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

Gamma Iota Sigma Launches Two New Initiatives

By Viana Rockel, Associate Director

The job market is challenging, but nothing that students in the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) organization, Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), can’t handle. “GIS provides exceptional opportunities for our members and we are always looking for ways to expand our services,” says President Karyn Droessler. “Networking and professional development are two of our top priorities, and the reasons why we began two new initiatives this year.”

Last fall, the RMI student group launched an industry mentoring program and a student resume book. Both are designed to give students an edge in this stressful economic environment. Erin Morris, who graduated in December, spearheaded the mentoring program after members of the Greater Quad Cities RIMS chapter brought up the idea at the national RIMS conference. GIS now has a permanent mentoring vice president to carry the project forward.

“The mentoring program is off to a great start, thanks to our partners, the Greater Quad Cities RIMS chapter, the Vaughan Institute, and the University’s Center for Teaching,” states Vice President for Mentoring TJ Anderson. “We put a lot of thought and research into the design.” Ten students and eight mentors applied for the program, and a kick-off reception was held last November.

Erin Morris (BBA '08) and Hal Larson, a member of the Greater Quad Cities RIMS chapter, welcomed everyone to the event, followed by a “speed dating” networking activity. Based on participants’ feedback, GIS officers matched students with mentors while the group heard presentations on setting goals and planning activities. Jean Florman from the Center for Teaching led an excellent discussion on the role of a mentor, the phases of mentoring, and the responsibilities of the mentee.

TJ explains, “We’ll monitor the progress of the teams throughout the spring semester and conclude the year with a business etiquette luncheon.” He also noted that the group was kept small while they continue to fine-tune the program, but they expect it to grow rapidly in future years.

Industry professionals who serve as guest speakers at Gamma Iota Sigma meetings every two weeks may be recruited to be future mentors. Vice President for Industry Relations Jon Raftis arranges for the speakers, and he will also organize the student resume book this spring.

“We encourage students who are looking for a job or internship to place their resumes in the resume book. We want students to take full advantage of all of the resources available to them, which is why we require that they register with the Pomerantz Career Center and become GIS members in order to have their resume included in the resume book,” explains Jon.

The Vaughan Institute’s graduate assistant helps with the resume book and the Institute handles placing the resumes on the web. Employers interested in receiving the resume book should contact the Vaughan Institute’s Associate Director Viana Rockel ( To contact Gamma Iota Sigma, please e-mail