Alina Virnelson ’20 and Mark Young ’20 have been selected from a group of national finalists to become two of the 16 students in this year’s incoming class of the prestigious Kemper Scholars Program. The James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago has been supporting Kemper Scholars since the program’s inception in 1948.
Alina Virnelson, a Christ College — The Honors College student and business and marketing major, is the daughter of Michelle and Wesley Virnelson from Parma, Ohio. Alina is a news broadcaster on WVUR, a library services assistant and member of Gamma Phi Beta.
Mark Young, a Christ College — The Honors College student and management major with a minor in computer science, is the son of Diane and Joel Young from St. Louis, Missouri. Mark is a member of the Student Senate and a photographer and videographer with the integrated marketing and communications department at Valparaiso University.
The Kemper Scholars Program’s mission is to develop the next generation of business leaders, with a special focus on the insurance industry. By identifying high-potential undergraduate students and supporting them with a comprehensive program of scholarships, mentorship and internships, the Kemper Scholars Program helps students develop both practical and professional skills to become the next generation of effective business leaders.
Recent research reports that employers rank real-world experience in internships and work while in college as a primary criterion in hiring recent graduates. The Kemper Scholars Program helps students apply their academic education to the world of professional careers, making connections between the classroom and the workplace.
Kemper Scholars receive scholarships during their sophomore, junior, and senior years of college. During the summer following their sophomore year, Scholars live in Chicago, where they intern at Chicago’s top nonprofits and participate in weekly educational seminars. Following junior year, scholars secure paid business internships at for-profit businesses across the country. Every summer, all current Kemper Scholars attend the Kemper Career Institute in Chicago, where they discuss their summer work and experience, meet with former Kemper Scholars, and consider topics in management, leadership and business.
Valparaiso University has been part of the Kemper Scholars Program since 2004 and welcomes Virnelson and Young to the group of Kemper Scholars who have graduated from Valparaiso University.