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Students Receive Travelers Insurance Scholarships

Alex tairbekov
Yiou Chen (photo by John Griffin)

The Travelers Insurance Company has awarded four Stony Brook University students with $2,000 scholarships for achievements in academic excellence and promise. Travelers Insurance has been giving scholarships to Stony Brook students since 2000.

The students are Yiou Chen’15, Flushing, New York; Linda Milano ’15, Babylon, New York; Roman Nersesyan ’16, Staten Island, New York; and Alexander (Alex) Tairbekov ’15, New York, New York.

Ari Kaufman, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, described Alex and Yiou as “promising freshmen” who emerged from an outstanding field of 800 computer science and information systems candidates at Stony Brook to net the scholarships.

Alex is a computer science/applied mathematics and statistics major and accounting minor who is pursuing a career in data science and algorithm development. Yiou is a computer science major with a minor in digital art who hopes to combine those skills to start his own company or become an indie game developer.

Linda Milano
Linda Milano

The two students “leapfrogged from freshman to senior status” because of the advanced placement and higher-level courses they logged before coming to Stony Brook and during their first year here, said Undergraduate Program Director and Professor Leo Bachmair.

“With nearly a 100 percent placement rate for those who graduate from our program, we expect Alex and Yiou will move on to high-profile careers in technology,” said Kaufman.

This year’s crop of Travelers scholarship recipients has a decidedly international flavor. Both Alex and Yiou were immigrants who needed to adjust to the English language and American culture when they left their native countries as children. Alex lived in Russia until he was 6 years old; Yiou emigrated from China when he was 17.

In 2007 Yiou was admitted into the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a selective state-chartered magnet school in Alexandria, Virginia.

Roman Nersesyan
Roman Nersesyan

Applied math/actuarial recipient Roman Nersesyan was also born in Russia and is of Russian and Armenian descent.

It was Roman’s Stony Brook roommate who introduced him to the actuarial field, which appealed to him because of its merit-based exam system. “It’s a profession that makes sure that everyone who is at the top worked their way up,” said Roman. “I want a career that is challenging and intellectually stimulating, and I think that being an actuary would make the best use of my analytical and quantitative skills.”

Gui Citovsky, who teaches the Finite Mathematical Structures and is a teaching assistant for the Business Enterprise classes at Stony Brook, said he agrees that the actuarial field is a good fit for Roman.

“Roman performs extremely well in his studies despite the heavy load of courses he takes every semester,” Citovsky said. “I believe he is suited for a wide array of positions and has the potential to be successful in any type of career, but he possesses a great mathematical mind and would do very well in an actuarial career. He has already passed two actuarial exams, which certainly helps his case.”

Roman will be doing a business and management internship at the Campus Recreation Center this fall.

The business recipient for the Travelers Scholarship, Linda Milano, boasts a résumé as diversified as an investment portfolio. She created a comprehensive marketing plan for GEICO, helped the Suffolk County Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation raise more than $1,200 for its Macy’s Letters to Santa and 5K Walk and increase its Facebook exposure through various marketing campaigns, and ran an independent research project for the Faculty Student Association at Stony Brook regarding students’ food choices on campus.

Alex Tairbekov
Alex Tairbekov

Linda has interned as a social media marketing intern at Canon U.S.A. and has been an ePortfolio and digital media consultant for Stony Brook. She also interned at New York State Senator Phil Boyle’s district office in Bay Shore drafting press releases, media advisories, letters and mailers on behalf of the senator.

While at Stony Brook, Linda has won the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award four times, the Spotlights on ePortfolios Student Showcase Award, and the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Award of Excellence.

A standout in the College of Business Honors Program, Linda also finds time to lead the clarinet section of the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band and serve as a Stony Brook student ambassador, all of which led her professor, Business Honors Program Director Margot Palermo, to recommend Linda for the marketing scholarship from the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island.

“At Canon I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to witness firsthand all that goes into marketing a brand on various social media platforms and understanding the importance of marketing to the overall operation of a business,” Linda said. “This internship experience has inspired me to pursue a career in social media marketing.”

— Glenn Jochum

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