Outstanding Alumknight Actualized her Dreams
University of Central Florida alumna Tiffany Wills, ’06, was awarded the College of Sciences’ 2016 Outstanding AlumKnight Award for the Department of Statistics. The award was presented at a ceremony in March.
Shunpu Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Statistics described Wills as “a great example of an exemplary UCF graduate striving to reach the pinnacle of her profession.”
Wills graduated from the Department of Statistics with her bachelor’s degree in actuarial science. She immediately began to work at Hanover Life Reassurance as an actuarial assistant. She’s stayed with the company since and is now assistant vice president. She’s completed the requirements to be a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, which is the highest designation an actuary can achieve.
Wills moved to Orlando to attend UCF on a whim. She was not getting the training that she wanted at her college in Missouri and decided to make a big change. She thinks that her time at UCF has shaped her life.
“I wouldn’t have a career in actuarial science without my degree,” Wills said. “It has opened tremendous doors for me.”
While she was a student, Wills was also raising her young son. She did not have the time to participate in many campus activities then, but is making up for it now. She has stayed involved at UCF by coming back to speak to statistics students and to recruit interns. She also attends athletic events and runs the “U Can Finish 5 Miler” race every year.
One of her fond UCF memories is her lunchtimes, which she would enjoy outside in between classes. Sitting in the sun was a crucial part of the routine.
“Moving down from the mid-west, I loved the Florida sun and was amazed it was still hot even in winter months,” Wills said. “It may not seem like an awesome or really exciting memory, but when I think of UCF, my mind always goes to that routine and I can’t help but smile.”
The assistant vice president is proud of how far she has come. She went through college as a single mom and is pleased that her hard work has paid off. She remembers the moment she first walked into her office.
“I’m pretty sure I closed the door and did a little dance,” Wills said.
She described herself as competitive and tenacious, but still able to laugh. She tries to incorporate humor into her daily life. She would stress to any current students that communication is key in the business world and has helped her get as far as she has.
Wills’ inspiration comes from strong women. She said that women are scrutinized over so many things so the best thing that they can do is be themselves.
“I love seeing strong women standing up for what they believe in and what they feel makes them successful,” Wills said. “It is impossible to be the ‘perfect woman’ in everybody’s eyes, so I love seeing women define their own goals and strive to reach them.”
The successful actuary and mom who has set and achieved her own goals would definitely know.