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GEICO Presents Achievement Awards to ODU Business Students

Geico Awards(From left) Jennifer Rodriguez of GEICO, Associate Professor Mike McShane, Mariana Aragon, Daniel Jefferis, Assistant Dean Connie Merriman and Penny Craig-Pickel of ODU's Career Management Center with the GEICO Gecko.

A gecko was spotted in Old Dominion University's Constant Hall on May 31.

But rather than climb the walls of the College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA) building, this lizard came bearing gifts for ODU business students.

The GEICO Gecko presented three students with $1,000 checks on behalf of the insurance company. The GEICO Achievement Awards went to business students Mariana Aragon, Daniel Jefferis and Laniece Blackmon.

The awards are presented across the country to college sophomores and juniors majoring in business, computer science, mathematics and related fields - all of which are critical to the success of companies like GEICO.

In this region, ODU students received three of the four awards. In all, students from six local colleges and universities were eligible for the monetary gifts.

"The awards were created to give back to students in the schools where we have built relationships. And we have a great partnership with ODU through the Career Management Center and the College of Business and Public Administration," said Joanne Rodriguez, regional college recruiter for GEICO.

Mike McShane, associate professor of finance and director of the Emergent Risk Institute @ ODU, said the three students are terrific representatives of the school and the CBPA's risk management and insurance track.

"GEICO looks for great students from any major. The fact that three of the four regional winners of the award were not only ODU students, but also risk management and insurance majors, speaks to the quality of students that are coming through this program," McShane said.

All three award winners are members of Gamma Iota Sigma, a national student organization that promotes interest in careers in risk management, insurance and actuarial science.

Aragon, 26, a Navy veteran from Northern Virginia, is focusing her studies on insurance and financial services, particularly actuarial math. "I've always been a very analytical person, so I'm going into the actuarial side of insurance," she said. Aragorn will graduate in December and is already working full time for Northwestern Mutual Life.

"This industry provides so many opportunities for students. (Winning this award) really reassures me that I'm in a great program here," she said.

Jefferis, an accounting and finance double major with a concentration in insurance risk management, said McShane has helped him realize how much opportunity there is in the study of insurance and risk management. McShane's work as a mentor has helped the Army veteran focus his energies on becoming an insurance scholar. "It's amazing how much of an influence he's been," Jefferis said.

Blackmon, a finance major, was unable to attend the May 31 ceremony.

GEICO has forged strong links with ODU and the CBPA. Dorothy Rivers, a 2010 finance graduate, was recently featured in a GEICO national recruiting video.

The video, "GEICO Is the Place to Be for Grads," features Rivers speaking about her experience in GEICO's Emerging Leaders program. The three-minute video features interviews with young GEICO employees, speaking about the misconceptions they had about the company before starting work.