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The First Annual High School Actuarial Day in Chicago

More than 300 high schools students and teachers from 14 Chicago-area high schools participated in the first High School Actuarial Day on April 18 at DePaul University. The event was held in partnership with DePaul and supported by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), the Society of Actuaries (SOA), The Actuarial Foundation, the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA), the Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA), Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), and CNA. More than 60 speakers and volunteer table leaders from these organizations participated in the event.

The program was spearheaded by CAS President, Brian Brown, with the goal to expose diverse high school students to the actuarial profession as a career choice. Schools with a diverse population were targeted, and within these schools, students in advanced math classes were encouraged to attend.

Recent research on barriers to entry into the profession for under-represented demographic groups has shown that one of the main reasons that students of color do not enter the profession is their lack of knowledge of the profession until late in college. This puts them at a disadvantage relative to other students, as many employers look to hire students who have passed a few actuarial exams and completed an internship before offering full time employment.

The agenda for the program included a mix of general session speakers, table discussions, and problem-solving activities. Program highlights included:

  • Practicing actuaries sharing why they became an actuary, what they love about working as an actuary, and the different job opportunities available to actuaries.
  • An overview of the process for pursuing a career as an actuary and resources available to students to assist them along their career path.
  • Math estimation and logic problems, which the students worked in teams to solve.

Brown commented, "Putting on an event like this requires a lot of work, and we are very appreciative of the support we received, particularly from DePaul University, Chicago Public Schools, and the many volunteers who gave their time to make the event a success. As we work towards building a diverse pipeline of future actuaries, I hope to make this an annual event in Chicago."

"We appreciate the efforts of the local school teachers, university staff, and volunteers from the different actuarial organizations to share more about the actuarial career with these students," noted SOA President Mike Lombardi, FSA, CERA, FCIA, MAAA. "We're glad to have these types of opportunities to inform high school students about the actuarial profession and in turn to reach out to the next generation of potential actuaries." Students at the high school level who are interested in a career as an actuary can find resources about the actuarial profession at the Be An Actuary website.