FARMINGTON, ME (November 4, 2022)—The University of Maine at Farmington Actuarial Science program recently brought more than 100 Maine high school students to the Farmington campus to learn about actuarial science and participate in the national 2022-2023 “Modeling the Future Challenge.”
UMF offers the only bachelor’s degree program in Actuarial Science in Maine and New Hampshire.
High school students participating at UMF in the Modeling the Future Challenge are hearing live from Nichole Semprit, senior program specialist with The Actuarial Foundation.
Students from the Mt Blue, Ellsworth, Machias and South Portland Maine school districts came to UMF with their teachers and mentors for an interactive workshop on the challenge, networking opportunities and to hear first-hand from UMF students in the program and professionals in the field.
This was a follow-up event to a Summer 2022 workshop when six teachers from around Maine came to UMF to learn about the Modeling the Future Challenge and how they might implement it with their students.
UMF is one of 13 national University partners in the MTFC program, a project-based competition that invites high school math students to conduct their own research project combining math modeling, data analysis and risk management to study a real-world problem. Their recommendations are then shared with companies, industry groups, governments or organizations.
Henri McCourt, student at Mt. Blue High School, participates in the Modeling the Future Challenge with his classmates.
“To date, no team from Maine has participated in this challenge, and we are changing that this year in a big way,” said Lori Koban, UMF professor of mathematics and director of UMF’s Actuarial Science program.
“Many businesses in Maine and throughout the country need professionals with top level mathematics skills to help them be successful today and meet the challenges of the future. Attracting students to math-based careers like actuarial science needs to start early and my hope is that this is just the beginning,” said Koban.
Actuaries are professional risk managers and problem solvers as conditions affect insurance, investments and other financial activities. 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 professions, including as a credentialed actuary, underwriter, data analyst or statistician.
“I personally think any experience the students can have outside of the classroom, which is related to their content learning but mainly showcasing the real-life connection is super beneficial to them,” said Meng Hardy, Mt. Blue High School math teacher. “It makes their learning relevant, meaningful and purposeful. I’m so glad that Lori Koban took on this challenge, got Maine high school math teachers and students involved in the Modeling the Future Challenge. The Actuarial Science Day at UMF was an amazing learning experience.”
(Left to right) Lori Koban, UMF professor of mathematics and director of UMF’s Actuarial Science program, is joined by Tristan Bates, teacher at Ellsworth High School and UMF alumnus of the Class of 2010.
Koban has been working in collaboration with the Actuarial Foundation and the Institute for Competition Sciences to bring these opportunities to Maine students and the Farmington campus.
“It is easy to offer students a collection of courses that prepares students for the actuarial career, though not a lot of colleges in New England do. However, what sets UMF apart is our connections to the industry,” said Koban.
“If an actuarial employer in Maine needs a new hire or intern, I am frequently contacted. We have prioritized networking within the actuarial industry, and our students are benefiting. And now, by reaching out to our Maine high schools and introducing them to the Modeling the Future Challenge, we hope to educate our high schoolers about actuarial-related careers,” said Koban.
The Actuarial Foundation promotes lifelong math education and financial literacy through its learning resources and scholarships. The Modeling the Future Challenge is managed by the Institute of Competition Sciences, a leader in the design and management of academic challenge-based-learning programs. Together they are working to increase awareness of the actuarial profession, a STEM field that is in high demand across industries.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics September 2022 report, employment of actuaries is projected to grow 21 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
More on University of Maine at Farmington
A nationally-recognized public liberal arts college, UMF enjoys a 150-year tradition of providing a quality academic experience combined with the personal attention and close student / faculty collaboration that help prepare all students to be successful. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation, and business and pre-professional studies. UMF is located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region and is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.
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Photo Caption: High school students participating at UMF in the Modeling the Future Challenge are hearing live from Nichole Semprit, senior program specialist with The Actuarial Foundation.
Photo Credit: UMF Image
Photo Caption: (Left to right) Lori Koban, UMF professor of mathematics and director of UMF’s Actuarial Science program, is joined by Tristan Bates, teacher at Ellsworth High School and UMF alumnus of the Class of 2010.
Photo Credit: UMF Image
Photo Caption: Henri McCourt, student from Mt. Blue High School, participates in the Modeling the Future Challenge with his classmates.
Photo Credit: UMF Image