Commencement celebration, birthday align for Hindmand

· 5 min read

Commencement celebration, birthday align for Hindmand

Sarah Hindman is photographed in her graduation cap and gown at Hawks Hall.
Murengezi Atali Benimana | Business
Sarah Hindmand of Mount Prospect, Illinois, graduates on May 18 with a bachelor's degree in actuarial science and finance. She crosses the stage to receive her diploma on her 22nd birthday.

As a young girl in Mount Prospect, Illinois, Sarah Hindmand sported Husker shirts and told everyone who would listen of her plans to go to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

On May 18, Hindmand will celebrate her 22nd birthday and cross the commencement stage in Memorial Stadium to receive her bachelor’s degree in actuarial science and finance. Her next step is to start a new career as an actuarial analyst with WoodmenLife.

“It seems like it’s all meant to happen with commencement on my birthday. My dad is from Lincoln, so this campus always felt like a second home,” said Hindmand, who plans to celebrate the big day with her parents and extended family in the Lincoln community.

Traveling to the capitol city throughout the years and walking around City Campus instilled a love for the university and Lincoln in Hindmand. So much so that she recreated photos of her and her dad touring the city from when she was little.

“My dad would take us to Morrill Hall and Memorial Stadium,” Hindmand said. “We used to do handstands on the pillars outside of the stadium and seeing Archie (the mammoth statue by Morrill Hall) was always a highlight of our visit.”

In middle school, her parents told her about actuarial science and how she could find ways to manage risk and its financial consequences using her love for math and attention to detail. They also shared how Nebraska was one of the first schools selected as a Center of Actuarial Excellence. Recently, Nebraska also became one of only nine programs in the United States designated as a University-Earned Credit school by the Society of Actuaries.

“This gave me a clear reason to go to Nebraska and I liked the idea of being an actuary because of the challenge and amount of math used for the exams,” Hindmand said. “I wanted a background in business because regardless of how good someone is at math or technical skills, they need be able to apply the business and communication sides to be a good actuary.”

Her junior and senior years of high school she looked at other colleges with strong actuarial science programs, and even visited. However, she always came back to Nebraska.

“Lincoln is where I always felt happiest ever since I was young,” she said. “I remember enjoying the long car rides here, taking the Amtrak at odd hours, and visiting Morrill Hall more times than I could count. I’ve always felt like this is where I belong, and it all contributed to my love for this community and school.”

With four professional actuarial exams already completed, she credits Sue Vagts, director of the Actuarial Science Program, Ameritas Actuarial Faculty Fellow, David P. Hayes Chair of Actuarial Science and associate professor of practice at the College of Business, for keeping her motivated.

“She was always open to chatting, whether about actuarial science or something completely unrelated. She’s a great resource and provides great advice,” Hindmand said. “She also told me about the Math Motivators program and encouraged me to assist high school students with math.”

Volunteering weekly at Lincoln High School was especially meaningful, as it was her dad’s alma mater.

“It allowed me to help the community he grew up in and the high school he attended. I wanted to make a positive impact as a lot of students struggle to learn math,” said Hindmand. “There were times I thought my hard work was paying off in middle school until I performed poorly because I didn’t seek additional help. I connected with the students I helped because I understood what it was like.”

Hindmand also brushed up on her Spanish and learned the diamond method when teaching students how to factor a polynomial using the quadratic formula.

“After about two hours a week in algebra class, a Spanish-speaking student started asking me questions in Spanish,” she said. “The teacher then had me teach him in a small group with two other Spanish-speaking students. I had them contribute to solving the problem together, worked through problems and made sure they could explain the steps. It seemed to really benefit them having me help them in Spanish.”

At the college, Hindmand noted the many opportunities she had to meet other students and professionals in the insurance industry. Last fall, she attended the Society of Actuaries annual conference.

“I met a lot of actuaries who gave me advice and learned about various topics in insurance, which has helped prepare me to work in the field,” she said. “This and conferences I attended with Gamma Iota Sigma, my business fraternity, provided opportunities I’m not sure I would have had at other schools.”

Working with career coaches and staff from the Business Career Center, she applied for internships and jobs. The Professional Enhancement Program courses at the college also helped her learn about her individual talents, craft a resume and prepare for life after college.

“WoodmenLife offered me a full-time position, and I’ve had an internship there since January. It’s exciting to work for a great company and get to stay in Nebraska,” she said.

Citing her achievements, involvements and volunteer contributions in the college and community, Hindmand was named the April Student of the Month by the College of Business Student Advisory Board.

“Sarah shows up. She’s active in the Actuarial Science Club, held offices in Gamma Iota Sigma and serves as president of the Pride in Business recognized student organization. She also runs and has completed several marathons. I can always count on Sarah,” said Vagts, who nominated her for the award.

After commencement, Hindmand plans to take a walk across campus to celebrate her birthday with her family.

“After wanting to attend Nebraska my entire life, I’m very proud of what I have accomplished,” she said. “I’m prepared and ready to start my career.”

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