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scholarships i received
- Academic scholarship
- Music scholarship
favorite spot on campus
Eckhardt Lounge, Science Building, and 55th Avenue
Advanced Corporate Finance with John Visser. I learned so much about the real business world from such a wise man.
a concept that blew my mind
It blew my mind that college is about learning how to learn. In a world where a degree in a specific concentration is expected in order to get a specific job (read: actuarial science), my time at Dordt primarily taught me how to live life effectively. Sure, I learned the business and math basics which propelled me into this career, but it's the skills of learning and living in general that will carry me further down the path God has called me. Exams and formal education are nominally proof of knowledge, but realistically proof of ability to learn.
cool things i did at dordt
I think everything I did at Dordt was cool! I would separate those cool things out into three categories: extracurricular activities, professional development, and social interactions.
For extracurriculars, the coolest things were playing trumpet in concert band and analyzing stocks in Defender Capital Management. Band tours were AMAZING, and I'll never forget seeing half the country while making beautiful music with quality people. DCM was special, too, because where else can a college student manage $400,000+ in equity markets?
While at Dordt, I was given numerous opportunities for professional development. I gathered, analyzed, and communicated data for Dordt College doing institutional research one summer. My two other summers were spent as an actuarial intern at Principal Financial Group, where I predicted interest crediting rates on life insurance products and managed reserve valuation calculations on variable annuity products. I also spent one semester doing biostatistics research, which was way out of my comfort zone but amazing. I learned how to write an academic research paper (which got published!) and present complex procedures and results at an international statistics conference in San Diego, CA.
BUT the coolest stuff I did at Dordt were the little things with friends. I said "yes" to almost all social activities and it led me to some awesome people and memorable times. When I think about my time at Dordt, I think about my friends and all of the fun stuff we did together on and off campus. THAT is what is cool about Dordt.
obstacles i've overcome
My first 12 months out of Dordt were difficult. The culture in the finance department of a Fortune 250 company with 16,000 employees is drastically different than the culture at a Christian liberal arts college of 1,400 students. I was suddenly immersed in a place where the focus is on bottom-line dollars after being spending four years in a place where the focus is on our God above. I am so thankful that those four years at Dordt helped me know what is important in life, how to focus on what is good while interacting with people and beliefs so different from mine. It took a year of struggle and repeatedly being torn down, but I'm so confident now in how God is using me in this new place.
who i was when i came to dordt
When I first arrived at Dordt, I was small-minded. I knew there was more out there, but did not believe interacting with the world outside of a small bubble was something I could do. I had very narrow views of friendship, faith, work, and fun. The people at Dordt ripped those views wide open in the best ways.
how dordt impacted me
Absolutely Dordt had an impact on who I've become. It's difficult to describe succinctly, because I attribute so much of my growth into my current character to my time at Dordt. Ultimately, my time at Dordt thoroughly prepared me to pursue God relentlessly through scripture, friendship, work, and fun. Those narrow views I listed above were critical elements in need of change if I was going to live a life pleasing to God after college.
where i am now
After I finish writing this, I'm going to go study for my next actuarial exam: Predictive Analytics. Next in life, I plan on continuing in my current role as an actuary, but look forward to traveling more and pursuing good friendships through my church.
I am extremely blessed to have an amazing job in the field I wanted to be in. I am in the Actuarial Development Program at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, IA. As a member of the program, I work full-time alongside credentialed actuaries while getting company support to attain a credential for myself. This means getting financial aid for the exams and paid time away from work to study for them. It's stressful, but a huge benefit to have the support of the company.
Another perk of the program is that I get to rotate between business units every couple of years. In my internships at Principal I worked in valuation of variable annuities one summer and in-force management of life insurance another summer. I currently price dental insurance for group employer accounts, which involves developing a dynamic formula to price a flexible dental product for any employer group across the country at the click of a button. My current role gives me leadership opportunities on impactful projects where I can provide innovative solutions and present results to senior management. When I rotate to a new business role in a few months, I will be doing something completely different on a completely different insurance product!
what i would tell prospective students
Go to Dordt!
how dordt helped me do more
My experience at Dordt taught me how to be a student forever. There is so much to learn, and accordingly, so much to DO in this world. I once heard the phrase, "if you're bored, it's your own fault" and I couldn't agree more. The people at Dordt instilled in me a passion for what I do each day. Whether professionally, socially, or personally, this passion leads me to days that fly by because they're full of busyness and productivity. I love it!