If a student is looking to become an actuary, or simply wants to learn about actuarial science, there is now an organization available for students to join on campus. At the start of this semester, the Actuarial Society of Kean (ASK) was formed. The official date ASK was established on was Tuesday, February 9, 2016, but the society was underway to becoming a student organization a few weeks prior its recognition.
ASK is meant to serve as the helping hand for students interested in the field of actuary science. This organization acts as a gateway for students to learn about the career and gain association with the Society of Actuaries, which further progresses their involvement in actuary science and potentially network with practiced actuaries.
As responsibility varies with an actuary’s concentration, they typically are tasked with written and verbal communication, research, on-the-job training and technical actuarial work. On Be An Actuary’s website, there is a caption that captures the essence of what it means to be an actuary: “Part super-hero. Part fortune-teller. Part trusted advisor.” Whichever aspect of the science a person goes into, ASK will prepare them for all.
Wolde Woubneh, Adviser of ASK and a School of Mathematical Sciences professor, said the organization has tasked itself with the goal of making “ASK known across Kean campuses, develop a website for ASK, [and] develop a social website for ASK so that members can connect” with the Kean community.
Similar to other college students, Alana Lopez, Vice President of ASK and a junior majoring in mathematics with a concentration in statistics, decided to turn a passion of hers into a career. “Well, honestly, I enjoy mathematics…” and it’s as simple as that. But her efforts to pave the road to her, and other’s, actuarial career didn’t stop there. She was one of the three students who founded ASK. The other founders of the society are Ethan Finkiel, who is President of ASK, and Leanne Garcia, who serves as Treasurer of ASK. “Not many people know what an actuary is so we want to provide knowledge to others and ignite interest,” Lopez stated.
“The [School of] Mathematical Sciences…has been pushing students to become actuaries for the past few years,” said Finkiel, who is a sophomore majoring in mathematical science with a concentration in statistics. “We felt the need for a professional organization on campus [dedicated to actuarial science]…There is a lot required to become an actuary and we strive to make that easier for anyone interested in the profession.”
“The mission is to make Kean University an institution where anyone can pursue a career as an actuary easily,” said Finkiel. With that in mind, the society chose Woubneh as the advisor because of the professor’s ability to support the mission while also
The ASK advisor has gained a great understanding of the science, which he readily shares with students. “I have developed the actuarial math course and have guided a few of our majors to take the actuarial exams successfully,” said Woubneh. His knowledge of the field will be of utmost help for ASK members as he can act as a mentor, not only with the science itself but with the process of being accepted into the field.
The organization also stands to prepare students who are planning on taking the actuarial exams. “Over the past few years some of our students have taken a few of the actuarial exams and passed it,” Woubneh commented.
If a student is thinking about taking the exams, Woubneh advised to keep in mind that “To pass the actuarial exams, the student should have [a] strong background in mathematics…The tests are not easy. The students have to compete with other math majors from all over the nation, yet our students have passed these difficult tests with distinction.”
If the interest of students are piqued about ASK, membership to the organization can be gained easily. Lopez commented students should “come to our upcoming meetings, see what we are about, and sign up!” commented Lopez. Finkiel would like students to feel comfortable joining ASK. “We're open to everyone. Being a member is simple. We're a professional organization, so we hope to provide networking events in the future.”
As of now, there are no meetings scheduled. “We're currently working on our first group meeting where we'll discuss what actuaries are and how to become one,” Finkiel stated. “In addition, we are working on bringing Kean graduates who have gone on to become actuaries.” Be on the lookout as meetings will be announced on ASK’s Cougar Link page. “If anyone is interested or would like to hear more, please feel free to contact me,” said Finkiel.