Former Whanganui High School student Clarissa Nowak has been awarded the 2018 Cigna Actuarial Scholarship, worth $5000.
Nowak, 20, is currently in her third year at Victoria University of Wellington where she is completing a bachelor of science.
"The Cigna scholarship was advertised on the Victoria University website, so I applied for it and I got it," Nowak said.
"I was really quite amazed because [Cigna is] obviously a big company, so for me that means a lot, not only financially, but also in terms of my future career."
Actuaries apply mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries.
The scholarship is intended to encourage students to consider the actuarial profession as a career path - a path that Nowak is following.
Nowak did not know about the actuarial career until she had started at Victoria.
"I started off with maths because I've always enjoyed it, which sounds weird, but I just didn't find it challenging enough," she said.
"Then I found out about actuarial science, so I took that up and now I'm doing a double major in maths and actuarial science."
Nowak said that Cigna has a really good team spirit and that she may get the opportunity to do an internship with the company.
Assessing risk is already a big factor in Nowak's life. During Summer she patrols Castlecliff and Mowhanau beaches.
"I'm originally from Germany, we moved here in 2010, my brother found out about being a surf lifeguard and got me into it," Nowak said.
"I've always enjoyed being in the water and around the water and I'm very confident in it, so being a surf lifeguard is ideal because that way I can also help the community."
Head of customer propositions and value at Cigna, Nathan Thomas, said he was impressed by Nowak's academic ability as an A+ student and her well-roundedness.
"Apart from being an outstanding candidate academically, Clarissa showed through her community involvement that she's passionate about helping others and making a positive difference.
"She's a good communicator and her involvement in the community really impressed us. We think an actuarial career will be a great fit for Clarissa."