Community Spotlight: Tong Teh and Coaching Actuaries team up with the Foundation
January 9, 2024
Every month, in celebration of The Actuarial Foundation’s 30th anniversary, we will be hearing from community members excited to share what their work with the Foundation has meant to them.
We are thrilled to kick off our spotlight series with a wonderful guest article by Tong Teh. Enjoy!
Hello everyone! I’m Tong Teh, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, an instructor in actuarial science at Drake University, and the President of Coaching Actuaries (CA).
Our journey with The Actuarial Foundation (TAF) began in 2019 when, through the Iowa Actuaries Club, we learned about the Foundation’s plans to launch a Math Motivators program in Des Moines. Intrigued, Dave Kester (the founder of CA) and I attended an informational session and instantly felt a connection with the program’s mission. Eagerly, I took on the role of program coordinator for Math Motivators in Des Moines, a role I shared with Austin Wallestad from CA until 2021. It has been a rewarding experience, especially seeing students improve and having over 10 of CA’s team members volunteer as tutors in the past year.
At CA, we are actively exploring partnerships with the Foundation, particularly for the Modeling the Future Challenge. We are united by a common goal: to elevate awareness of the actuarial profession among high school students. We are excited about the potential of introducing CA’s new Launchpad, a free resource designed to spark an interest in actuarial science in these young minds.
Additionally, we’re in preliminary discussions about collaborating with the Foundation’s STEM Stars program, focusing on actuarial exam preparation and mentoring. With CA’s extensive experience in guiding students through actuarial exams, we’re enthusiastic about the opportunity to assist STEM Stars students in building the confidence and skills needed to pass these exams effectively and efficiently.
Reflecting on my professional journey, I’ve recognized that while my talents may be limited, teaching and organizing are where I can contribute. This has led me to Math Motivators, allowing me to leverage both my teaching and organizational skills. Despite my background in teaching college-level math, adapting to teaching fundamental middle and high school math concepts was both humbling and challenging. This experience has greatly enhanced my appreciation for our volunteer tutors who dedicate their time and effort to support students, helping them build confidence and improve their math skills. I still remember that during the first year of the program, 20 students at North High School who were initially selected had Ds and Fs in Algebra 1. By the end of the semester, 95% of them passed, with 60% achieving A’s and B’s. This was a success story we’ve experienced, and we hope to create more in the future.
Together, at CA and through our collaborations with the Foundation, we’re committed to making a meaningful impact in the world of actuarial science, one student at a time!
Learn more about Coaching Actuaries: coachingactuaries.com
Coaching Actuaries Lauchpad resource: launchpad.coachingactuaries.com