Opportunities and Essential Skills Lead the Way for a Successful Career
Taylor Zitkus is a good example of how a College of Arts and Sciences education can help build a solid foundation for success. As a risk and underwriting analyst for Cigna, Zitkus says the variety of courses she took as a politics and government major at UHart helped her develop collaboration, research, critical thinking, and public speaking skills that are helping her to succeed in her career and in life.
Zitkus learned about the Cigna Underwriting Leadership Training and Risk Assessment (ULTRA) program through UHart’s Career Services and attended some of Cigna’s networking events. Over the summer, she participated in the ULTRA program in preparation for her role in assessing the risk of insuring potential Cigna customers in the New Jersey market and accordingly setting premium rates for medical insurance policies. “One of my main responsibilities includes managing my own case load of potential Cigna customers and effectively communicating with the sales team about the status of my cases.”
During her time at UHart, Zitkus held various jobs on campus, including the Center for Student Success, Institutional Advancement, and the Office of the President. She says these experiences helped her to greatly develop communication skills, strengthened her ability to solve problems, and work more efficiently. “The opportunities I took advantage of at UHart also taught me to be open minded and willing to always strive to learn more,” she says. Zitkus says her main goal is to continue to develop her leadership skills and to take on roles that allow her to further utilize and develop those skills.
Taylor Zitkus '18, Politics and Government, Risk and Underwriting Analyst for Cigna
The opportunities I took advantage of at UHart also taught me to be open minded and willing to always strive to learn more
When asked about a professor who had a strong impact on her, Zitkus points to Associate Professor of Politics and Government Katharine Owens. She worked with Owens on her honors thesis about state level policy initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic. And Zitkus also served as a teaching assistant in Owens’s Power and Politics course, where she participated in a fellowship with PAYCE (Palestinian American Youth Civic Engagement) at the University of Iowa.
“It’s important for new UHart students to be open to new opportunities, even if they think it’s something they may not enjoy or be interested in,” advises Zitkus, who was also involved in the yoga club and WSAM 105.3 radio station. “By taking advantage of these opportunities, I was able to widen my circle of friends and also discover more of my own interests and passions.”