Graduate success

Nathan Nieuwendorp ’13Actuarial assistant, Principal Financial Group
Des Moines, Iowa

Number cruncher
Nathan chose Northwestern because it aligned the main interests in his life: mathematics, football and a curriculum rooted in Christian beliefs. During his senior year in high school, he was encouraged by Northwestern professor Wayne Westenberg to explore the field of actuarial science. By the time he graduated from NWC, Nathan had earned majors in actuarial science and finance and secured an actuarial position at the Principal Financial Group.

How well did Northwestern prepare you for your career?

Northwestern helped me develop the tools to be successful in my career. Math and business courses gave me strong technical skills, which I use on a day-to-day basis. Northwestern also helped me develop my soft skills, like communication and leadership, which really set me apart during the interview process. I’m very thankful for the complete education I received, and especially grateful for the work Dr. Tim Huffman and Dr. Graham Lemke have put into the actuarial science program. Through their guidance, I believe Northwestern’s actuarial program is as strong—if not stronger—than many of the programs at larger universities.

What are some of your favorite memories from NWC?

Being part of the football team and spending countless hours lifting, practicing and playing football with guys I care about. And I always looked forward to visiting Dr. Lemke in his office; we would talk about anything and everything—from economics to football to theology to game theory.

What did you most appreciate about your math mentors?

The friendliness of the professors. Their classes sharpened my skills and challenged me. They also weren’t afraid to offer a logical Christian perspective on many cultural happenings. They not only invested in their students’ knowledge of mathematics, but in their students as people.

In what ways did your mathematics/actuarial science studies challenge and strengthen your faith?

Math is an extremely logical and comprehensive discipline. Everything you learn builds on a basic mathematical foundation. The more you learn, the more complex things become, but they must all be in line with the basic foundation. This approach to problem-solving spills over into the rest of my life. As I continue to study the Bible and develop a more comprehensive theology, everything I learn must be rooted in the basic foundation set forth in Scripture.

What are your future career goals?

I am working toward earning my Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA) designation and ultimately my Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA), which is essentially a terminal degree.

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