(by Agatha Caleo and Celeste Bremen)
In addition to being awarded grant money toward their educations, CAS Trust Scholarship winners are invited to attend the CAS Annual Meeting each year. This year there were three winners: Kate McCoy, senior at Drake University, received a $10,000 scholarship. The recipients of the $5,000 scholarship awards were Jacob Akstins, senior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Lily Cook, senior at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. We interviewed Kate about her experience at the 2017 CAS Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA, in November.
Future Fellows: Please tell us about your general experience at the conference.
Kate McCoy: I was honored to be named one of the CAS Trust Scholarship winners. At the beginning of the conference I received my $10,000 scholarship. It is so amazing how the CAS supports students throughout their time in college. During the conference I was able to attend other sessions and meet the new associates and fellows of the CAS. I can’t wait to be in their seats one day when I obtain my designations.
FF: What session did you most enjoy attending? Why?
KM: I really enjoyed the trust presentation that was held as a general session for everyone. The speakers commented on how building trust in an organization can lead to stronger teams and higher profitability. The suggestions that he made during the presentation are tactics that I want to take back to my organizations at Drake University so that we can accomplish all of our goals.
FF: Can you tell us more about your experiences speaking with new members of the CAS at the conference?
KM: I spoke with a few new members of the CAS and it is amazing how much work they put into receiving their designations. They inspire me to work hard so that one day I can be a new member of the CAS as well.
FF: What were you most surprised to learn at the conference?
KM: Going into the conference as a student, I didn’t ever think about what it takes to run the CAS. It is outstanding how many people are involved on committees, leadership positions, and much more to make sure that the CAS runs smoothly and efficiently. You could tell how passionate people are about the CAS as they take on roles and volunteer opportunities to support the CAS. These individuals also inspired me to join committees to support the CAS when I become a new member one day.
FF: What did you learn that you hope to take with you as you prepare for your first full-time actuarial job?
KM: I attended session that the CAS University Award winners created. This presentation was very interesting because I had never thought about the work that universities put in to prepare students for their first full-time jobs. As I prepare for my first full-time actuarial job at Travelers, I realize how much I should thank the School of Actuarial Science and Risk Management at Drake University for all of the work that they put in to help me achieve my career goals.
Also, the trust presentation that I mentioned before will follow me throughout my actuarial career. I aspire to be a leader in the insurance industry in the future and I think it will be very important to build trust throughout my time at work so that there is open and engaging communication between departments.
FF: Based on what you learned, what do you think other aspiring actuaries should know?
KM: From talking with the new associates and fellows, I think aspiring actuaries should know how much hard work it takes to become a new member of the CAS. Although it may take many hours of studying, joining the CAS is a very special honor.
I also think it is important to know how many friends you can make through the insurance industry. Sometimes it feels like a very small world. In fact, I was able to get to know the other CAS Trust Scholarship winners at the conference. Although we are all headed to different companies in different areas, we were able to bond during the conference and may meet up again in the future. Everyone is very supportive of each other in the actuarial field and I think that is a great environment to be in.
FF: Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experience?
KM: I can’t thank the CAS enough for the support they have given me as a student. The experience of being a CAS Trust Scholarship winner will be one of my favorite memories from college because they relieved some of my financial burdens during college and allowed me to attend such an outstanding conference in Anaheim, CA. The entire staff was so helpful during the conference as I learned more about the CAS and what happens during the annual meetings.
For further information on the CAS Trust Scholarship, including who is eligible and how to apply, please follow this link. Applications for the 2018 CAS Trust Scholarship are due March 1st, 2018. Please encourage students you know to apply and spark an interest in the property/casualty actuarial profession.