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A STEM major with math minor found successes in our actuarial science program

The Actuarial program at WVU was an instrumental piece of my educational experience. As a young professional in the insurance industry, I can strongly recommend the program to anyone interested in or curious about Actuarial Science.     

While at WVU, I majored in Physics. I was enjoying the material of the Physics major, particularly the Math, but became disinterested in the laboratory work required to become a Physics professional. In pursuit of a Math minor, I took Dr. Yang’s Exam FM course and discovered Actuarial Science. I was immediately intrigued by the career for its mathematical foundation, financial impact, and relation to everyday life. It felt more connected and immediate than laboratory work. I took several more actuarial science and insurance courses and became a member of the Actuarial Club.

Upon joining the club, I began participating in the weekly study sessions offered. While the actuarial exams are difficult and require dedication, these study sessions assisted me in developing a routine and group mindset towards passing the exams. With Dr. Yang’s courses and the club’s support, I was able to pass Exam FM and P within a year and a half of discovering the career.

The opportunities offered by the club to meet and listen to professionals and academics in the field was extremely helpful and provided me valuable insight into to industry. In my senior year, I served as the club’s VP and helped run West Virginia’s first High School Actuarial Day, an event hosted by the club to introduce local high school students to the career.

When I began the job search process for an entry-level actuarial position, I found having passed two actuarial exams made me a competitive candidate and my involvement in the club was a strong talking point. I had interview opportunities with GEICO and Milliman, a well-known consulting firm. After graduation, I began my career as an Actuarial Analyst with Homesite Insurance in Boston, MA.

I started at Homesite with a class of other analysts whose backgrounds included Ivy League educations and Masters degrees in actuarial science. I was surprised to find that my insurance knowledge and exam progress was comparable or better.

I have now been in the field for one year and have shifted to focus on the data analytics side of actuarial science. I am presently working as a data analyst for Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance in Boston. While I have taken a step back from the traditional actuarial path, I would not be where I am today without the actuarial program, club, or Dr. Yang’s impressive mentorship and support.