ASU Students Win 3rd Place in Unum Innovation Challenge

News Date
ASU Students poise for a picture after the competition

By B. Marsalis Edwards, student intern

Alabama State University students Maia Martin and Deborah Warmate recently won 3rd Place in the UNUM Innovation Challenge Competition.

Earlier this summer, the UNUM Program and The Company Lab launched the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Innovation Challenge. The challenge, held on October 25, 2019, invited juniors and seniors from HBCU’s to compete in various challenges to solve a real-world issue facing the insurance industry. This challenge also allowed competitors to explore career opportunities at UNUM.

Andrea R. Mosely, director of ASU’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) said the competition was a great opportunity to showcase the talented students from Alabama State University College of Business Administration.

“Competitions like the UNUM Innovation Challenge are a testament to how corporations, nonprofit and higher education can collaborate through innovative solutions to support business and economic development and support HBCU students in ways that can catapult their academic and career trajectory.”

Students on stage during the competition

ASU senior Maia Martin, who was a part of a team that won 3rd place, describes her experience as being wonderful and extremely different from any other competitions she has participated in.

“In traditional competitions, you team up with members from your school and have a month, at least, to get your presentation together. UNUM, however, paired us with members from other HBCU's, which we have never met before, and gave us less than 24 hours to have our presentations ready.”

Martin also received a job offer after an individual interview with the company.

“I was honored when UNUM offered me a position with the company, but I am still keeping my options open. I went into the interview willing to listen to the offer, while still keeping in mind where I see myself upon graduation.” 

Wade Hinton, vice president of Inclusion and Diversity at UNUM said it’s a great way for the company to identify potential talent.

“The UNUM Innovation Challenge gives high-performing, talented students the opportunity to solve real business problems, while gaining exposure to the employee benefits industry.”

Mosely said the students were exposed to valuable mentoring and advisement that will have an indelible impact on their lives.  

“As we, foster this new relationship with UNUM, ASU’s Percy J. Vaughn College of Business Administration hopes to identify opportunities for internship and future careers for our students.”  


The UNUM group is one of the leading providers in disability income protection worldwide. Through its broad portfolio of financial protection benefits and services in the workplace, the company provides disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision benefits that protect millions of working people and their families.

Group picture from competition