Student-Athlete Wins National Honor in Risk Management and Insurance

Speaks photo

James Taylor Speaks, Somerset, a member of Eastern Kentucky University's football team and a junior risk management and insurance major, is one of only 30 students nationwide selected for the Anita Benedetti Student Involvement Program (ABSIP).


"It is an honor to win because our students are competing with students from all of the risk management and insurance programs throughout the country," said Dr. Burke Christensen, director of EKU's Risk Management and Insurance Program and the Robert B. Morgan Chair of Insurance.


Speaks, a long snapper with the Colonels and a 4.0 student, will attend the Risk Management Society's four-day annual conference this April in New Orleans. The highly competitive national award covers the cost of Speaks' registration, travel, lodging and meals. Also, Speaks will be paired with a mentor from the RIMS Student Advisory Council.


This marks the third consecutive year that an EKU student has been chosen for ABSIP. Previous winners were Ashley Whattenbarger and Lindsey Warren. No other student from a Kentucky college or university was selected this year.


Christensen noted that Speaks has also helped recruit several of his fellow student-athletes to the EKU Risk Management and Insurance Program.


Speaks, a graduate of Somerset High School, is the son of Jason and Kelly Leigh Speaks.


For more information about EKU's Risk Management and Insurance Program, visit


The RIMS Student Involvement Program was initiated as a pilot program at the 1987 RIMS Conference in New Orleans. Due to the overwhelming success of the project, a standing committee was created, and the program has become a permanent part of the RIMS annual conference. In 1997, the name was changed to the Anita Benedetti Student Involvement Program to honor the late Anita Benedetti, former deputy executive director of the Risk and Insurance Management Society and president of the Spencer Educational Foundation.

Published on February 19, 2015

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