The season of giving isn’t just in December for students in DePaul University’s Actuarial Science Club – it extends throughout the academic year.
For the past two years these actuarial science majors have been volunteering their time and talents as math tutors at Chicago high schools, most recently at Muchin College Prep in the Loop and Golder College Prep in the West Town neighborhood. The tutorials are part of the Math Motivators Program sponsored by the Actuarial Foundation and piloted at the University of Connecticut. The program’s mission is to close the math achievement gap by pairing low-income high school students studying math with college students majoring in actuarial science and math.
“DePaul is proud to have been chosen as the first university outside of University of Connecticut to participate in the program,” says actuary Tom Edwalds, a clinical professor at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business and executive director of its Arditti Center for Risk Management. “This program aligns perfectly with the Vincentian mission of DePaul. Our student tutors have the opportunity to share their math skills with high school students who need help, improving the chances for those students to succeed in high school. At the same time, our student tutors are improving their communication skills, which will be essential in their careers as actuaries.”
DePaul tutors, like senior Michaela Fossberg, commit to helping high school students one hour a week at lunch or after school throughout an academic quarter. Fossberg, president of the Actuarial Science Club at DePaul, says the program provides “many opportunities to give back to the community by using my mathematical skills to help others.”
In addition to tutoring in the schools, Fossberg has served as a mentor to teens who participate in DePaul’s Actuarial Summer Academy, an annual five-day program at the business college that introduces high school students to the actuarial field, and High School Actuarial Day, which brings teens to DePaul during the school year to learn about actuarial science careers from students, faculty and actuaries.
This work reaches a diverse group of students who may not be aware of the rewarding career opportunities available in actuarial science, Fossberg noted. “Only four percent of all actuaries are Latino and black, and this stems from the fact that not many people know about the actuarial profession. (The tutoring) allows me to help the students work on math problems that have actuarial aspects to them. Seeing younger students engaging in challenging math problems made me feel that I had accomplished my goal (to raise awareness about the actuarial profession).”
“Overall, my experience as a tutor to students has allowed me to personally grow and become more aware of the generations below me,” Fossberg adds. “The reason I chose to do this was so that I could share my appreciation toward math with other intelligent minds. I hope to continue to help these students to succeed and potentially aspire to a career in mathematics.”
Learn more about the Driehaus College of Business actuarial science major