Math Motivators Tutor Spotlight: Janae Jackson
July 9, 2018
For Janae Jackson, an actuarial consultant at The Hartford, the benefits of tutoring high school students through The Actuarial Foundation’s Math Motivators program are twofold: It allows her to share her passion for math with younger students, as well as helping to raise awareness for the actuarial profession.
“I’ve always loved math, and it’s always come easy for me,” Jackson says. “I think [math] gets a bad rap, so I like sharing something that I enjoy doing with students to whom it may not come as easily. I always enjoy that ‘aha’ or light bulb moment when they finally get something. It puts a smile on your face; it’s satisfying.”
Jackson says that even though she loved math growing up and all the way through school, she didn’t know about actuarial science until college. And, even then, her college did not teach actuarial science in the context of it being a profession or offer a degree—it was only available as an elective. She didn’t know being an actuary was a career opportunity until after she graduated, “which doesn’t make sense, as I was a math major,” she says.
“I definitely think a program like [Math Motivators], where you’re [interacting with students] in high school, might be eye-opening for students,” she adds. “It could be helpful in letting them know what an actuary is, what we do, and maybe stoking an interest in the profession.”
While Jackson finds that explaining and communicating math concepts that are automatic for her is the toughest part of tutoring, being able to help students understand and make new connections is rewarding.
“It’s nice to see them getting things that I think they just assume they won’t get,” she says. “They say, ‘math is hard’ or ‘I’m not good at math, it’s not really my thing.’ So, it’s nice when you can get them to realize that [they] can do this, it’s not as difficult as [they] think it is, and [they] can explain it just as well as anybody else.”