Amanda Johnson ’13

Amanda Johnson

Hometown: Richland, WA
Major: Mathematics

I enrolled at SPU as an English major, but after one quarter I knew that it wasn’t the right fit. Since I’d always enjoyed math, I decided to take calculus. I loved the class and began pursuing a degree in Mathematics. I signed up for the Mentor Program, and that had a large part in my deciding to be a Mathematics major. I pursued an internship and began to learn about actuarial work — which led me to realize the many different career options that I could have. The major also made me realize that math is both challenging and creative.

What I appreciated most about the Mathematics program was how small the classes were and how often professors were available for one-on-one help. They made it possible for me and other students to fully comprehend the material. At SPU, I wasn’t just one of several hundred in a lecture hall. I was given opportunities to be challenged and solve problems, rather than simply memorizing formulas and processes.

My internship eventually transitioned into a full-time actuarial position at Premera Blue Cross. Paying for health care is often difficult and confusing, and it feels good to know that my work has an actual impact on individual people in the world. Even though the Mathematics major is challenging, it can be accomplished with drive and discipline, and the reward is an array of career paths.

 Gerrit Feenstra

Gerrit Feenstra ’12

Gerrit Feenstra was undecided on a major until SPU faculty members helped him connect his passion with his career goals.