Victoria “Tori” Monterusso says the path to success is never easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. She finished her undergraduate degree as one of the Class of 2018 Top Five Graduates and earned the Donald A. Morris Academic Excellence Award. After graduation, Tori will launch her career as an assistant software developer at Auto-Owners Insurance in Lansing. On her journey, Tori made countless lifelong memories, built relationships with some of the most influential people in her life, grew as a person and a professional, and much more.
Finding Her Fit
When it was time to make her college selection, Tori knew she wanted to attend a small college where she could be a name, not a number. Growing up with a passion for math, she was excited to learn about The University of Olivet’s actuarial science program and decided to become a Comet, grateful for the opportunity to reach her full potential in the coming years. And even better, Tori’s twin sister, Alyssa, found her fit at OC too, jumping at the chance to learn more about the sciences studying sociology and environmental science.
“The University of Olivet seemed like a great fit for me,” Tori explained. “Professors told me about all the opportunities on campus and I could tell that I wasn’t just going to be a number on campus. The value of relationship is very high, and I am fortunate to have been able to gain many friends, mentors and supporters during my time at OC.”
Tori Monterusso, Future Software Developer
As Tori began her studies in actuarial science, she learned more about the role actuaries play in the insurance industry, and even joined Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), the college’s professional insurance and risk management fraternity. During her senior year, she served as the organization’s chief recording and reporting officer and was responsible for submitting monthly reports on the chapter’s activity to the grand chapter. Tori says she gained many valuable networking, time movement, and other career skills through GIS, but especially appreciates the opportunities to travel afforded to her through the organization.
“I was able to travel to Dallas, Chicago, Columbus and other places to attend professional conferences through Gamma. Those opportunities allowed me to network with insurance professionals and students from around the country, and get to know my peers outside of the classroom too,” Tori said. “I enjoyed traveling and connecting with others so much that I also attended several service trips. I performed disaster relief in Houston, New Orleans, South Carolina and Puerto Rico. Deciding to take the plunge to leave your comfort zone and get a new experience is incredible.”
Further, Tori says her college experience was shaped by the chance to participate in the President’s Leadership Institute, an invitation-only, yearlong training program dedicated to developing top leadership in Olivet’s students, as well as enabling them to become the principal professional and community leaders of the future. Through the program, Tori learned a tremendous amount about herself, and also learned more about high performing teams and the role she can play. The institute culminates with a group project, allowing participants to put their new skills into action. Tori and her team proposed a plan to encourage more students to take advantage of tutoring services at The University of Olivet, one of the many amazing ways students can build relationships with other Comets who will help them succeed.
“Regardless of which classroom I was in, where I sat in the Kirk Center or my path through the Square, I always felt like I was surrounded by great people who cared about me and my goals,” Tori said. “My sister, Alyssa, and roommate, Katie Ordiway, started my family at OC. Rich Lehman, student account specialist, is one of the friendliest staff members and helped me realize my goals. Tom Humphreys, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, CIC, director of The University of Olivet risk management and insurance program and assistant professor of insurance, risk management and financial planning, is extremely supportive and always welcomes students into his office. He’s been like a parent to me, and was one of the first people I called when received the job offer from Auto-Owners.
“Janine Peters, mathematics and computer science department chair and associate professor of mathematics, has been my most influential professor during my time as a student. She has been my adviser since I was a freshman, and even when I had the mindset that I didn’t need to ask for help, she was always willing to sit down with me. Professor Peters truly cares about the success of her students. She has consistently supported and motivated me throughout my four years at The University of Olivet.”
Support to Succeed
Reflecting on her college journey, Tori wants other students to take advantage of the relationships and opportunities around them too. She said, “Take opportunities in the moment. Be involved and say yes. Attend career fairs and talk to employers, even as a freshman. Try new things. Leave campus. Give back. Learn as you go. Be part of a culture of success for all.”
Learn more about opportunities for students at The University of Olivet by visiting campus or attending an upcoming admissions event. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.