Math Motivators Tutor Spotlight: Actuary Joe Finch
June 8, 2018
An important goal of The Actuarial Foundation’s Math Motivators tutoring program is to further the actuarial profession, and volunteer tutor Joe Finch, ASA, saw the value in this goal right away.
Finch first heard about Math Motivators from a colleague at MassMutual, where he works as an actuarial associate. His colleague said the founder of the program, Barry Jacobson, was looking for tutors to work in conjunction with students from the University of Connecticut, who were also tutoring high school students in Hartford.
“It immediately piqued my interest for two reasons,” Finch says. “I could help students with math concepts, and as a UConn graduate, I saw it as an opportunity to recruit some of the UConn tutors to work at MassMutual.”
Math Motivators pairs low-income high school students with professional actuaries and college students majoring in actuarial science, mathematics or math education for free tutoring. Actuaries like Finch who participate in the program not only develop relationships with fellow tutors and actuarial students, but also help raise awareness of the actuarial career and represent the profession as positive role models to high school students.
“I know when I was in high school, I didn’t have any exposure to the actuary profession,” Finch says. “But if I had a tutor come in once a week and they were an actuary, I would be able to figure out what an actuary was by asking them about it.”
Finch, who tutors Algebra I students at Achievement First Hartford High School, says students have asked him about his work as an actuary, and the Algebra I teacher has asked tutors to explain what they do during tutoring sessions.
“For now, it’s probably a little bit abstract to them, because the math they’re doing isn’t on the level of some of the math we need to study or apply,” Finch adds. “But we try to lay the groundwork of what they need to do to pursue a career in mathematics or actuarial science.”
Along with helping to further the actuarial profession, Finch finds tutoring rewarding because of the impact it has on the students.
“I know it sounds kind of cliché, but it’s a nice break for me to come here in the middle of the day … to help someone with something that they might be struggling with that is second nature for me,” he says. “Once I show up and get to work with a student, I realize that I’m making a difference for them. Seeing how much more confident they are just after an hour, I find myself more energized going back to work that same afternoon.”