave me tips on how to succeed in both my academic and professional career.”

The impact of scholarships

The support Porter received from COUNTRY Financial and the Northwest Insurance Council helped relieve some of the pressure that comes with paying for college. “I am very grateful to have had this opportunity. With less financial stress, I can put more energy toward my education,” she says.

“Receiving a scholarship can be the difference between finishing a degree or dropping it all and walking away, the difference between a great sleep and a restless night, and much more. COUNTRY Financial, the Northwest Insurance Council, the Carson College of Business, and others have made a positive difference in my life,” says Sabalsa. “Scholarships have brought me closer to keeping the promise I made to myself four years ago that I would graduate debt-free.”

She will graduate in December 2016 and, thanks to the extra financial help, plans to take the second and third actuarial exams in spring 2017 in hopes of attaining her actuary certification in the next four years.

Porter sees herself working in underwriting and risk management or potentially having a career in mortgages and real estate.

“We at COUNTRY Financial were very pleased to make a donation to the Washington State University Carson College of Business and help connect Katie and Gabriela with the Northwest Insurance Council and attend the annual meeting,” says Ekberg. “Both Katie and Gabriela were amazing ambassadors of what WSU has to offer, and it was a great opportunity to highlight the Carson College of Business risk management and insurance program in front of insurance professionals.”

Ways to engage with the Carson College

Ekberg is a member of the Carson College’s National Board of Advisors, serving on the Risk Management and Insurance Advisory Board.

Brine got involved in supporting the college after hearing about the great things the college was doing through COUNTRY Financial. He would like to facilitate a deeper relationship between insurance companies, agents, employees, and the college’s programs and students.

“Insurance is the cornerstone of the American economy, and Washington State University is one of the few public universities in the Northwest that has insurance and risk management education as part of its curriculum,” says Brine. “Tens of thousands of people are employed in this growing, critical, and environmentally-friendly industry, and we’d like to see more bright, motivated, and innovative WSU graduates find their way into the insurance field.”

To invest in the Carson College of Business and support students like Katie and Gabriela, contact Raegan Harvey at raegan.harvey@wsu.edu or 509-335-9448.

If you are a student participating in an internship or a company who provides internships, we would love to share your experiences and photos with fellow Cougs. Submit your photos here!