Math Alumni Success Stories

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Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Christine Petersen, Administrative Assistant
Acklie, Room 226
Lincoln, NE 68504
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cpeters2 [at] (cpeters2[at]nebrwesleyan[dot]edu)

Math Alumni Success Stories

Leanne Hinrichs

Leanne Hinrichs, Mathematics and Sociology-Anthropology, 2015

[My work] involves lots of problem solving and cross-functional collaboration to deliver technical solutions for enterprise data challenges. I have prior career experience as a business analyst and in data management. The courses (and professors!) at Wesleyan constantly challenged me and encouraged me to think out of the box. At first it made me uneasy to face a challenging problem where I didn't know where to begin but I became more comfortable over time. I spent many, many hours with my professors outside of lecture!


Curtis Dlouhy, Mathematics and Economics, 2015

As a part of my teaching fellowship [at University of Oregon], I run discussion sections for microeconomics and macroeconomics classes. I love creating problems that involve little bits of math intuition to solve seemingly complex economic problems and seeing my students gain insight.  Many economic models involve a few small assumptions and then are solved using advanced calculus, algebraic, and statistical techniques.  These models do a good job of approximating real-world behavior and I still find it fascinating that these models are built almost entirely from mathematical properties.

Graduate-level economics is built from the ground up using almost entirely higher-level math.  Within the first three weeks of my graduate program, I was using things that I had learned in Real Analysis, Abstract Algebra, Linear Algebra, Math Stats, Differential Equations and Calculus to build up the economic theory that is used in almost all economic research and models.  My math education at NWU helped me enter the PhD program much more prepared than all others in my cohort.


Jacob Herink, Mathematics and Computer Science, 2014

I work in the Structures division where we manufacture lighting and traffic poles. I write programs to automate drawing creation, perform engineering analysis, and support business processes.  I like my job because there is something new all the time. NWU did an excellent job preparing me. The professors always had high standards which instilled a habit of needing to provide a high quality work product. They also gave me the tools that I needed to grow in the ever-changing world of technology.


Mike Watson

Mike Watson, Mathematics, 2014

I teach mathematics at an international school in Tokyo following the Cambridge curriculum. After graduating from NWU, I was so intrigued by Dr. Erdmann’s abstract algebra class that I completed a master’s degree in this field. I am deeply grateful to the NWU mathematics professors who have been my mentors through the years. They have inspired me to find a love and passion in the pursuit of knowledge, and to find strength and confidence in myself. It is my goal to be committed to my students’ growth and well-being to the same extent that NWU showed to me. I owe a special thank you to the following educators for their devotion to my personal growth during my time at NWU: Drs. Pfabe, Erdmann, Mohr, Swanson, and Professor Emeritus Skoug.

The liberal arts education I received not only prepared me for life abroad, but made me discover my true motivations in life and opened me to this new opportunity. You never know exactly where you will land, and NWU has prepared me for an incredible journey in Japan.


Brent McKain

Brent McKain, Mathematics and Physics, 2011

I work as a software developer at National Indemnity Company primarily on our flagship software product.  I use my mathematical background to improve existing functions/calculations and make them more efficient.  I also work on a side-project to automate as much of our day-to-day tasks as much as possible. I work primarily with C#/VB.NET and SQL, although I'm getting some practice with JavaScript as well.

Wesleyan was great not only for the sheer quality of instruction, but because the small class sizes made students feel very comfortable asking questions.  Having taught at a larger institution where this wasn't the case, I can personally attest to how much of a difference it makes.


Anessa Price

Anessa Price, Mathematics, 2011

I enjoy working with students and being able to help them discover mathematics and new ways of thinking. NWU prepared me to be an independent thinker. Through the different math classes, I was prepared to think deeper. I keep in touch with a lot of other math teachers who graduated from NWU.


Steve Harder, Mathematics, 2001

Horace Mann is a company that sells individual insurance and retirement products to K-12 educators, so being a former high school math teacher I really enjoy still being connected to education. A degree in Mathematics can lead you to a successful career in multiple fields. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box post-grad.


Renae Kurmel

Renae Kurmel, Mathematics, 1989

I currently manage a group of 75 credit underwriters, analysts, and support staff.  We process credit card applications for new accounts and credit increases, as well as bankcard loans.  I'm honored to be a part of a great team and no day is ever boring! 

When I graduated, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do.  I think a liberal arts experience helped me prepare for and succeed in a professional environment.  I think about all the non-math classes I took and I'm thankful to have been 'rounded out'.


Debbi Osler

Debbi Osler, Mathematics and Economics, 1978

One of my first jobs was tracking stock market, bond, and commercial paper trades for individual retirement accounts in an investment research and management firm. It was fascinating to be part of the Boston and New York City financial industry and to handle accounts worth hundreds of million dollars. When I moved back to Nebraska, I worked for what is now the Health and Human Services Agency for the State of Nebraska. I performed a wide variety of jobs in my positions as Research Analyst and Program Analyst. I wrote and ran computer programs extracting Medicaid data, researched and wrote fiscal notes for the legislature as they voted on new bills, prepared budget figures for the agency for state and federal reports, and used Medicaid data for reports on specific illnesses and populations.

[At Nebraska Wesleyan], I was encouraged to contribute my thoughts and information towards classroom discussion and projects. In today’s workplace, you will be expected to do more than reiterate what you learned at college. Everyone needs a solution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, share knowledge and continue to learn.