The Actuarial Foundation Announces the Winners of the 2020-2021 Modeling the Future Challenge At Its Second Virtual Symposium
April 28, 2021
SCHAUMBURG, IL (April 28, 2021) – The Actuarial Foundation is proud and excited to announce the winners of the 2020-2021 Modeling the Future Challenge, a national scholarship competition aimed at introducing the actuarial profession to high school students. The Challenge, now in its fourth year, was developed with the Foundation’s partner, the Institute of Competition Sciences. The winners were announced at the virtual Symposium, the culminating event for the Challenge. 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.
This year’s Challenge broke a record for the number of teams registering and completing Phase One with 193 teams! Of the 193 teams that registered and completed Phase One of the Challenge, twelve finalist teams made it to the Symposium to meet with a panel of actuary judges and to answer questions about their projects and their final presentations. Two new elements to the 2020-2021 Modeling the Future Challenge were the open-theme and the Actuarial Process. The open theme allowed students to identify their own topics for their research projects.
Some of the topics selected by students included: Analysis of Cyber-Attacks and Cost-Effective Methods of Cybersecurity; California Wildfires; Analysis of Climate Change and Flood Risk – Opportunities for Insurance Companies, Local Governments, and Individuals; and COVID-19 Pandemic Impact – Insurance & Policy Recommendations for Airline Companies, among several others. 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. As one of the student participants commented, “I loved learning about the actuarial process. It’s very useful in our lives and I will continue to use it after this project.”
Clinching first place and receiving a $25,000 scholarship were Elizabeth Kujawa, Andre Nandi, Kristen Si and Rome Thorstenson from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Illinois. Coming in second place and winning the $15,000 scholarship award were Anushka Srinivasan, Reva Tagare and Siona Tagare from Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California. The third-place scholarship award of $10,000 went to Jacob Rintamaki from Westlake High School in Westlake, Ohio. Taking the fourth-place scholarship award of $5,000 were Shreyas Kar and Shraman Kar from duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Students from each winning team will share the scholarship awards, which will be sent to the colleges of their choice.
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 addition to applying mathematics and building models, one of the judging criteria is persuasion and the ability to communicate the results of the projects. As Founding Sponsor Roy Goldman put it during the Symposium, “…all of you are smart enough to figure out a model and figure out what the best answer is. It’s much harder to convince everybody else, in particular the powers that be, that that’s the right answer. And you need to be able to do that by communicating well in writing and in speaking.”
The Modeling the Future Challenge is made possible with the generous support of Executive Sponsor RGA Foundation, Champion Sponsor Lincoln Financial Group, Event Sponsors FIS and Rick & Beth Jones, and Founding Sponsors Roy & Georgia Goldman.
About The Actuarial Foundation
The Actuarial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the philanthropic institution for the actuarial industry in the United States. The mission of the Foundation is to enhance math education and financial literacy through the talents and resources of actuaries. The Foundation’s vision is an educated public in pursuit of a secure financial future. Further information is available at: actuarialfoundation.org
About the Institute of Competition Sciences
Since 2012, the Institute of Competition Sciences (ICS) has been defining best practices in competition strategy, design and operations. ICS aims to spark a new level of community engagement in science, technology and education by supporting a network of educational competitions. For more information, please visit: https://www.competitionsciences.org/
The Actuarial Foundation