November 2019 Scholarship Recipients

November 28, 2019
Brian Franklin

Brian Franklin, RICP® (Virginia Beach, VA) enlisted in the Coast Guard after completing graduate school.  “I had a job lined up, but the position fell through,” Brian says.  “The opportunity to join the Coast Guard opened up and I went for it.”  He spent four years in the Coast Guard as an Operations Specialist and says that his time in uniform helped prepare him for his current career as an Adviser with Navy Federal Financial Group.  “It was fantastic working on an individual level and also as part of a team in the Coast Guard,” Brian says.  “I have segued that experience into my practice on an individual level and also have been able to use those same skills amongst my peers at Navy Federal Financial Group.”  In 2018, Brian completed the Retirement Income Certified Professional® and now he wants to expand on that education with the Chartered Financial Consultant®, which will allow him to sit for the CFP® exam, as well. “Throughout my career I have never considered myself finished with learning and continue to self-improve,” Brian says.  “I understand gaining knowledge, either academically or professionally, is a life-long journey.”  We’re proud to help Brian on his journey, and we wish him the best in his studies!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Jim Meehan, MSM, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Megan Nunez

Megan Nunez (Fayetteville, NC) is a financial service professional with 13 years of experience, and is also the spouse of an Active Duty Army Captain stationed at Ft. Bragg.  High School sweethearts, Megan and her husband married after his first deployment, “and I’ve been following him around ever since,” she says.

Megan has always had an interest in finance, “I got my degree based on that,” she said.  After receiving the FINRA Military Spouse Fellowship, Megan earned her AFC® credential, which has helped her in her current role as Operations Specialist at Geometric Wealth Advisors, but Megan is looking ahead at what’s next.  “I’ve been with [Geometric Wealth Advisors] since May and its incredible.  I’m getting more knowledge regarding financial planning and it’s pushed me to want to pursue the CFP designation – that feels like the next step for me.”   By completing the Chartered Financial Consultant program, Megan will have met all of the educational requirements to sit for the CFP® exam, and will have a comprehensive financial planning education at her disposal.  “The more you know, the more people you know, the more tools in your tool belt that you have, the more opportunities will find their way to you.”  We’re thrilled to help Megan fill out her tool belt, and we wish her the best in her studies.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Tom Harris, CLU®, ChFC®, FLMI, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Wade Kinlaw 

Wade Kinlaw (Tamuning, Guam) is an Active Duty Navy Petty Officer Second Class currently deployed to Djbouti, Africa.  Wade was 31 and working in banking in 2010 when he decided he needed a change.  “After 7 years of nothing but spreadsheets and tax returns, I decided to join the Navy.”  He served for 5 years as a hospital corpsman and an X-ray and CAT scan technician. it was a tough decision to stay or get out – I decided to get out.”  After three years of civilian life, Wade joined the Navy Reserves.  “I thought it’d be a weekend warrior gig – before I knew it, they needed my specialty in Africa.”

Deployed to Djbouti, Africa currently, Wade is looking to continue developing his education and skills while he’s overseas, to return to a post-military career in finance.  “I’ve always been a numbers guy and I love people.” Wade says.  “At some point I’ll want to fuse my old background with my new background to make an impact on military personnel and veterans.”  To complement his Accounting degree and his years in banking, Wade will be taking the Retirement income Certified Professional® program, which will provide him with the most cutting-edge retirement planning skills and techniques.  We’re proud of Wade’s service and we wish him the best on the rest of his deployment.  Bravo Zulu!  

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Rocketer, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Spencer O’Brien

Spencer O’Brien (Federal Way, WA) was a sixth grader on September 11th 2001.  “For me, that was the point that I began considering the military,” he says.  “I remember watching the President declare war on Iraq in 2003 and seeing the Navy vessels begin the attack and I remember knowing right then, ‘I’m going into the service’.”  A graduate of West Point, Spencer commissioned into the Army as an ordnance officer in 2013.  Just over a year later, Spencer found himself in Afghanistan, which he calls, “one of the greatest opportunities he’s ever had.”  “It was awesome,” Spencer says “you literally have an opportunity to make an impact every day.” 

After serving for five years, Spencer transitioned to the civilian sector in June 2018.  Initially he found a job working at Morgan Stanley in Seattle, but found the adjustment tricky to navigate.  “It was a hard decision for me to leave the military,” Spencer said. After a year with Morgan Stanley, Spencer took a job working for Amazon Web Services.  “Then I realized I made a mistake.  In financial services, you have an opportunity to have an impact on people’s lives, similar to the impact you can provide with your Soldiers.  With Amazon, I was working with Data Center equipment – which is important work but felt less meaningful. I’m back with Morgan Stanley now and it’s the best.  I’m so glad I made the decision to come back and that I was provided an opportunity to do so.”  By completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® designation, Spencer will have a strong foundation on which he can build a successful career, a career that will allow him to continue serving others.  We’re thankful for Spencer’s service and we wish him the best in his studies!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of M Financial, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company

Elizabeth McGill

Elizabeth McGill (Oceanside, CA) is a licensed physical therapist and the spouse of Veteran Marine Corps Captain and previous PMCVA scholarship Recipient, Pat McGill, CPF®!  Lizzie and Pat started dating in 2008 and married in 2011. She has been by his side for his military career, including two deployments to the Middle East.  Pat’s first deployment was 7 months and while it was difficult being apart, the experience laid a strong foundation for their marriage.  “His second deployment was different,” Lizzie says, citing the immense danger of the area and the causalities in Pat’s battalion.  “When you go through something like that – when you’re concerned for your spouse’s safety for a prolonged period of time, it grounds you.”  She recalls attending remembrance ceremonies for Pat’s fallen fellow Marines.  “Watching those spouses grieve – life is going to be full of times when you get frustrated with your spouse, but every single spouse here would die to be able to argue about the dishes or laundry.”  The experienced galvanized their love for each other.  “We don’t sweat the small stuff.  I don’t worry about hard things because I’ve done hard things.  Its given us so much strength.”

Lizzie has been a physical therapist for ten years, and has owned her own practice for the last 6 years.  “Once the business was up and running, I started to get itchy to do something new.”  Watching her husband hit his stride in his own financial services career was an inspiration for her.  “It just seems like such a fun job.”  She’s ready to jump in head first and join Pat – but she knows she’s got a lot to learn first.  She’ll be working on the Chartered Financial Consultant® program and she’s excited to get started.  “I would love to just help people,” she says.  We’re fortunate to have gotten to know both Pat and Lizzie and we’re thrilled to help them continue to serve others.  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Prudential, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company

Jonna Gorgas

Jonna Gorgas (Denver, CO) is a veteran Navy Seaman who served on Active Duty for two years and spent another two in the Navy Reserves.  Jonna calls her enlistment in the Navy one of the best decisions she ever made.  “The Navy provided me with focus and direction that I previously did not possess.  I know now that when I put my mind to something I can accomplish it.  The Navy has helped make me into the person I am today,” Jonna says.   Currently, Jonna is an Account Manager for a State Farm agency in Denver, where she not only assists the Agent and her colleagues with the daily administrative functions, but also meets with clients. For years she has used her strong beliefs in using life insurance to encourage clients to put policies in place to protect their families.  She has her sights set on expanding her expertise and building on her Series 6 and Life, Health and Property and Casualty licenses, eventually focusing full time on Life Insurance and Financial Planning.  She will be completing the Chartered Life Underwriter® program, which will give her the foundation for a successful, lifelong career.  “My goal is to better others’ lives through my interactions with them.” Jonna expects to use her CLU designation to deepen her skills for advanced estate planning. We’re proud of Jonna’s accomplishments and we cannot wait to see what she does with this education.  Bravo Zulu!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Eileen McDonnell, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

David S. Chang

David S. Chang (Los Angeles, CA) is a combat veteran and currently a Major and the Deputy Commander for the 250th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion with the California Army National Guard. David is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point Class of 2002. As senior-class cadet at West Point during the attacks on September 11, 2001, he knew he would face a very different life upon graduation. “We knew we were going into combat immediately upon graduating and taking our Oath of Office,” he says.  In the years following 9/11, David served as an Armor and Military Intelligence Officer with multiple overseas deployments including one in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After spending seven years on Active Duty, he spent 10 years with the Hawaii Army National Guard, serving in a wide variety of Military Intelligence Positions, including the Vice Chief of Staff of Intelligence (G2/J2) for the Hawaii National Guard. He then transitioned to the California Army National Guard and is currently up for the promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.  During his tenure, he has traveled to over 30 different counties, working with foreign military forces to help train their soldiers for real-time worldwide contingencies.  “I really enjoy serving my country and support our Nation's security.  I go where they want me to go and look forward to continually serving our country.”  In his civilian life, David has had his own RIA for the past 11 years.  “It’s small, about $25 million AUM – my goal is to double that.” To that end, David recently completed his Chartered Financial Consultant® designation and is now setting his sights on the CLU®.  These credentials will help David better protect his clients’ futures. “People will be able to withstand crises if they’re making sound financial decisions.  If you can change one household at a time, it makes the communities, the cities, the counties, and the country better.”  We’re grateful to David for his service, and we wish him the best with his education!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Saybrus Partners and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.