UMF Actuarial Science student interns get hands-on experience as businesses seek to understand financial impact of COVID-19

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FARMINGTON, ME  (June 9, 2020)—Lori Koban, UMF professor of Mathematics, always made it a priority to bring business professionals from state and national companies to the University of Maine at Farmington campus to speak with her students about careers as an actuary.

Early this spring, Daniel Mickiewicz, (second from right) UMF Actuarial Science student intern, learned more about EPIC Retirement Plan Services and its internship opportunities from Matt Pine, (center) director of retirement plan consulting, and other EPIC employees.(from left) Justin Toporcer, Kelsey Alley and Ingrid Libby.Early this spring, Daniel Mickiewicz, (second from right) UMF Actuarial Science student intern, learned more about EPIC Retirement Plan Services and its internship opportunities from Matt Pine, (center) director of retirement plan consulting, and other EPIC employees.(from left) Justin Toporcer, Kelsey Alley and Ingrid Libby.


Now, as the world is being shaped by the current Covid-19 pandemic, the role of actuaries may be even more important as they develop models to understand the financial impact of the virus and the fallout it may have around the globe.

Actuaries are professional risk managers and problem solvers as conditions affect insurance, investments and other financial activities. Professional internships for students are a key component of the program and continue in various online formats in spite of the current socially distancing impact.

The UMF Actuarial Science program has been growing since its early days as an interdisciplinary program, and is now the only Bachelor of Arts in Actuarial Science program at a public or private institution in Maine or New Hampshire. It has an advisory board of actuaries throughout Maine who help guide the program’s progress.

“Our program is very challenging, and national companies recognize that,” said Koban. “At present, we have students interning at Hormel, Unum, Anthem, the Maine Bureau of Insurance and EPIC Retirement Plan Services in Portland. The desire of these companies to keep the summer internship programs going demonstrates continued investment into young people entering the profession, and hence the need for our students.”

The UMF program offers the math-minded student a well-rounded blend of math, business, economics, finance, computer science and statistics. These courses prepare students for a number of highly in-demand professions, including as a credentialed actuary, underwriter, data specialist or statistician.

Daniel Mickiewicz, a UMF junior from South Portland, wanted to stay in Maine and was looking for an actuary program at a small, affordable college. He also wanted a campus where he could have a strong relationship with his professors.

“Professor Koban is a wonderful advocate for students. She’s our number one resource,” said Mickiewicz. “She knows that in order to master this complicated material it’s crucial that we develop a strong understanding first. She even takes the exam right along with the students to make sure she knows how best to help us.”

Daniel Mickiewicz, (left) UMF Actuarial Science student says, “Professor Koban (right) is a wonderful advocate for students. She’s our number one resource.”Daniel Mickiewicz, (left) UMF Actuarial Science student says, “Professor Koban (right) is a wonderful advocate for students. She’s our number one resource.”


This summer, Mickiewicz is interning with EPIC Retirement Plan Services in Portland, plus taking his first actuarial exam.

About half of the students in the UMF Actuarial Science program pursue the credentialed actuary path, which requires passing a number of difficult, nationally-standardized exams. Small classes, close student interaction and significant faculty support not only successfully prepare students in the UMF program, but also produce exam pass rates higher than the national average, according to Koban.

“To be successful in this field, students have to be confident in their mathematical abilities and professional skills,” said Koban.  “This program helps students mature in their knowledge and skills so they are well-prepared for the professional world.”

The program had its origins in previous math student Sandra Darby’s interest in pursuing the credential process, a series of demanding exams that demonstrate a student’s aptitude and interest to be an actuary. Koban helped her on the path to be an actuary. In the process, Koban became proficient at the skills students would need and committed to creating a program that would best prepare them.

Sandra Darby Darby, UMF 2009 graduate, is pursuing her master’s degree, and is currently a Property & Casualty Actuary with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. She has returned to Farmington a number of times to promote the actuarial career path and to share with students the role of regulators in the business world.Sandra Darby, 2009 UMF graduate, is currently a Property & Casualty Actuary with the Maine Bureau of Insurance and was instrumental in creating interest in an Actuarial Science program at Farmington.


Darby graduated in 2009, is pursuing her master’s degree, and is currently a Property & Casualty Actuary with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. She has returned to Farmington a number of times to promote the actuarial career path and to share with students the role of regulators in the business world.

“Helping today’s students understand the professional career paths that are available to them is a wonderful feeling of giving back,” said Darby. “We have even had high school students interested in the UMF program contact our office to see if the profession is the right direction for them.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

Link to image on WordPress: https://www.umf.maine.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2020/06/RP190-068A.jpg
Photo Caption: Daniel Mickiewicz, (second from right) UMF Actuarial Science student intern, learns more about EPIC Retirement Plan Services and its internship opportunities from Matt Pine, (center) director of retirement plan consulting, and other EPIC employees.(from left) Justin Toporcer, Kelsey Alley and Ingrid Libby.
Photo Credit: UMF Image

Link to image on WordPress: https://www.umf.maine.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2020/06/RP190-068B.jpg
Photo Caption: Daniel Mickiewicz, (left) UMF Actuarial Science student says, “Professor Koban (right) is a wonderful advocate for students. She’s our number one resource.”
Photo Credit: UMF Image

Link to image on WordPress: https://www.umf.maine.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2020/06/RP190-068C.jpg
Photo Caption: Sandra Darby Darby, UMF 2009 graduate, is pursuing her master’s degree, and is currently a Property & Casualty Actuary with the Maine Bureau of Insurance. She has returned to Farmington a number of times to promote the actuarial career path and to share with students the role of regulators in the business world.
Photo Credit: UMF Image

April Mulherin
UMF Associate Director for Media Relations
office: 207-778-7081
cell: 207-491-0064
april.mulherin@maine.edu

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