Millikin major: Applied mathematics
- Other degrees:
- Master’s degree in college student affairs, Eastern Illinois University, 2008
- Master’s degree in applied statistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014
- Doctorate in education organization and leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014
Current employment: Statistician, State Farm Insurance Co.
Why did you choose MU?
There were many reasons I chose to attend Millikin. First, I was able to explore my academic interests as well as continue to play baseball. In addition, I really enjoyed Millikin’s campus. I also saw many opportunities to get involved. And it was close to home, but not in Bloomington-Normal. It just felt like home.
What activities did you participate in as a student at MU?
- I pitched on the JV baseball team during my freshman year.
- I was a member and served as treasurer for Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity.
- I was on Homecoming Court my senior year.
- I participated in intermural sports including softball, soccer, and others.
What are some of your accomplishments since graduating from Millikin?
- Vice President of Moses Montifiore Temple Board and past board member
- Nominated for the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Medal for the Department of Education at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014
- Received the National Data Institute Fellowship in 2012
- Received the Synergy Ph.D. Fellowship in 2012
- Received the Adele Williamson Outstanding Masters Research Award
- Received the Distinguished Graduate Student Award in 2008
- Received the Errett Warner and Stanley G. Rives Higher Education Presidential Award in 2008
When not supporting the Big Blue, what is your favorite thing to do?
- I enjoy spending time with family – my wife, Meghan, and children, Ari and Emma Kate.
- I am learning to play hockey with my son, Ari.
- I enjoy playing intermural softball with friends at work.
- I love to travel to new places with family.
Who is your most memorable MU professor or staff member and why?
Dr. Randal Beck [associate professor, mathematics] – When I decided to become a math major, Dr. Beck was always there as a resource, both inside and outside of the classroom. While math didn’t come easily at first, he always made it a fun challenge and gave me the support I needed to succeed. He also taught me the fun of statistics, and I took extra classes with him because I enjoyed them. While it took me a while to determine that I wanted to become a statistician, that choice was rooted in the experiences with Dr. Beck in the classroom and math lab.
Robin Steadman [administrative assistant, Office of Student Success] – As a student with a learning disability, testing was my least favorite part of college. However, Robin always made it better. She was there for the good and the bad and always had encouraging words. I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through without the support of disability services and Robin. It also served as a foundation for me to understand what resources I needed and what services were available to students with learning disabilities in higher education. This was critical as I pursued additional degrees.
What is your most memorable MU experience?
My Millikin experience extended for several years after college, since my wife and I met when I was a senior and she was a freshman. One of my most memorable experiences was proposing to her during Homecoming in 2007. I knew that this would be a challenge since she was so involved on campus. In fact, she tried to cancel our plans that night because Student Senate leadership was asked to attend the Alumni Awards Dinner. However, with the help of [The late] David Womack [then Dean of Student Life & Academic Development], she received an email saying she wasn’t needed, with no explanation. Many of our closest friends from SAE and Tri Delta were involved in my elaborate plan. I proposed at Bizou, she said yes, and the rest is history.
My most memorable experience during my actual time at Millikin was Bid Day for Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Many of my closest friends on campus decided to join the same fraternity as I had. We all received our bids and made our choice independently, so I was so excited to go to the fraternity house and find that my best friends were now going to be my brothers.
What is one concept you learned at Millikin that you use regularly?
I learned how to learn new things, which has helped me immensely during my graduate career and now in my business career. I vividly remember my first day of modern dance class (my first day of any dance class, period), walking into a class full of dance minors. That experience taught me to work hard, think about the big picture, and just do it. I got a B, by the grace of the teacher; however, I learned more about myself in that class than in any academic class. That lesson has helped me fearlessly take on new challenges, which has led to my successes.
What advice do you give to current Millikin students about preparing for life after graduation?
Many people tell you that your four years at Millikin will fly by. Listen to them; it’s true. Cherish every moment you have at MU. Get involved. Try new things. Make new friends with experiences that are very different from your own, while also making the everlasting bonds with the friends you know will last a lifetime. These will be the experiences you will talk about and remember fondly.