Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance Henry B. Tippie College of Business
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The University of Iowa

Peter Berg--A Recent Graduate Making a Difference

By Misti Huedepohl

Peter BergAs an undergraduate student majoring in finance, Peter Berg was one of the first students to recognize the value of the Certificate of Risk Management and Insurance offered at the Tippie College of Business. Before long, Peter took a leadership role as a founding member in Gamma Iota Sigma, the RMI-focused student organization, and served the organization as vice president of industry relations.

"For any student, the role of the vice president of industry relations can be a challenging job," explains Ty Leverty, assistant professor. "A student needs to muster the courage to call someone who is working in the industry; someone with a higher stature than themselves. They need to be outgoing, hard-working and confident, and that describes Peter Berg." Professor Leverty serves as the faculty advisor for Gamma Iota Sigma and appreciates Peter's continued involvement with the organization after his 2007 graduation.

Today Peter is employed at TrueNorth, learning to become a specialist in the transportation division.

"Things have come full circle for me in many ways. As a student, I used to work with others in GIS to connect students with industry professionals, and today I'm still working with the students, only I'm sharing my experience in the industry and what it was like for me to transition into the workforce," explains Peter.

He also continues to be a leader for the Institute by helping to locate and communicate with recent graduates, and he is exploring his industry connections to help find internships and jobs for students.

When Peter was a student, he was employed on campus and at local restaurants all while maintaining his studies. The demands of his work schedule and his classes often kept him from participating in more of the College's events and opportunities. Then Peter was awarded a scholarship and that made all the difference.

"Those funds made it possible for me to work a few hours less per week and that had a positive effect on my school work and my emotional psyche. I was able to participate in more of GIS's service projects like Tippie Build and serving meals at the homeless shelter."

Today Peter continues to remain active in the community by managing the kitchen of the Young Parents Network in Cedar Rapids where he prepares weekly meals.

"I want to give back to the Vaughan Institute because I know what a difference that scholarship made in my life. I want to do the same for another student," Peter says. His employer, TrueNorth, matched his gift. Then an anonymous donor contributed to Peter's scholarship and today the scholarship has grown to $750.

"My hope is that this scholarship will impact the life of a student so they may be able to dedicate more time to their studies and working to help their community through involvement with GIS. Someday, I would like others to contribute to the scholarship," he explains. "Eventually, I hope enough will be raised to name it the Young Alumni and Professionals Scholarship and offer several scholarships.”

In addition to creating the scholarship, Peter also mentors a student in the Vaughan Institute Mentoring Program.

"The Institute introduced me to many people who played and continue to be significant in my personal and professional development. The Institute did a great job of creating an environment that challenged me to grow and encouraged my involvement."