Dedicated, Determined IRM Student Earns Prestigious Scholarships
By Mark Kramer
Susana Gonzalez is charting her course for success as an Insurance Risk Management (IRM) major at the University of Houston-Downtown’s Marilyn Davies College of Business.
UHD Senior Gonzalez serves as president of the local insurance fraternity Gamma Sigma Iota. She is also preparing to start a career as an underwriter of Commercial Lines for Nationwide Insurance.
And now, her leadership skills, academic performance, dedication and determination have made her the recipient of two prestigious IRM scholarships — UHD’s IRM Center’s Courtney Steves Scholarship and the Securance/Daniels Memorial Scholarship.
The $2,000 Steves Scholarship is named in honor of the late wife of Fred Steves, a founder of the Bachelor of Business Administration in IRM program at UHD and chairman of Myron F. Steves & Company. The $1,000 Securance Scholarship was created to commemorate company partner L.D. Daniels’ support of the advancement of young insurance professionals.
“Susana is a leader, an outstanding student, and a cheerleader of the Insurance & Risk Management program who inspires others to pursue a career in insurance and risk management,” said Priscilla Oehlert, Director of UHD’s IRM program. “She has a strong work-life balance with being the mother of two young children, her studies and involvement in the Houston insurance community. I’m confident she will have a very successful career in the industry.”
Gonzalez became interested in the insurance industry after meeting several people that worked in the same office complex where she was employed.
“I was working in the oil and gas department of a firm and we shared a floor with Navigators Insurance, which was bought out by The Hartford,” she said. “It was the interactions with the employees of that company that sparked my interest to pursue a career in insurance.”
As she's setting her sights on earning her degree in May 2022, she is also working toward industry professional designations such as the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Certified Risk Manager (CRM), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and others.
“I am humbled and privileged to have been selected for both scholarships,” she said. “They will help me get closer to completing the industry designations I hope to have by graduation.”
Gonzalez said the connections she has made through UHD’s program have been vital to her success.
“What I like best about my IRM experience is the networking opportunities that have been provided,” she emphasized. “I really enjoy the events we are a part of because of all the amazing people we meet and interact with. UHD’s program has prepared me for the career opportunities that await me in the insurance industry.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.