On Feb. 17-18, Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Delta Gamma Chapter representatives had the opportunity to participate in the annual regional conference in Indianapolis, alongside hundreds of professionals from acclaimed insurance and financial services firms.
GIS, newly established at DePauw, is an international collegiate professional fraternity organized to promote, encourage and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science as professions.
The representatives included GIS Delta Gamma Chapter faculty advisor, professor, and chair of the department of mathematical sciences, Dr. Zhixin Wu, senior Zoie Obst, juniors Samuel Renggli, Undram Temuuji, Minh Do, Wendy Hoang and Phuong Tran, and sophomores Charlotte Zhao, Gigi Nguyen, Loc Nguyen, Hieu Nguyen, Nam Ho, and Ayusha Bhattarai.
After the registration and continental breakfast, the first day of the conference started with an opening session and keynote address by Craig Kliethermes, president & CEO of RLI Insurance Company, where he shared his career journey, career motivation, and advice with students.
“Success is not a straight line. Be passionate. Be impactful. Be curious. Be patient. Be accountable. Be visible. Be intentional. And be generous,” Kliethermes said.
In the Lunch & GammaSAID Fireside chat with Michael Blackshear, the chief compliance & policy officer and head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) of Ryan Specialty Group, Blackshear addressed the importance of DEI plays in the insurance industry.
“The insurance industry has a sincere desire to operationalize and implement DEI in a way that produces achievable and sustained results,” Blackshear said.
The career fair was followed by the keynote speakers’ presentations, with nearly 50 companies’ booths.
“As a student still seeking a summer internship, I found the career fair extremely helpful as it allowed me to talk to recruiters from different companies, get to know more about them, and try out for their internship programs. The career fair was a chance for me to make a good impression on the recruiter and, thus, hopefully, gain the possibility of getting an interview from them,” sophomore Hieu Nguyen said.
Throughout the conference, students were able to participate in four educational sessions, providing students a sense of the industry’s core values and potential: A Meteorologist’s Perspective on Insurance, presented by Munich Re, Mitigating Property Risk Through IoT (Internet of Things), presented by The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, Insuring the Greater Good in our Community, presented by Great American Insurance Group, and Professional Development Session: Mental Health.
This semester, Renggli is doing a semester-long internship with Katie Koch (FCAS, MAAA, VP & Principal of Lewis & Ellis, Inc), who was the former Casualty Actuarial Society University Program Liaison at DePauw. Renggli attended the educational session: CAS Interactive Warranty Case Study, alongside Koch to present a case study of a cell phone warranty plan and let students visualize how actuaries do pricing in property and casualty.
DePauw student representatives also had the opportunity to have a private dinner with AF Group, where they discussed career development and real-world experiences.
Sharing about this experience, Zhao said, “It was fun, they gave us helpful guidance for our career paths and academic life. They have interdisciplinary experience, including journalism, data science, underwriting, and other aspects. It was useful as I plan to major in [computer science] and minor in data science. They also gave us some real-world ideas for working as an intern in the future.”
Obst, president of the GIS Delta Gamma Chapter, was one of the student leaders invited to navigate the “What Can GIS Do For You?” panel on the second conference day, in which she shared her leadership and professional experiences with the attendees
“I was able to speak in front of 100+ students about my passion for Gamma Iota Sigma along with sharing my advice with other chapters. Being a student-led panel made for an engaging and extremely beneficial experience,” Obst said.
Graduating this spring and having landed a full-time position, Obst also shared her advice with DePauw’s actuarial science and incoming Business-major students on enhancing leadership skills with opportunities on campus.
“I would push students to join as many organizations on campus as they can! And, if there isn’t currently an organization that fits your passions, start your own! It not only builds your resume, but also allows you to create a community of other students with the same passions as you,” Obst said.
The 52nd GIS Annual International Conference takes place Sept. 28-30 this fall in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Wu was recently awarded the Spencer Course Development Grant, funded by the AF group, to support students to attend the GIS Annual International Conference.
More future events on campus and conference opportunities updates can be found on Gamma Iota Sigma Delta Gamma Chapter Instagram account, @gis_depauw, and CampusLabs!