Opportunity: Vanessa Robinson, XL Scholarship Committee chair, with 2012 Scholar Ryan Whiting and Mike McGavick, CEO of the XL Group. *Photo supplied
Opportunity: Vanessa Robinson, XL Scholarship Committee chair, with 2012 Scholar Ryan Whiting and Mike McGavick, CEO of the XL Group. *Photo supplied

In July, XL announced its 2012 Scholar — 18-year-old Ryan Whiting.

Ryan is the 23rd Bermudian to be awarded the XL Scholarship since its inception in 1990, and was  chosen from 41 applicants.

The four-year scholarship is open to students working toward a degree in (re)insurance-related studies.

Vanessa Robinson, XL’s human resources manager and chair of the XL Scholarship Committee, said: “Ryan stood out, not only based on his academic performance but also due to his level of maturity and his exemplary demonstration of leadership and dedication to the community.”

Dynamic

Ryan has also won prizes in speaking competitions, is a volunteer for non-profit organizations and plays the piano, golf and tennis.

A high honours graduate of Somersfield Academy and the Bermuda High School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, he will major in finance and economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and hopes to become a property casualty actuary.

We asked Ryan and fellow XL Scholars Rowan Border (2011) and Kevin Minors (2010) to talk about: Why they chose their field of study; what the scholarship means to them; and their hopes and dreams post-qualification.

Ryan said: “The reinsurance industry allows for dynamic and rewarding careers. As a property catastrophe actuary, I would be able to utilize all my skills: Writing; information technology; and data analysis.

“Also, this area of study offers me the opportunity to network with people all over the world.

“From a financial standpoint, the XL Scholarship is very generous; however, the personal support this award offers — including access to a talented mentor in Bermuda and to strong relationships with XL’s worldwide team — is just as important.

“Finally, the XL Scholarship presents a wealth of future rewards, including employment opportunities and the chance to be part of a global presence in the realm of risk management.

“I hope to pursue a rewarding career as a property catastrophe actuary in Bermuda, a role that, ideally, will also allow me to see the world.”

Rowan, a  computer science and artificial intelligence student at Edinburgh University, said: “I chose to study computer science as computers sparked my interest from a young age, ever since I received my first laptop computer at Saltus.

“As I have continued to cultivate this interest with self-taught programming skills and summer internships, it was the natural choice for a university course.

“The XL Scholarship has enabled me to attend Edinburgh University, one of the top institutions for computer science in the UK.

“I have not only been able to learn from some of the leading experts in the field of artificial intelligence, but also to work on personal robotics projects with friends studying other engineering disciplines.

“Having been given the opportunity to work at XL this past summer, I had the pleasure of working with a great team from whom I learned a lot.

“I hope to return to work in Bermuda in the reinsurance industry. I have a particular interest in the data sourcing and enterprise systems used in catastrophe modelling and risk analysis.”

Kevin, a mathematics student at Oxford University, said: “I wanted a challenge (and I found one), and I wanted to continue to pursue my passion for mathematics. I wanted to learn more about the things that intrigued me.

“The XL Scholarship is evidence that hard work pays off; pressure to continue to excel; formal recognition and distinction for all future interviews and CV-related opportunities; and it also gained me a little bit more love from my parents and spending money while at university.

“When I graduate, I hope to find my passion and chase it until my legs get tired. I dream of never feeling like I’m ‘working’.”

To find out more go to www.xlgroup.com.

Scholarship Recipients 2012