December 2019 Scholarship Recipients

December 31, 2019
Peter Mars

Peter Mars (Prairieville, LA) is a financial professional with Prudential who spent six years in the Air Force and calls the experience “meaningful.”  “I had the opportunity to lead others,” Peter says. “I was one of the younger ones, and to be recognized as a leader by people older than me was meaningful.  It laid a foundation: you can lead large groups or one person, but it’s what’s in you, not the number of people you’re leading, that counts.”  Peter was raised in a military family and said his dad and brothers more than influenced his decision to serve.  “My brothers were in, and my dad outright told me, ‘you’re going into the military,’” Peter says. “I’m glad I did it before College.  It gave me the chance to grow up.  To give back to the community, to be in the position to make a difference—I really enjoyed that.” 

A father of five, Peter’s desire to serve others now informs his work with Prudential.  “A lack of financial security is one of the leading reasons for divorce,” he says.  “I want to get my clients financially healthy and get them in a position where you don’t have to worry.”  Peter sees the CFP and ChFC is as the natural next step in his career.  “The goal with this education is to take it the next step further – not only be an advocate but to be recognized as a leader and expert in my area, and someone who can make a difference.”  We’re proud to know Peter and we’re thankful for his service.  Congratulations! 

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


Tara Snead

Tara Snead (Virginia Beach, VA) is an Active Duty Navy Chief Warrant Officer with almost 30 years of service in administration and management.  Tara’s retirement date is coming up in February 2021, and she is looking for a post-military career that will allow her to leverage her expertise in operational readiness and managing high performing teams to a successful post-military career.  To aid in that transition, Tara is working with The Honor Foundation, a transition readiness program for military Special Forces based in Virginia Beach.  “I am unsure of what is next for me, but I’m a team player and I go out of my way to help anyone,” Tara says.  “My goal is to assist people and aid in their success.” 

To support in her post-military success, Tara will be completing the Master of Science in Management (MSM) degree. “The emphasis on leadership in this degree is phenomenal,” Tara says.  “It fits with everything I have accomplished on my resume.  It is a blessing, which I hope will set me apart from everybody else.”  We’re proud of Tara’s service and we wish her the best in this next chapter.  Bravo Zulu!

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

Joshua Ortiz

Joshua Ortiz (Lubbock, TX) says he was given two post-high school options by his parents: college or the military.  After a few semesters in school, Josh wanted to explore his other option.   “College wasn’t for me at the time.  I really wanted to be a police officer but I wasn’t old enough, so I enlisted in the Air Force.”  Josh spent five years in uniform and was deployed to Bahrain for six months following September 11th, 2001.  He served on active and reserve duty until 2003, when he transitioned at the rank of Staff Sergeant.  His goal of becoming a police officer was realized in 2004 when he joined the Lubbock police department.  A graduate of Texas Tech University, Josh completed a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2010 and then the Masters in Personal Financial Planning in 2017. 

Currently, Josh is a police detective with the Lubbock police department and a Paraplanner for Amicus Financial Advisors, LLC. “I think everyone needs financial planning,” he says.  As his career progresses, he wants to combine his financial services acumen with his law enforcement experience by focusing on retiring police officers and improving the level of service offered to them.  “I know that I could be a better option for them.”  Josh will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® designation, which will provide him with a comprehensive education to better serve those who’ve served us.  We’re proud of Joshua’s service and we wish him the best in his studies!  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Col Irwin Gorman, USAF (Ret) and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Colonel Kim Mahoney

Colonel Kim Mahoney (Winesprings, CA) is active in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve and a financial professional with Pacific Advisors.  A career aviator, much of Kim’s service has been spent in the cockpit of an F-18, including 300 carrier landings and 3 combat tours.  As his career advanced, so did his education.  After earning an economics degree from UC Santa Barbara, Kim completed an MBA at USC while on Active Duty. A husband and father, Kim transitioned to the reserves after 16 years of Active service so he could spend more time with his family.  “You don’t get that time back, once they go to College,” he says. 

Kim started his financial services career in 2011 as a State Farm agent.  “As I got into finance, I saw that it’s something in which you can make a profound difference – it can change the generational arc of a family,” Kim says. “You can set things up to make it better for this generation and the ones after.”  In his current role on Pacific Advisors’ Advanced Financial Strategy team, Kim works with high net worth clients and he’s looking to bolster up his experience with education.  By completing the Wealth Management Certified Professional® (WMCP®) program, Kim will have a cutting-edge, scientific financial education that will allow him to provide his clients with a comprehensive path to success.  We’re proud of Kim’s service and we know he’ll do great things with his education.  Congratulations!    

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of supporters in Honor of Howard Levin, and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Brian Lindberg

Brian Lindberg (Norfolk, VA) enlisted in the Navy at 17 years old, and says that his reason for serving was the same as a lot of people his age – September 11, 2001.  “I was a sophomore in high school at the time and I felt compelled to join like a lot of other people.”  After graduating high school, Brian started boot camp and went on to train as an aviation electrician.  Alongside his career training, Brian was a pitcher for the Navy Baseball team and spent two months traveling with the U.S. All Star Military Baseball Team as their closing pitcher.  “That was my first ‘deployment’,” Brian says.  “Traveling in 15-passenger vans, playing baseball for public relations events for the Navy.”

Brian has always had an interest in finance, but his introduction to financial services was serendipitous. After leaving the Navy, he completed his associates degree and got a job working for ADT Security. He was with ADT for a few years when he met the owner of a financial planning firm on a sales call.  “I came in to check out his security system, and he liked my sales approach.”  Now that he’s earned his Series 65 and his insurance license, Brian wants to start earning designations to specialize his expertise.  First on his list is the Retirement Income Certified Professional®. “I want to be at the top of the totem pole and want some credibility.  I see these designations as a way to enhance my credibility.”  We’re thrilled to help Brian and we wish him the best in his new career!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Robert Miller in honor of Sidney M. Miller and as always, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Lemoyne “Joey” Henry


Lemoyne "Joey" Henry (Virginia Beach, VA) is an Active Duty Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and intelligence officer currently stationed in Virginia Beach.  “I joined because I was a stubborn 17 year old and people said I couldn’t do it,” he says. Twelve years later, Joey has been through multiple deployments to Afghanistan -- oftentimes voluntarily extending his stay so that other Marines could go home to be with their families instead – and is currently an instructor in Intelligence school.  He’s looking toward his future and feels like it’s time to make a change.  “The Marine Corps has been a great career so far, but I want to start building a family.”  His initial plan, post-Marine Corps, is to move into intelligence contracting, but he wants to build a book of business and do financial planning on the side. 

He plans to use this education to reach what he sees as an underserved market: his generation.  “The millennial generation is losing out on the availability of relatable advisors,” Joey says. To increase his confidence and education, he’ll be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® program, which will give him the vital financial planning skills that he needs to continue serving in a different way.  We’re very proud of Joey’s accomplishments, and we wish him the best in his coursework.  Congratulations!

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


Angel Torres, CFP®

Angel Torres, CFP® (Miami, FL) calls his six years in the Marine Corps, , “an honor”. His time in uniform took him all over Europe – Spain, Turkey, and Angola, Africa.  “It was an eye-opening experience for me,” he says. 

In his civilian life, most of Angel’s experience has been related to corporate finance.  “It was more international than domestic,” he says, but he’s also worked for major American companies like Dell and Black & Decker.  Now, Angel has his own business, New Horizon MC, LLC, through which he offers CFO strategies and services to small, niche businesses.  “It’s a new concept that I’ve been trying to drive,” he says, and it’s going well.  In January of this year, Angel sat for and passed the CFP Certification exam.  Now he wants to build on that education by completing the requirements for the Chartered Financial Consultant® designation, which will round out his financial planning education.  “I want to get all the knowledge possible,” Angel says.  “This will add more value to my profession.”  We loved getting to know Angel and we wish him the best in his coursework – congratulations!

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


Jason Bohling

Jason Bohling (Meridian, ID) spent six years in the Air Force, from 2000-2006.  Upon his promotion to Staff Sergeant, Jason was put in an accounting and control center role, which allowed him to develop a  passion for advising others.  “I loved it when we got new Airmen in.” Jason says.  “They had no idea how the adult world worked – especially the financial aspect! I loved sitting down with them and explaining – this is how your retirement account works, this is how your healthcare works – I loved helping them navigate it all.”  

Jason’s Air Force career was cut short by a number of injuries for which he is still in rehabilitation, but he’s got plans for himself for his next chapter.  “I want a fulfilling career, I want to make a difference, I want to help people,” he says.  “The desire to serve doesn’t go away when you take the uniform off.”  But first, Jason understands he has to help himself first and learn.  “It’s my responsibility to be as educated as I can,” he says.  To that end, he’ll be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® designation program, which will provide him with a solid foundation to build a successful career upon.  “I need to know what I’m doing and I need to be able to speak to people from an area of knowledge,” Jason says.  We believe he’s on the right track for a lot of success and we thank him for his service.  Congratulations!

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


Jaye Smith

Jaye Smith (Columbus, MS) always wanted to serve in the military, but he also wanted to be a music teacher.  “I went to school for music, but I quickly learned that for me, music was a hobby and not a job.”  He enlisted in the Air Force in 2004 and one of his early duties nuclear treaty monitoring; essentially testing samples from all over the world to determine if there was any evidence of a nuclear event. In fact, Jaye was actually on the team that was first to confirm that North Korea had been conducting nuclear testing – from analyzing samples in the lab! After spending six years enlisted and earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Policy, Jaye applied and was accepted to Officers Training School, and commissioned into the Air Force as an Officer in 2010.  Since then, he has been a Airfield Operations Officer, leading teams of air traffic controllers and airfield operations personnel. 

A proud husband and father, Jaye is looking ahead to his post-military life, and he thinks that financial services is the right path for him. “I’ve developed a love of finance,” he says.  “I’ve never studied it academically; it’s just a personal passion for me.  I know a lot for a layman but I know there’s so much else to figure out.”  To equip him for a successful second career, Jaye wants to complete the Certified Financial Planner® designation.  “When I step into this industry, I’ll be well behind the other folks my age.  This will give me not only the education I need, but it’ll also help me catch up to my peers in my age group.”  We loved getting to know Jaye and we thank him for his service!  Congratulations!

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


Elisabeth Meqsuit, CFA®

Elisabeth Meqsuit, CFA® (Portland, OR) is an Investment Advisor Representative and spouse of a veteran Air Force Colonel with over twenty years of service.  Lisa says she was working in financial services when she met her husband, who had just started his pilot training.  “He was kind of cute… and then it was a big adventure from there,” she says. 

Before she became a stay at home mom to her four children, Lisa was a CFA and financial service professional. Now that her children are approaching high school and college-age and are more independent, she is ready to immerse herself back into the profession and knows she needs to reinvigorate her skillset.  “The fundamentals are the same, but there are so many details,” she says.  “I’m very detail oriented, though. I gain confidence by knowing how things work.”  She’s eager to get back in the game and thinks that completing the Chartered Financial Consultant program and sitting for the CFP exam is the best first step for her.  This education will provide her with a new, strong foundation for her to grow her business and better serve her clients.  “I have seen the benefits of financial prudence and the pitfalls of financial mistakes play out in various scenarios,” Lisa says. “I find I enjoy connecting to my clients in a personal way like I connected to my military community. I appreciate our freedom and the wonder of our country — and gratitude is always a great foundation.”  We’re grateful to both Lisa and her husband, and we wish her the best in the ChFC®!  Congratulations!

This scholarship is possible through the generosity of Tracey Jones, and as always The Penn Mutual Center for Veteran Affairs.