Volunteer Actuary Spotlight | Meet Bob

Bob Conger, volunteer for The Actuarial Foundation’s Math Motivators Program

What impact did TAF have on you?

This program gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of youth in the local communities! I appreciate what TAF is doing in lagging math literacy among many families in our target underserved communities is one of the impediments to breaking out of a cycle of poverty.

What program did you participate in and why?

I participated in the Math Motivators program as a volunteer. I decided to participate in this program because I knew this program would enable me to do something very worthwhile for local youth while also plugging me into a group of actuaries.

What’s your best experience/memory from being a part of a TAF program?

One memory from my second month of Math Motivators tutoring always brings a smile to my face. It was a wonderful moment of shared jubilation with Jordan, one of the two middle school students I was tutoring one hour per week at their school. Jordan usually had been pretty comfortable with math, but he was having trouble making the leap into the world of algebra, with its inscrutably sinister casts of unknown “x” and “y” characters. Not only his math but also his very self-confidence was starting to suffer. On Wednesday afternoon, as Jordan worked on a particular set of challenging algebra problems, I could see—from the light in his eyes and from the way he was gripping his pencil—that the pieces were falling into place. He finished the problem set and exclaimed to himself with excitement, “I think I’ve got this!”

He then challenged me: “Give me some more problems like this, but harder ones!” I quickly fabricated several increasingly tough problems; he tackled each of them with vigor—and success. The sound of the joyous laughter that Jordan and I shared while we did a spontaneous “high five” still echoes happily in my ears, and I feel great knowing that if the Foundation’s Math Motivators program helps Jordan gain the confidence to tackle the math problems of daily life and of his dream career in a recording studio, we will have made an important difference that will echo throughout his life.