The Actuarial Foundation Announces the 2020 Modeling the Future Challenge Winners

April 28, 2020

The Actuarial Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 Modeling the Future Challenge, a national scholarship competition aimed at introducing the actuarial profession to high school students. The Challenge was developed with the Foundation’s partner, the Institute of Competition Sciences. For the safety of all participants amid the continuing developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Modeling the Future Challenge Symposium was converted to a virtual program. The online venue gave participants the opportunity to hear from actuaries from across the industry and learn more about how actuaries help people identify and manage risks in all kinds of settings.

Clinching first place and receiving a $25,000 scholarship were Gustav Hansen, Emily Jiang and Jason Yan  from High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey.  Coming in second place and winning the $15,000 scholarship award were Parth Asawa, Brandon Guo, Richard Liu and Eric Zhang from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California. The third-place scholarship award of $10,000 went to Nafeesa Karim, Shravani Khisti, Anastacia Son and Amrita Vinjamury from Whitney High School in Cerritos, California. Taking the fourth-place scholarship award of $5,000 were Arjun Patrawala, Henry Wang, Katherine Wang and Tony Xin from Mountain View High School in Mountain View, California. Students from each winning team will share the scholarship awards, which will be sent to the colleges of their choice.

The theme for this year’s Modeling the Future Challenge was Agriculture, Water and Climate Change. The winners were selected from a total of 170 teams of high school juniors and seniors from across the country.  Teams were tasked with analyzing historic data and making models to project how changes to climate and water access could affect the agricultural industry in their selected region of the country.  They also had to make recommendations on how industry and government  entities can respond to mitigate and manage the potential risks. Teams had to first pass a qualifying round of scenario response topics to demonstrate their mathematical acumen. Ninety-eight semi-finalist teams were then paired with actuary mentors who helped guide the students as they conducted research, data analysis and drafted their final papers.

In designing the Challenge, the Foundation and its partner, the Institute of Competition Sciences, wanted students to learn how mathematics applies to cutting-edge industries and technologies and to gain exposure to highly sought-after careers as actuaries and other math-related professionals. In his opening remarks at the awards ceremony, Roy Goldman, FSA, MAAA, CERA, Trustee of The Actuarial Foundation and Founder of the Modeling the Future Challenge, had this advice for student participants, ”The math and the science that you are learning, the modeling and the programming skills that you are developing are crucially needed. You may not all become actuaries, but I urge you to continue to develop your talents so that your research can be turned into stories that the public can understand and say, ‘Yes, we need to prepare for the future.’ And you are all certainly part of that future.”

The Modeling the Future Challenge is made possible with the generous support of National Sponsor Roy and Georgia Goldman, Champion Sponsors Robert V. Deutsch and RGA and Event Sponsor Rick and Beth Jones.