The Actuarial Foundation 2020–2021 Modeling the Future Challenge Recap

April 29, 2021

The Actuarial Foundation is excited to announce that the 2020–2021 Modeling the Future Challenge was a huge success. The Challenge, now in its fourth year, is a national scholarship competition aimed at introducing the actuarial profession to high school students and was developed with the Foundation’s partner, the Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS).

Even in a virtual environment, the Symposium proved an immersive learning experience for students, giving them the opportunity to participate in career sessions, problem-solving activities, virtual tours, a little trivia and other unique experiences created in partnership with the Foundation’s corporate supporters and volunteers.

During the Opening Ceremony on April 22, Founding Sponsor Roy Goldman started the event by welcoming all of the participants and sharing the fact that this year’s Challenge broke a record for the number of schools (102) and teams (193) that registered and completed Phase One of the Challenge. Of that initial group, only 12 finalist teams made it to the Symposium to present their final projects to the panel of actuary judges.

Before the judging began, Susan and Jason Witcraft presented about ways predictive analytics can be applied in careers in a variety of industries. In a fun example, Susan explained how predictive analytics was used in the book and movie Moneyball to identify players for the Oakland As baseball team. Watch the video below to learn more.

Then, after team introductions, the judging began. Teams were tasked with analyzing historic data and making models following the Actuarial Process, a five-step framework, similar to the scientific method, that lays out the core structure of how to successfully identify, analyze and manage risks. Some of the topics the students selected for their models included:

The panel of actuarial judges was blown away by the reports and presentations. “I was so impressed by all of you,” said Susan, who also served as a judge.

Ultimately, Team 2 from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago clinched first place and received a $25,000 scholarship that will be shared among the winning team members. The second, third and fourth place teams also received scholarship awards of $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

Watch the video below to see part of the winning team’s presentation, which was an analysis of the effects of ambulance diversions in San Francisco on patient transportation time and mortality rate.

Congratulations to all of the 2020–2021 Modeling the Future Challenge participants! This year’s event was made possible with the support of these generous sponsors.