Graduation Spotlight: Kenda Barnes, Mathematical Sciences

Kenda Barnes

Kenda Barnes (mathematical sciences) is a shining example of the power of an internship. She knew she wanted to major in math, but at first she didn’t have a clear career path. “I’ve always liked math. I was good at it. I started out as an accounting major, but ultimately that just wasn’t for me. I did a lot of research on career paths in math, and came to actuarial science. It combines a lot of the things I love about math: problem solving, and even coding and working in excel.”

In October 2015, with the help of Joe Francis (professional actuary in residence and continuing lecturer, mathematical sciences) and the IPFW Cooperative Education (Co-Op), Barnes landed a paid actuarial internship with MedPro, a healthcare malpractice insurance provider. After working 20hrs a week there for the past year and a half, MedPro offered Barnes a full-time actuarial position starting May 30.

Barnes credits everyone from Francis to Peter Dragnev (professor and chair, mathematical sciences) to department secretary Sheila McFarland with her success. “Everyone is so helpful. The professors are always willing to stay after hours if you need help or have questions. Professor Francis has been super helpful at getting students involved and finding them internships. He’s just really encouraging and positive.”

And her advice to actuarial students? Internships are out there, and you can find them with a little work: “There are lots of places for actuaries in Fort Wayne. Swiss Re, Lincoln Financial, MedPro, and more. I have known so many students who have gotten internships while studying at IPFW. Talk to your professors, talk to the Co-Op, join the actuarial club. There are internships out there, and many of them are willing to hire students after graduation if they’ve passed some of their actuarial exams.”

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