EMM’s Center for Access and Attainment (CAA) has been leading efforts to spread awareness about actuarial careers to underserved high school populations in Chicago, collaborating with the Casualty Actuary Society (CAS) to connect high-performing math students of color to the profession. This partnership between CAA and CAS led to the first-ever High School Actuarial Day on April 18, 2018, on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus.
The actuarial field is a lucrative career option for students interested in math, but it’s not widely known, especially with students of color. A recent study found that people of color are underrepresented in the field due to lack of awareness and accessibility issues. As of January 2017, there were 32,000 credentialed actuaries in the U.S., and only 182 were African-American. These findings started a national initiative by actuary organizations to diversify their industry.
“CAS wants to connect with diverse high school populations, and we have connections and experience with this kind of outreach,” shares Kate Agarwal, assistant director of College Access in CAA. “We saw this partnership with CAS as an opportunity to bring new information and exposure to well-paying careers to students of color, especially from underresourced schools.”
The Actuarial Day in April was the first milestone and collaborative venture in these efforts—drawing more than 250 students of color from 14 high schools around Chicago. CAA recruited the student attendees and coordinated the logistics for the event, and CAS provided funding and delivered the program’s content. Other national actuary organizations co-sponsored and attended as well.
“DePaul is one of the few area universities with an actuary science undergraduate degree,” continues Agarwal, “so the partnership with CAS also serves to bring positive exposure to the university and the program.”
The event included a resource fair showcasing DePaul departments such as the Office of Multicultural Student Success, and EMM’s Career Center and offices of Admission and Financial Aid. CAS brought in more than 60 professional actuaries as volunteers who facilitated activities and gave talks on what it means to be an actuary, the process of becoming one, and the different opportunities within the field.
“One of the factors limiting students of color from entering the profession is a lack of awareness of the industry before college,” shares Brian Brown, CAS President. “Therefore, we are trying to reach and educate high school students about the actuarial career. DePaul has been a fantastic partner for this effort, due to their fine reputation, contacts at local high schools, and shared dedication to enhancing opportunities for students of color.”
Due to the success of the Actuarial Day, there are plans to make it an annual event at DePaul, and to hold similar smaller events in the future. CAS also plans to model the program in other cities around the country.
The awareness initiative has also sparked plans to develop an actuarial sciences course for CAA’s College Connect program, in partnership with DePaul’s Arditti Center for Risk Management.
For more information about DePaul’s partnership with CAS, or the High School Actuarial Day, contact Kate Agarwal, assistant director of College Access.