Pause for applause
Jake Wager ’05, who studied geography education, loves his work as a social studies teacher at McCombs Middle School. Wager does such an exceptional job in the Des Moines Title I public school that he is Iowa’s 2016 Middle School Social Studies Teacher of the Year. He also coaches track at the school, which has a high percentage of students from low-income families. The honor makes Wager eligible for consideration as top teacher in the subject nationally. His students would agree he is worthy. They appreciate the engaging way he teaches, including a mock caucus before the real vote occurred in February.
At the helm
Nearly three decades ago, Tricia (Thomas) Griffith ’86 took a job as a claims representative at Progressive Corp. Now she is CEO of the firm that is ranked as the country’s fourth largest auto insurer. Griffith studied marketing in the College of Business while at ISU. After joining Progressive in 1988, she worked her way up to chief operating officer of the company’s personal lines division. Her new role as CEO makes Griffith one of the most prominent women in the insurance world. She will lead Progressive’s efforts to sell more home insurance, while staying strong in car coverage.
Michael Halle ’06 knows what it takes to win a campaign. He is especially strong in helping top Democrats running for the presidency. Halle played a senior role in Hillary Clinton’s campaign, working as her Iowa caucus director. He created and executed a strategy for Clinton to take the Iowa vote, which propelled her campaign forward. The sociology and political science graduate was equally involved in Barack Obama’s White House run in 2008, serving as a field organizer and working in five states before becoming deputy field director in North Carolina. He partnered with Obama’s campaign in 2012 as well.
Still making a splash
Fitness has been an integral part of life for Roger Osborne ’68 since his college days. A physical education major, he taught at Maine West High School in Des Plaines. Although retired, “0z” is not idle. He is a winning member of the Elgin Blue Wave Masters swim team. In the spring of this year alone he captured eight, first-place wins and a second-place trophy at the state-wide meet. He took six national medals, including second place for the 200 butterfly. He has been swimming at the masters’ level for 30 years and now competes against others who are 70 years old.