Millikin major: Applied mathematics with minors in political science and business management
- Other degrees:
- Master’s degree in business administration, Indiana University, 2015
- Master’s degree in business analytics, Indiana University, 2016
Current employment: Research manager, State Farm Insurance Co.
Why did you choose MU?
When I arrived in Decatur after traveling eight hours from Knoxville, Tenn., and having an allergic reaction to the soy in the air, I swore Millikin was the last school I would ever attend. However, the campus visit ensured that it really was the last school I would attend for my bachelor’s degree! It was the first school visit where I was treated as an individual instead of a number. From Lin Stoner [dean emeritus of admission] visiting with my dad for hours while I sat in on some classes, to the music school handing me a personalized agenda – including rehearsal time with an accompanist – Millikin gave me a preview of what the next four years would be like. We drove into Millikin calling it a “practice audition,” and drove out talking about how it was the perfect fit.
What activities did you participate in as a student at MU?
I packed my days full at Millikin, and was involved in a variety of activities. The activities that shaped me the most were:
- Member of and served in a variety of leadership positions in Delta Delta Delta
- Served as student representative to the Board of Trustees/VP of the Student Senate
- Moot Court (part of Model Illinois Government) – Part of the winning team my freshman year, and organized the statewide simulation my junior year.
- James Kemper Scholar – Included internships, conferences, and helping select the next award recipients
- Presidential Scholar and member of the Honors Committee
- Involved in music – including choir, opera workshop, etc.
What are some of your accomplishments since graduating from Millikin?
- Became a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society in 2012, which meant passing nine challenging actuarial exams while balancing work and family
- Promoted to pricing manager within four years of starting at State Farm
- Earned my MBA and MS in business analytics while balancing work and family
- Continue to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Serve on various committees for the Casualty Actuarial Society
When not supporting the Big Blue, what is your favorite thing to do?
- Spending time with my husband, Jason, and children, Ari and Emma Kate
- Sewing quilts or costumes and clothes for the kids
- Singing in the local synagogue’s choir
- Traveling to new places with family
Who is your most memorable MU professor or staff member and why?
Dr. Randal Beck [associate professor, mathematics] – I first met Dr. Beck when I was taking the math placement test during orientation. I talked to him about taking Calculus III as an elective my first semester since I was a music major wanting to double major in math. While I’m sure Dr. Beck knew that eventually I would pursue math, he never pressured me to give up music. He even let me miss every Thursday of Calculus III my first semester of college so that I could attend my choir class. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to pursue actuarial science, and Dr. Beck was always there, guiding me and helping me find my path. I would not be where I am today without his patience, guidance and support.
Dr. Brian Posler [former assistant professor of political science and director of the honors program] – I first met Dr. Posler at my honors interview during my campus visit. He was one of the reasons I chose Millikin. He was a professor I could relate to, and he saw the spark in me that I didn’t see in myself. Once I was at Millikin, he was the first professor I told that I didn’t want to pursue a music career, and he helped me realize that I had potential in other areas as well. He let me take a junior level political science class my second semester without any prerequisites, just to see if I wanted to major in political science. He gave me the confidence to branch out and try different academic interests. While he was not at Millikin during my entire collegiate career, his influence was critical in helping me find my way (and we are even Facebook friends now!)
Dr. Robert Money [chair and professor of philosophy] – My freshman seminar was taught by this insanely intense professor who jumped on desks and challenged me to reconsider everything I ever thought I knew. After that, I took every class I could from him. He is brilliant, and challenged me academically more than any other professor. He taught me to think critically, which is a skill that has been essential to my success.
What is your most memorable MU experience?
It is hard to think of just one memorable experience, but they all have to do with Greek Life. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Late night Polar Pop runs with friends to be able to get that last paper done.
- Formal dances, which were a day-long affair, from getting ready with friends, to dinner at Los Mats, and the dance with awesome people.
- Standing outside in the freezing cold for recruitment, and feeling instantly at home when I walked into Tri Delta.
- Meeting my future husband at SAE my third week of school. We were set up by mutual friends who asked us to come over to watch a movie since we were both math majors.
What is one concept you learned at Millikin that you use regularly?
Problem solving, critical thinking and communication are key in the business world. Being able to find solutions that link together multiple seemingly dissimilar subjects, and communicate that solution to others are skills you learn through the liberal arts curriculum. They are hard concepts, and Millikin really helps you master these skills before you go out into the real world, where these skills differentiate you from others.
What advice do you give to current Millikin students about preparing for life after graduation?
It is OK to not know what you want to do. I changed my major/minor combination eight times during the four years I was at Millikin, and I eventually found my way. Focus on figuring out what motivates you, and what you are passionate about. Try new things. Try hard things that are outside of your comfort zone. Through that, you will find your path, and you will be even more prepared for life after graduation.