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Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa (GIS) Chapter is an international fraternity whose purpose is to promote, encourage, and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science as professions; to encourage the high moral and scholastic attainments of its members; and to facilitate interaction of educational institutions and industry through networking and by fostering research activities, scholarship, and improved public relations.
As members of the club, students have an opportunity to hear from actuaries at varying levels from both local and national actuarial firms. At club meetings, actuarial professionals share information about their respective companies and provide helpful employment advice. In addition to meeting with prospective employers, members will also participate in career-building activities, such as resume reviews and interview preparation. These activities help prepare actuarial students for summer internships and ultimately full-time employment.
The Gamma Iota Sigma chapter also helps organize the annual Actuarial Science Career Day, which brings together potential employers with students.
To join Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU), follow the three steps below:
Once your application is processed, you will receive an email invitation from SunDevilSync to join GIS @ ASU. You will need to click on 'accept' in the email invitation in order to become an official member.
Email Jonathan Kiperman with any questions.
NOTE: Incomplete applications cannot be processed and only completed forms will be considered for membership in SunDevilSync.
Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU officers for 2020-2021 (from left)
President - Kinsey Turk
Vice President - Dylan Ketcham
Treasurer - Jonathan Kiperman
Diversity and Inclusion Officer - Fernando Correa Chavez
Committee members (from left)
Gina Gilkey, Lydia Garbic, Neil Bhardwaja, James Cooper
September 29, 2020
By Gina Gilkey
Like all other events of the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) thus far, a great deal of flexibility and effort was put forth to make the annual Actuarial Science Career Fair possible in a virtual format. This event always opens doors for many students pursuing actuarial science degrees searching for an internship or full-time position in the industry. That said, the joint efforts of GIS @ ASU and Arizona State University’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SoMSS) to make this large, vital event a success despite the challenging circumstances are much appreciated by many students and employers. This year’s career fair on September 23, brought together 26 companies and close to 100 ASU students eager to network and ask questions with company representatives through each of their respective Zoom links. The face-to-face interaction with employers was preserved through the use of webcams for the entirety of the event.
The Actuarial Science Career Fair was kicked off with an ASU alumni panel via Zoom, moderated by Jeff Durham of Allstate. All the students had the opportunity to hear and learn from Durham, as well as Steven Locke of Nationwide, Kelsi Knoles of IAT Insurance, Jacob Langerman of Mercer, Grace Kennedy of USAA, and Michael Brunner of Centene. Each panelist introduced themselves, and then the audience was invited to ask questions, which sparked much discussion throughout the first half-hour of the career fair. Students were curious about remote working and career insight from the experienced actuaries in the panel.
Following the ASU alumni panel and for the remainder of the career fair, students had 26 company Zoom links at their disposal to join at any time to begin group networking with company representatives. Then, after an hour of solely open group networking, the pre-scheduled “speed” interviews began. Company representatives created separate breakout rooms to hold these 12-minute short interviews with one student at a time. Meanwhile, other students could remain networking with other company representatives in their main Zoom room. This was a great way to utilize technology to make all of the features of an in-person career fair possible in this virtual environment.
All in all, for the first-ever virtual Actuarial Science Career Fair, the event was a huge success, as students were able to gain insight from the panelists and build more relationships with industry professionals through group networking and speed interviews in breakout rooms via Zoom. GIS @ ASU would like to thank each panelist for donating their time and the companies that attended to make this an invaluable virtual career fair.
September 25, 2020
By James Cooper
On September 22, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) was proud to host Mercer for their annual company visit. Mercer is a consulting company with expertise across multiple disciplines, and they came to tell us about their actuarial student programs and share their full-time and internship opportunities. While their visits have historically been in-person featuring phenomenal food, Mercer was not hindered by the trend of hosting virtual company visits. The many presenters gave students an idea of opportunities available with Mercer and what typical work looks like. They also had a unique way to get GIS @ ASU members active and show off their personalities in the form of a scavenger hunt from home!
Mercer has a great history of involvement with GIS @ ASU, so to start the night, they gave a panel introduction of professionals who have graduated from the ASU actuarial program and are alumni of GIS. The panel introduced themselves with their paths to success at Mercer, some of which were non-traditional. Then, as an icebreaker and way to get the organization to show off some of their interests, Mercer conducted a free-form scavenger hunt! They gave a list of items and 5 minutes for members to run around their houses and grab anything related to the list. This list included items like an egg, a book, family photos, and a favorite snack. Students were able to get creative with some of the options. Finding an "egg" to GIS @ ASU's president Kinsey Turk meant showing off her new kitten, whom she calls her "little egg." Another committee member, James Cooper, showed off his favorite "book" in the form of a collection of manga novels. Overall, the organization got to show off their personality and who they are outside of school, which Mercer appreciates in their team.
The night was entertaining and interactive for all students and professionals alike. On behalf of the entire membership, we would like to thank Mercer very much for coming and giving us a great idea of their company and what it is like interacting with them. Thank you to all of those who attended, and we look forward to next week's visit with Allstate!
September 22, 2020
By Fernando Correa Chavez
Actuarial science is not a commonly known profession amongst high school students, and the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter (GIS @ ASU) has been attempting to change that. Last year GIS @ ASU visited many high schools to inform students about the profession. This year the club needed to adapt to the virtual environment and hosted its first virtual high school visit. Since the event was held online, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) could virtually attend on September 18 and work with GIS @ ASU to connect Cortez High School’s AP Calculus class.
Kathryn Griepp, Cortez High School’s AP Calculus teacher, made time in her busy schedule to allow the SOA and CAS to speak to her class about the actuarial profession. Alejandro Ortega, the president-elect of the Organization of Latino Actuaries, moderated the event. The day started with an introduction from GIS @ ASU’s chapter president, Kinsey Turk, who went over a brief overview of the Gamma Iota Sigma club. After the introduction, Alejandro Ortega introduced the basics of the actuarial profession to the students, and also went over how he was introduced to the industry and the struggles he had to overcome to get to where he is today.
After Alejandro, three other speakers (Rose Barrett, Alex Knights, and GIS @ ASU’s D&I officer Fernando Correa) presented how they discovered the profession and the challenges they had to face. Immediately after that, Rose and Alex gave a couple of fun mathematical and logical problems. These problems were not calculus intensive; they focused on introducing the students to risk exposure and the logical thinking that actuaries use each day.
To end the day, Alejandro went over the available resources to the students so they could learn more about the profession on their own time. He also went over the different organizations that are in place to help students interested in pursuing the actuarial science profession and answered any questions the class had about the career. GIS @ ASU would like to thank Kathryn Griepp for allowing us to take some of her class time to speak to her calculus class, and would also like to thank the SOA and CAS for organizing this event. GIS @ ASU looks forward to more joint high school outreach initiatives with the SOA and CAS and informing more students about the actuarial profession.
September 18, 2020
By Neil Bhardwaja
Continuing in its fall company visits, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) had the amazing opportunity of hosting IAT Insurance Group at its meeting on September 15. This was IAT’s first-ever company visit with GIS @ ASU, and club members were able to meet several IAT representatives, including two ASU Actuarial Science alumni, Kelsi Knowles and Haley Schuman. After some brief introductions, the IAT Insurance Group representatives presented about the company and its values, as well as its award-winning work environment. Students were able to learn about the company’s unique involvement with specialty insurance, as well as the excess and surplus lines of insurance the company offered, including inland marine insurance and management liability insurance.
After the initial presentation, IAT Insurance hosted an entertaining game of Kahoot, breaking up attendees into different breakout rooms and having them compete for the chance to win IAT merchandise. The trivia questions involved several insurance questions, and students had to answer as fast as possible correctly. While GIS members range from first-year to graduate students, everyone had an enjoyable time figuring out answers to questions like how long IAT Insurance has been around or when exactly the first recorded insurance contract was written (1347!).
After the victors were determined in each breakout room, the attendees reconvened in the main session to learn more about the company’s career and internship programs. Students asked questions about how the company’s internship program was organized and the different insurance employment opportunities available in actuarial science and underwriting. GIS @ ASU had a fantastic time meeting with IAT Insurance Group, and members were able to learn more about the types of companies and employment opportunities available in the expansive insurance industry.
September 15, 2020
By Lydia Gabric
Every fall semester, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) invites local insurance companies to share information about their work, internship programs, and much more. On September 8, representatives from Actuarial Strategies and Tactics (AST) joined GIS @ ASU to host the semester's first company visit. The evening began with a presentation, followed by a fun-filled game of Family Feud. After quick introductions from all the AST representatives, they described AST's ethics, culture, and internship program. GIS @ ASU members could get a glimpse of what working at a team-based actuarial and insurance consulting firm is like.
Attendees were separated into different breakout rooms, each with a representative from AST, to create smaller, interpersonal groups. Each breakout room was then further split into the two teams to go head-to-head over Zoom. While many of the Family Feud questions did not test skills directly applicable to an actuarial job, knowing how to work within a team and telecommunication are invaluable skills. GIS @ ASU members from different backgrounds pulled their knowledge together to try to get the most points.
After the dust settled within each breakout room, everyone reconvened in the main room for the overall winner to be announced. The group who earned the most points was the 'A-Team': Dylan Ketcham, Sean Kratsch, Madelyn Law, and Lainey Waldman. They were able to communicate within their group instead of just relying on their knowledge.
GIS @ ASU had a fantastic start to the company visits planned for this fall semester. Not only did our members gain valuable insight about AST, but they also enjoyed a virtual collaborative experience. After an extremely successful first meeting, we are looking forward to our next meeting!
September 11, 2020
By Gina Gilkey
With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the transition of almost all work and learning to a completely virtual format, actuaries and insurance professionals need to prepare for a digital future. Fortunately, Mark Farrell, the founder of ProActuary, put together a phenomenal three-day Digital Actuary Virtual Summit consisting of 22 sessions that prepare actuaries for just that. The members of Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) were able to register for the Summit for free and engage in these morning sessions from September 1st -3rd, 2020. Topics included Data Science, AI, InsurTech, Dynamic Pricing, Insurance Digitization, Blockchain, Wearables, etc. Being delivered entirely online, this event is known as the “Netflix of actuarial education”!
Participating in the Virtual Summit was an exciting opportunity because it was GIS @ ASU’s first time doing so, and a plethora of valuable information could be digested from it. Each session consisted of an actuarial discussion with different top leaders, actuaries, and insurance professionals worldwide, from Chicago to London to Australia. The virtual conference explained a global profession to a global audience. Upon registration for the Summit, there were eight categories that attendees could select as their primary interests. Based on the selected categories, attendees were then given a list of the specific sessions that pertain to their selected category interests. For example, if practicpants chose the Future of the Actuarial Profession, Data Science, InsurTech, or AI, the session led by Erik Wenzel, an FSA from Chicago, called “Actuaries and the Inevitable: 4 Ways Actuaries Can Secure Their Future in a World of Hyperconnectivity, AI, and InsurTech” would appear on the list. Some key takeaways include the new focus on continuous data flow via wearables instead of quarterly data needing frequent updates, continuous actuarial analysis using Python, predictive analytics, and machine learning. Another takeaway from the sessions was the importance of aspects outside of the actuarial examination process, such as the people skills and the awareness of the current actuarial industry happenings.
All in all, the Digital Actuary Virtual Summit was an invaluable learning experience, especially during these times of change and uncertainty. From learning about what the “Modern Actuary” is expected to look like, to diving into the details of digitizing insurance and changing pricing processes, GIS @ ASU found these sessions fascinating and will use this new knowledge to grow our professional lives and impact others. That said, GIS @ ASU would like to give a huge thank you to Mark Farrell for all of the hard work he put into making this Virtual Summit a success and giving our members this fantastic learning opportunity.
September 8, 2020
By James Cooper
With the school year underway, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter (GIS @ ASU) had its first official meeting of the semester on September 1 to welcome new members and formally introduce our officers and faculty. This meeting took place over Zoom, which did not stop the officers from creating a welcoming environment for the new and returning members. It was GIS @ ASU's pleasure to introduce our wonderful officers and faculty of professionals in the field of actuarial science and risk management.
To begin, President Kinsey Turk gave an excellent introduction as to what GIS @ ASU is, its mission, and the services it offers to students and aspiring professionals. Vice President Dylan Ketcham then went over a schedule of upcoming events to build interest and make sure students knew what events to put on their calendars. Upcoming events include visits from various companies, the WSIA Symposium, and our annual Actuarial Science Career Fair! Treasurer Jon Kiperman then gave a brief overview of the road to membership, and Diversity and Inclusion officer Fernando Correa Chavez spoke on our mission of including and promoting diverse backgrounds through partnerships with societies such as the Association for Women in Mathematics and the Organization of Latino Actuaries. To finish the night on an exciting note, committee member Neil Bhardwaja led a trivia game to further introduce officers and faculty with fun facts. GIS @ ASU offered branded hats as a prize to those who placed top three in the leaderboard at the end of the game. We learned a lot of interesting facts about the officers and faculty, and even a bit about the pets they are proud to own!
Overall, the first meeting successfully introduced new members into our professional organization by connecting them with other students, whether new or returning, and faculty. Thank you to all members, officers, and faculty present, and we look forward to meeting again next Tuesday, September 9th for our first professional company visit from AST!
September 2, 2020
By Fernando Correa Chavez
Each year, the Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Grand Chapter hosts the GIS Leadership Symposium, a three-day annual event where new and returning officers receive leadership training from insurance professionals, fellow officers, and members of the grand chapter. This year, for the first time, the event was hosted in a virtual environment. All the officers of the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) attended the symposium on August 27th-29th, connecting with other members of the GIS community. Usually, only the president and the D&I officer are able to attend this symposium, but due to the virtual format, all officers were lucky enough to be able to attend. The theme for this year’s event centered around how each officer could perform their duties in the current virtual environment.
The first day kicked off with a presentation from Chubb, informing the officers of the key traits that every officer needs to have to serve as a role model amongst their chapter’s members. This informative session gave our officers new insights on how to improve their leadership skills. After this session, the day wrapped up with a virtual career fair, where GIS @ ASU representatives had a chance to network with company representatives.
The second day included more presentations from industry professionals. The first session, entitled “Navigating Conflict,” explained typical styles of handling conflict and when it is best to use each one. This session informed our officers of when it is best to take charge of a situation and when it is best to hear out all the available options. Later in the day, GammaSAID presented on how officers could use different tactics to be more diverse and inclusive in their chapter. This session proved to be very helpful to our incoming diversity and inclusion officer, who could take these lessons forward in the school year.
The final day mostly consisted of presentations from different GIS student officers and group breakout sessions. The GIS student officers expanded on the responsibilities that each different officer position has, and on advice that they would give to those respective officers. The advice mostly centered around how those officers could manage their responsibilities during the current virtual academic year. After every half hour of the presentations, the main group was divided into breakout sessions. These smaller groups helped facilitate discussions amongst students on how they were considering implementing all the new ideas they learned.
The GIS leadership symposium allowed GIS @ ASU’s officers to learn new skills and tactics to implement this academic year, allowing our future virtual club meetings to run smoothly. This symposium also allowed our officers to network with other chapters virtually. The officers of GIS @ ASU would like to thank the GIS Grand Chapter for organizing and hosting this event. We look forward to next year’s symposium!
August 20, 2020
By Neil Bhardwaja
With summer winding down and school just a week away, the ASU School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SoMSS) hosted its annual Fall Welcome on August 18th to introduce incoming students to the vast resources and opportunities available at ASU. The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) was thrilled to have its officers and faculty advisors attend this special presentation and interact with freshmen students as well as the SoMSS professors.
Though conducted virtually, the SoMSS Fall Welcome managed to perfectly connect upcoming SoMSS students, not only with the built-in services for their future success but also with the incredible human resources and organizations available at ASU. After the faculty introduced themselves and offered their best piece of advice to listeners, the SoMSS clubs presented their unique club missions and suggested several ways for students to get involved outside of the classroom and make a difference. GIS @ ASU president, Kinsey Turk, presented to first-year students and discussed our club’s dedication to the academic and professional development of any student interested in insurance and risk management. She mentioned several of GIS @ ASU’s most valuable events, including career fairs, internship opportunities, resume workshops, mock interviews, and even case studies. After the main presentation concluded, GIS @ ASU hosted a Q&A presentation for prospective members. The officers were able to interact directly with students and share their experiences within the club as well as their professional endeavors through the actuarial science program.
GIS @ ASU always enjoys the opportunity to connect with students and enable them to learn more and become more involved with the world of insurance. We are excited to meet all of the new students this semester and see them at our first meeting on September 1st!
April 5, 2020
By Dylan Ketcham
In the wake of the COVID-19 virus’s spread, many important events have either been cancelled or postponed. Despite the challenges this presents, the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) wants to continue to provide valuable experiences to students. As such, ASU and CAS’s 5th annual case study was moved online, so that students could still prepare in-depth presentations and practice their public speaking skills, while maintaining the suggested social distance. Four teams, made up of members from the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at Arizona State University (GIS @ ASU), virtually gathered on the night of March 31, 2020, to present their findings and advocate for their product.
The focus of the project was to develop a warranty plan for D-Mobile, a fictitious online phone company. In order to successfully develop this product, teams had to focus on both actuarial and pricing concerns, as well as form a marketing and business plan for the implementation of the product. The four teams each took their own approach to designing a product that would be appealing to customers as well as business executives, and found clever ways to design and market their warranty plans. Once these products were formulated, teams had to present their plan to a varied team of judges with experience in all areas of the insurance industry. This year’s case study came with an extra layer of difficulty, as contestants had to meet and present virtually. Overall, the case study was a huge success! Congratulations to the winning team of ASOP's Devils -- comprised of Walker Reinmann, Carsten Rolofson, Michelle Torbit, and Kinsey Turk -- who’s presentation combined actuarial knowledge with business acumen in a creative way.
It is important in times of strife for people and organizations to quickly adapt and make the best of any situation. This year’s CAS Case Study was an incredible example of the flexibility and creativity of the organization, as well as the members and students who participate. GIS @ ASU would especially like to thank the judges who took time from their busy schedules to participate in this event. Additionally, GIS @ ASU would like to thank Steve Armstrong, president of the CAS, for attending the Case Study and seeing the next generation of CAS actuaries in action. Having seasoned members of the insurance industry to interact with is invaluable to students and future members, and we would not be able to have such amazing events without their support.
By Devon Haycock, Kinsey Turk and Jelena Milovanovic
March 23, 2020
On March 3, Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) hosted representatives from the Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA) who shared their mission and experience as actuarial analysts from an underrepresented population.
OLA was formed in 2016 with the goal of increasing the amount of Latinx (the non-gender form of Latino/Latina) actuaries by promoting the profession and providing guidance, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Recent studies show that only 18% of the U.S. population is Latinx and 10% of recent college graduates are Latinx, but only 2% of recent credentialed actuaries in the U.S. are Latinx. In order to increase this drastically low statistic, OLA helps members by providing them with opportunities and resources.
Actuarial analysts Israel Alvarez of Wakely Consulting, Jasmine Puente of Mercer, and Kevin Hoyos of Allstate shared their experiences and insights with GIS @ ASU members. Hoyos graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and struggled to find a good career opportunity. After he passed an actuarial exam, OLA reached out to him to find ways to provide the extra support he needed in his pursuit of becoming an actuary. OLA helped with his resume and interviewing skills, which ultimately led to his entry level position at Allstate. Alvarez and Puente both shared similar experiences about exam reimbursement and networking opportunities provided by OLA. Both agreed that the networking opportunities and connection established via OLA ultimately lead to their successful employment at their current companies.
Although these are stories from only three members, OLA has helped hundreds of Latinx find successful employment in actuarial science. OLA has created a community full of love and compassion by providing assistance in exam reimbursement, mentorship programs, interviewing preparation and networking opportunities. OLA’s program continues to help students nationwide and has even helped one of GIS’ own members attend a networking convention in New York, which ultimately lead to an internship opportunity at New York Life this coming summer.
Thanks to combined efforts with the GIS Grand Chapter, the awareness about the profession is at an all-time high across multiple cultural platforms. If you are reading this and know of anyone who might benefit from OLA, feel free to reach out to them on either their website or via email LatinoActuaries@gmail.com.
March 3, 2020
By Michelle Torbit
Interview skills are arguably the most important part in landing a first job after a students’ completion of their undergraduate/graduate career. There are many components that determine a successful interview; whether it is a well-formatted and expertly crafted resume, a commanding presence, a great outfit that helps exude confidence, or well-articulated responses to the interviewer's tough questions. It is the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU's (GIS @ ASU) goal to prepare its members for these important career hurdles and set our students up for success.
On the evening of February 25, GIS @ ASU hosted the club's Annual Mock Interview Night, where employers from around the valley and beyond donate their time to coach students on what they look for during the interview process. Each year, members take time to practice their interview skills and perfect their resumes before this much anticipated event. Resume reviews and interviewing advice was provided generously by professors, GIS @ ASU officers, and upperclassman alike.
GIS @ ASU W.P. Carey Ambassador, Sean Kratsch, was one of the students who interviewed during the mock session and was able to practice not one interview, but two! Sean's interviewers were both fellow ASU alumni, Michael Brunner from Centene, and Kelsi Knowles representing IAT Insurance Group. During Sean's interview, discussion points included questions regarding how actuarial students manage their time respective to the work/school/exam/life balance (a tough one for sure!), as well as how team management strategies can be implemented in school project experiences.
GIS @ ASU members had a memorable evening networking with so many professionals in the actuarial field. A huge thank you to all the employers and students who participated in the mock interview process and made it such a success!
February 26, 2020
By Sean Kratsch
The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) showed up in full force to the ASU Open Door event on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Spread out over all of ASU’s campuses over multiple days, Open Door is an opportunity for the surrounding community to participate in arts and crafts, play games with one another, and get to know ASU. Working with the School of Statistical and Mathematical Sciences (SoMSS), GIS @ ASU volunteered to help make balloon geometry, gumdrop tetrahedrons, paper plate polyhedrons, and even read minds with math!
By working together with other volunteers to create a smooth event, GIS @ ASU was able to give back to the larger community while also taking a break from the stress of everyday college life to have some fun. With such a large turnout despite the rainy weather, there was plenty of conversation and crafts aimed towards sparking interest in mathematics as well as ASU as a whole. Even after Open Door has officially ended, many volunteers and participants stayed a little longer to get that last perfect balloon or gumdrop structure.
Any chance GIS @ ASU gets to be involved with the community proves time and time again to be valuable, as small interactions lead to big positive impacts. GIS @ ASU looks forward its next opportunity to interact with and give back to the community!
February 12, 2020
By Fernando Correa Chavez
The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) had the honor to host the president of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), Steven D. Armstrong, during its chapter meeting on February 4. The CAS president visited GIS @ ASU due to ASU winning the 2018 CAS University Award, as well as ASU’s rapidly growing presence in the Property and Casualty industry. In addition to Steven Armstrong, three actuaries from the valley—Jeff Durham, Kelsi Knoles, and Steven Locke—who are also past alumni from ASU’s actuarial science program, joined the meeting. Together they networked with students and joined in on round-table discussions.
The evening started with a presentation from Steven Armstrong. He presented on a variety of topics, ranging from an introduction to the CAS to the eight most essential characteristics that an actuary should strive to attain. This information is extremely relevant to GIS @ ASU’s newest members, as hearing this advice early on allows students plenty of time to develop good practices throughout their educational careers. Moreover, Armstrong explained what changes he intends to propose to the CAS, specifically that he hopes that the organization becomes more transparent with exam modifications in the upcoming years.
After Armsttong’s informative presentation, the students were organized into groups so they could have more interpersonal conversations with him and the three ASU alumni. During this portion of the night, students were encouraged to ask any questions they had pertaining to becoming successful in actuarial science or the industry as a whole. This proved to be an exciting and informative part of the evening for all involved.
GIS @ ASU would like to thank Steven Armstrong and our alumni for taking the time out of their busy schedules to attend this event. The opportunity to hear from these professionals is an invaluable experience for GIS @ ASU, especially for our newest members. GIS @ ASU looks forward to the next time it can hopefully host the CAS president!
February 10, 2020
By Michelle Torbit
The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) strives to help our members stay informed about the abundance of opportunities our school, community, and local companies have to offer. On January 29, the members of GIS @ ASU gathered to discuss the application process for the numerous scholarship opportunities that have been compiled by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SoMSS). These scholarships have a large base of donors that are prominent in the actuarial community ranging from Nationwide E&S/Specialty, Actuarial Strategies and Tactics, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and our very own Dr. John Zicarelli!
To kick-off the scholarship workshop, dinner was served and GIS @ ASU Vice President, Kinsey Turk, led an introduction to the scholarship process, as well as provided a reminder that the Charles Wexler Teaching Award nominations have a fast approaching deadline (nominate your favorite math professor!). A substantial portion of the evening was dedicated to a workshop discussing the most prominent part of the application process—the ever-daunting, personal statement. The club’s officers were there to lend advice on statement best practices, such as a how to articulate career/educational goals, explain past successes and failures, and stress the importance of proper formatting and grammar.
GIS @ ASU wishes all of its members luck in applying for these scholarships and would also like to remind students that officers are available during tutoring hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for personal statement draft review. Make sure to get your applications in by February 9 at 11:59 PM – happy writing!
January 28, 2020
By Sean Kratsch
At the beginning of each semester, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) likes to welcome back members from their relaxing winter break and greet new potential members. The meeting is designed to share what exciting events there are to look forward to from GIS @ ASU in the new semester, such as the start of scholarship application season, company visits, diversity and inclusion, and plenty of social events. In addition to an overview of the schedule, the officers each introduced themselves to the group and led a fun game of math trivia.
Dylan Ketcham, president of GIS @ ASU, opened the night with a presentation on the three main aspects of the organization: professional development, education, and social interaction. While tutoring, exam preparation, and other means of academic support may be the more obvious events planned for the semester, Dylan also emphasized the role of GIS @ ASU in assisting in personal and professional development as well. To meet these ends, Dylan was excited to share events such as the mock interview night and a future diversity and inclusion meeting with the Organization of Latino Actuaries. The meeting then moved to an exciting quiz game that allowed members to work with and against each other to answer questions about math, GIS @ ASU, and more.
Created by Kinsey Turk, vice president of GIS @ ASU, the trivia game quickly became a friendly competition and sparked conversation between the players. Questions about knowing the first ten digits of pi were followed with fun facts about the officers and even the professors! While risk management and insurance can often be a challenging field to study, grow, and work in, being able to share the experience with other people is a great way to stay determined. The spring welcome is just the beginning of that process. GIS @ ASU strives to create an environment that fosters connections between students, faculty, and industry professionals to make all feel welcome.
January 17, 2020
By Kinsey Turk
The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) is always proud of the many accomplishments and awards its members receive, and the 2019 CPCU Scholarship was no exception. This year, GIS @ ASU members Dylan Ketcham, Oswaldo Sanchez, Michelle Torbit, Kinsey Turk, and Hailey Walters were all award recipients. As honorees, the students were invited to the CPCU’s January Luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020, at Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas. Aside from lunch and recognition of the scholarship recipients, students and members were treated with a presentation from Jim Huscroft on innovations in auto insurance from the company Metromile.
After lunch was served and members had time to network a bit, the program for the day began. Each of the GIS @ ASU students was asked to join Arizona CPCU Chapter’s Vice President Brett Dawson on stage so he could share some information about them with the group as well as congratulate them for their achievements. From each short bio, it was clear that the five students all shared a commitment to the insurance industry, whether it be through their leadership role in GIS @ ASU, their experience in internships, or their dedication to education.
The rest of the luncheon time was devoted to listening to how Metromile is utilizing AI and emerging technology to change the way insurance is interacted with. By having each policyholder use a car plugin to record mileage among other data, insureds only pay for what they use. In addition, the surplus of data allows Metromile to prevent insurance fraud, locate stolen cars, and even distinguish the number of impacts a car experiences in the event of a multiple-car accident. Despite these innovations, Jeff shared how Metromile still has some ways to go before perfecting its business, but the future looks promising.
GIS @ ASU would like to give thanks to Diane Scheidt, Brett Dawson, and the many people at CPCU who were involved in the scholarship selection process. The Arizona chapter has always been a massive supporter of GIS @ ASU and has played a significant role in providing our members with opportunities to network and continue their education
December 5, 2019
By Sarah Lemme
Every year, in celebration of Arizona State University’s homecoming football game, organizations and schools within the university gather together for ASU’s annual block party. Community members and families can get a taste of the variety of things that ASU students and faculty participate in. This year the block party was held on November 23, and the members of the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) volunteered at the booth for the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SoMSS). GIS @ ASU members were excited to help with various activities and talk to the community members, many of whom came with young children.
The SoMSS booth had many attractions for community members to get to know the volunteers and clubs within SoMSS. Activities ranged from sudoku and card games to a math mind reader, a role that GIS @ ASU president Dylan Ketcham is renowned for. Volunteers also helped to create geometric balloon hats but quickly adapted to make swords, flower bracelets, and even dogs. Children walking by were very intrigued by the balloon hats as well as the math lollipops. Each candy had quotes from students and alumni about why they chose math and what they will be doing with their degree in the future. Everyone who participated in the activities, both party attendees and volunteers, had an amazing time!
ASU’s Homecoming Block Party was a massive success as the community learned more about what ASU has to offer. GIS @ ASU was one of many groups that helped organize activities and share their enthusiasm for ASU. Working with the community is vital to every organization, and GIS @ ASU is proud to have been able to do that through ASU’s Homecoming event.
December 2, 2019
By Fernando Correa Chavez
The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) strives to interact with the insurance industry in the valley on a regular basis. For this reason, the chapter was eager to host the fall 2019 Casualty Actuaries of the Desert States (CADS) meeting on November 22. Insurance professionals from the property and casualty sector and students from across Arizona gathered at ASU to gain an insight into new changes facing the industry, to network amongst each other, and to listen to informative presentations.
The event began with an introduction by Melissa Tomita, a member of the board of directors for the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). She discussed how the CAS is trying to gain a more global presence and how the CAS is reacting to current changes in the industry. This presentation allowed students in the audience to gain an insight into what they should expect in the near future if they decide to pursue the property and casualty track. This was followed by an update on ASU’s Actuarial Science Program by Dr. Jelena Milovanovic. She explained how the program is reacting to the growing needs of the industry and how the program has evolved in the past five years.
This was followed by presentations from two of GIS @ ASU’s very own members, former president Hailey Walters and current vice president Kinsey Turk. Walters described the challenges facing a new and emerging risk — cannabis. Currently, only a small number of excess and surplus lines carriers in the United States insure cannabis in some way. She elaborated on the potential issues and benefits of moving this risk into the admitted market. Turk’s presentation focused on how the #MeToo movement has impacted the excess and surplus lines. She explored the different challenges and opportunities that arose from this new risk and how the industry can react to it.
The meeting ended with two presentations: one given by an actuary from Pinnacle Actuarial Resources and another by a professor from Northern Arizona University. For the first presentation, Linda Brobeck gave a quick insight into an exciting modeling technique, decision trees. Through an interactive presentation, Brobeck was able to describe the benefits and setbacks of using this modeling process. Dr. Nick McKay, an associate professor from NAU, explained how climate change might affect different areas of the industry. Mainly, a warmer planet will result in more catastrophic claims. The afternoon ended with everyone reconvening at a social, which allowed students to further network with industry professionals.
GIS @ ASU enjoys hosting events that allow students to integrate into the professional world and witness first-hand the issues that the industry is facing. Additionally, providing students the opportunity to research and present their findings is priceless. GIS @ ASU looks forward to partnering with CADS again and hosting further meetings.
November 25, 2019
By Kinsey Turk
On top of all the professional development and insurance education events the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) holds, we are especially proud of our Diversity and Inclusion events. Bringing the values that these meetings promote to not only the workplace, but also everyday life, is incredibly important. For that reason, GIS @ ASU was excited to host another Diversity and Inclusion meeting with Sun Devil Civility’s SafeZONE program on November 18. The topic of discussion for the night was “Same Spaces/Different Faces.” Throughout the night students discussed what culture means to them and how it is present in their lives and identities in many different ways.
The goal of the night was to investigate how cultural diversity impacts personal and community experience. To begin the conversation, attendees were asked to describe a culture they all have in common — ASU! One of the main points students made was ASU’s size. Together, they reflected on how this aspect of ASU culture would make their experience in college much different compared to someone who attended a small private school. This exercise was important in showing students that culture plays a major role in how we interact with the world, as well as showing how many different things can be considered cultures.
The next activity students participated in highlighted the differences between individuals while also promoting intercultural understanding. Students were asked to form groups depending on different categories, such as if they liked rainy, sunny, or snowy days, and how many siblings they had. These types of culture may have seemed trivial, but they acted as a much larger metaphor. With this small example, students could see that they are part of many different cultures. In addition, even if they don’t belong to a certain culture, such as liking rainy days, they can appreciate or even understand it. Practicing this type of behavior is a core piece of what diversity and inclusion is all about!
After the event, GIS @ ASU can safely say its members are professional, educated, and most of all, inclusive. GIS @ ASU would like to give a huge thank you to Sun Devil Civility for presenting to our organization a second time and helping create a more understanding community at ASU. Make sure to keep an eye out for what fun Diversity and Inclusion event GIS @ ASU has planned for next semester!
November 19, 2019
By Jonathan Kiperman
All Industry Day (I-Day) is a celebration of the insurance industry and all the individuals that keep it running smoothly and effectively. Every year the Arizona Chapter of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) Society invites insurance professionals throughout the state to share in learning more about the wonders of insurance. This year, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) attended the annual I-Day held on November 15 at State Farm’s Tempe Campus. The theme for 2019’s I-Day celebration was how to manage disruption by breaking up large obstacles into smaller, more manageable goals to reach.
Between breakout sessions and keynote speakers, guests of I-Day had the chance to shuffle through various informational booths from different organizations in attendance. Alongside other schools and non-profits, GIS @ ASU ran a booth promoting the actuarial science and risk management programs at ASU. GIS @ ASU values the relationships it has with industry members and loves the chance to continue growing these connections as they help to reach the shared goal of promoting a career in insurance to college students. In addition to running the booth, GIS @ ASU’s representatives (Dr. John Zicarelli, Sean Kratsch, and Jonathan Kiperman) were also able to experience some of the excellent presentations by industry professionals and speakers. The day was filled with educational sessions and vital networking that highlighted GIS @ ASU to the industry professionals attending the event.
GIS @ ASU would like to thank the Arizona chapter of the CPCU Society for hosting I-Day. It was an incredibly organized and informative experience for both students and faculty. The opportunity to have a booth for the first time this year gave GIS @ ASU the chance to network and meet even more professions than it could have done otherwise. This year has certainly set a high bar for next year’s I-Day.
November 11, 2019
By Dylan Ketcham
As the insurance industry continues to evolve and grow, the Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) organization grows alongside it. Part of this growth includes the chartering of new GIS chapters, as more universities discover the value of risk management, insurance, and actuarial science. On November 7, the University of Southern California became the newest university to charter a chapter, becoming the location of the new Gamma Omicron chapter. Two members of the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter (GIS @ ASU), Dylan Ketcham and Sean Kratsch, participated in the chartering ceremony, sharing their passion for GIS as well as offering their experience as an established chapter.
The event began with speeches from the faculty advisor for Gamma Omicron, Kristen Jaconi, and a representative from the Gamma Iota Sigma Grand Chapter, Steve Marohn. The speakers talked about the many benefits of joining GIS and congratulated the new members for becoming part of a fantastic community. Afterward, members from other GIS chapters, including GIS @ ASU, led the new members through a signing ritual, themed after a sailing ship. The theme was chosen due to the origins of insurance as a way for merchants to protect losses for products lost at sea. GIS @ ASU President Dylan Ketcham served as Navigator, facilitating the signing of the new Gamma Omicron charter and explaining the importance of the GIS symbol of the Clasped Hands. GIS @ ASU W.P. Carey Ambassador Sean Kratsch then served as Helmsman, speaking on the symbolism behind the Greek letters “Gamma Iota Sigma.” The speeches added a sense of camaraderie and community to the chartering ceremony, as the new members were shown the values that GIS stands for and were officially welcomed into the organization.
This incredible event was a great opportunity to connect with a newly formed chapter, building valuable relationships with a new population of GIS students. Additionally, GIS @ ASU members got the chance to show the success of their organization, and help guide a new chapter to find their success.
GIS @ ASU wants to thank the Gamma Omicron chapter as well as the University of Southern California for inviting us to attend this special event. We look forward to our ongoing relationship with this exciting new chapter!
November 8, 2019
By Kinsey Turk
Between all of the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU’s (GIS @ ASU) professional development, diversity and inclusion, and company events, our members deserve a break to reconnect and socialize with one another. And so, on October 29, GIS @ ASU held its first-ever Halloween Social! Members gathered in their best Halloween costumes to play games, win some sweet treats, and have a spook-tacularly good time!
There is no doubt that building connections with companies and industry professionals is crucial to success. However, GIS @ ASU recognizes the equal importance of creating lasting bonds with peers. The same students who are part of GIS @ ASU today will one day be colleagues, bosses, and sources of job recommendations. For that reason, one of the main goals of the social event was to seat members with people they are unfamiliar with. Together, they played a whole host of games, including trivia, Pictionary, spoons, and a whodunnit style mystery. By tackling these challenges in teams, students formed new relationships and had lots of laughs.
At the end of the night, members voted for the best costume of the night. Among the creative attire, GIS @ ASU had two sharks, a James Bond, the Joker, and even a TI 30XS Multiview calculator. In the end, our three winners dressed as Bob Ross, a Disneyland dad, and a man riding a dinosaur.
Thank you to all those who attended and to the participants of the costume contest who made the night extra special. GIS @ ASU can’t wait to host more events like these where we can continue to get to know our members better!
November 4, 2019
By Jonathan Kiperman
Actuarial science, and the insurance industry in general, has commonly been discovered through family connections or by pure luck. Besides its frequent appearance in “best job” lists, actuarial science is not universally known, despite its importance. The Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter (GIS @ ASU) hopes to remedy this issue by taking steps towards educating high school students on the insurance industry and actuarial science. On October 30th, GIS @ ASU did just this at Horizon High School, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they spent the morning presenting to calculus classes.
Paul Long, the high school calculus teacher who taught GIS @ ASU’s treasurer, Jonathan Kiperman, made time in his math-packed lesson plans for GIS @ ASU to speak and run a simulation on insurance for two of his math classes. As the calculus students trickled into the classroom, they were assigned the role of either “insurance company” or “driver.” Once everyone had taken their seats, the GIS @ ASU presenters (Jonathan Kiperman, Kinsey Turk, Hailey Walters, Sean Kratsch, Sarah Lemme) and faculty Dr. John Zicarelli introduced themselves and gave a short description of the organization and the actuarial science program at Arizona State University. After a brief overview of how insurance works, the GIS @ ASU members explained the simulation and let the students begin.
The simulation was set up to model a simplified version of automobile insurance. The students assigned as “insurance companies” were split up into four groups, each tasked to set a premium, deductible, and policy limit. The rest of the students, or the “drivers,” had a chance to shop around and select the insurance company they wanted to buy a policy from. After all drivers chose their coverage, they took turns rolling their toy car through an obstacle course to simulate a driving experience and avoid or produce a loss. Drivers and insurance companies then put their math brains to the test and paid their respective losses according to the drivers’ policies. Before the start of the next round, the insurance companies had a chance to adjust their rates using what they learned. This was repeated for three total rounds with the end goal of being the company with the largest profit or the driver with the smallest amount paid. By simulating the challenges that underwriters and actuaries balance every day, students got a peek into the insurance world.
At the end of the class, GIS @ ASU members opened the room to questions over anything related to insurance, actuarial science, or Arizona State. Several students showed interest in learning more about actuarial science, which in GIS@ASU's eyes is a huge success. GIS @ ASU would like to thank Paul Long for making the time and allowing ASU’s actuarial students to present during his class time. Additionally, GIS @ ASU is currently working towards scheduling more high school visits, with our next one being at Williams Field High School, to educate as many students as possible on the importance and viability of actuarial science and the insurance industry.
October 18, 2019
By Kinsey Turk
Promoting and educating students about the insurance industry is a central tenet of Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU’s (GIS @ ASU) mission. That’s why the chapter was excited to help host the second Wholesale and Specialty Insurance (WSIA’s) Student Symposium on October 11-12 on campus. Students from southwest collages gathered at ASU to share in education, networking, and a bit of fun. With the support of the WSIA foundation, faculty, industry professionals, and alumni, the event was a resounding success!
The first day of the symposium focused on introducing students to each other, employers, and the industry. To do this, WSIA Education Foundation Board Member, Karen Evers, emphasized the importance of not only networking with employers but also with each other. The wholesale insurance industry is small and tight-knit, so relationships built early on can have lasting benefits. For this reason, GIS @ ASU made a conscious effort to split up and challenge ourselves to sit with different people. It was great for our students to learn about other college programs and to begin discussing ways we can collaborate with them. As for employers, eight companies from across the valley participated in a career fair and provided students opportunities to apply for internships and full-time jobs. Lastly, Jeff Durham, from Allstate Insurance, presented an overview of surplus lines to ensure all students were on the same page.
By the second day of the conference, the students were itching to get into the different informative sessions. The two standouts of the day were the E&S Amazing Race and Actuaries in Action. For the first activity, in groups, students went through seven different obstacle style activities which mimicked various surplus insurance lines such as liquor liability, hole-in-one, etc.. By purchasing different policies for each game, teams hedged their bets and tried to have the least amount of losses. After having fun outside, students were ready to head into the next session entitled Actuaries in Action. Led by Zachary Luety from GPW and Associates, students learned the basics of Python, a computer programming language in hot demand within the insurance industry. This crash course session gave members a glimpse into the work they can be expected to do should they decide to pursue a career in actuarial science. By the end of the day, students were exhausted but fulfilled with the new knowledge they gained.
GIS @ ASU loves opportunities to continue student’s education outside of the classroom. That is why the chapter welcomed the opportunity to host the second WSIA student symposium. The chapter looks forward to partnering again with WSIA foundation next fall for another student symposium.
October 14, 2019
By Michelle Torbit
On the evening of October 8, Actuarial Strategies & Tactics (AST) hosted their first event for the students of Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU). AST is a local consulting firm that specializes in the management and operation of actuarial departments for boutique health insurance firms across the country (and the Caribbean). As a company of ten employees, AST recognizes the importance of building a company culture that fosters both communication and collaboration across all members of their team. To achieve this goal, AST advocates mentorship, community service, and team building, some of which they decided to share with the members of GIS @ ASU.
The event started with members dividing into teams, and then the collaboration began. The night was filled with a sequence of expertly executed activities that were meant to test student’s abilities to communicate under pressure and show off their intellectual prowess. The first event was the always-beloved insurance Jeopardy. Categories ranged from traditional insurance knowledge, actuarial reserving, pop-culture, and, of course, acronyms.
Members then transitioned to a large-scale version of a popular party game, suitably dubbed “Pong”, where large trash bins substituted the infamous red solo cups and the spilling of embarrassing facts replaced…well, you know what it replaced. Teams then communicated their way through both an Escape Room and the building of a Lego car for which only one team member could be observing at a time. This led to plenty of laughs, to say the least.
Members of GIS @ ASU had a blast at the event AST hosted. We are grateful to them for taking time to expose our club members to their company’s work and culture. GIS @ ASU hopes that this event will be the first of many led by this amazing group!
October 9, 2019
By Kinsey Turk
While the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) does impressive work on its own, it is also part of a larger overarching group of college chapters across the continent. Each year, actuarial science, risk management, and insurance students from the different GIS chapters gather in one place to share and promote their love of insurance. This year, eight of GIS @ ASU’s officers and committee members, as well as two faculty advisors, packed their sharpest business attire and headed to Dallas, Texas for the 48th Annual GIS International Conference, held September 26 to 28. Aside from the chance for delicious BBQ, GIS @ ASU was also ready and thrilled to tackle the conference. The officers’ days were full of thought-provoking sessions, company interviews, networking with other chapters, and of course, a bit of fun.
One of the sessions, entitled “Tech and D&I: Implications in Promoting an Inclusive Workforce” was lead in part by GIS @ ASU’s very own diversity and inclusion officer and Gamma SAID council member, Michelle Torbit. Along with international student representative Jack Richards and Gamma SAID Alumni Chair Cameron Alford, Michelle discussed how the growth in Insurtech and Artificial Intelligence might disrupt the insurance talent pipeline. As more and more entry-level jobs require technical skills, people who do not have access to this innovative technology may be at a disadvantage. To illustrate these ideas, Michelle and her team led students through a Family Feud inspired game and group discussions on ways to resolve issues of access. GIS @ ASU’s diversity and inclusion officer did a fantastic job bringing these issues to the forefront of the conference just like she does back in Arizona.
Every year, the Annual Awards Dinner is the most highly anticipated event of the conference. Here, chapters, students, and faculty are acknowledged for their diligent work within and outside of GIS. The night started with the announcement of the International Chapter Awards. Each chapter is eligible for six awards in the categories of alumni relations, chapter management, community service, GammaSAID diversity & inclusion, membership development, and public relations. GIS @ ASU received all six of the awards in addition to the title of well-rounded chapter. The most exciting awards were still yet to come!
For some time, GIS @ ASU has been striving to achieve one of the coveted Black & Gold Awards that only select chapters receive for outstanding events. This year, GIS @ ASU was one of four chapters to receive this award, specifically for our Diversity and Inclusion Series. The award is an incredible honor, and we hope to continue creating programs and events worthy of the distinction. Lastly, one of our members received an extraordinary award. Described as hardworking and recognized for her work as a former president, current senior advisor, and creator of our future high school outreach program, Hailey Walters was given the Warren L. Weeks award. GIS @ ASU is incredibly proud of all its current and past officers for all the hard work they have put into our chapter that has made these awards possible.
The weekend in Dallas for the 48th Annual GIS Conference was incredibly rewarding for all who attended. On top of the honors GIS @ ASU members received, officers and committee members had an amazing time connecting with students from other chapters and discovering new ways they can better serve our chapter. GIS @ ASU can’t wait to see what else the Grand Chapter comes up with for the 2019-2020 year!
October 4, 2019
By Michelle Torbit
It is the mission of Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) to expose students to the vast amount of potential within our local insurance community. After last week’s incredibly successful career fair, students were excited to pursue more networking opportunities in hopes of building lasting industry relations and snag a coveted position from top employers. On September 24, United HealthCare continued the networking festivities and hosted a health-inspired Jeopardy night for the GIS @ ASU members to enjoy and learn about their company’s values and internal structure, as well as give a high-level overview of United’s role as a managed care organization (MCO) for Arizona’s Medicaid/Medicare program.
The night began with a burrito buffet and a presentation delving into both internship and full-time positions within their Phoenix office. Following the presentation, teams were assembled and the games began. Question topics varied from actuaries in pop culture, ASU history, actuarial mathematics, and government healthcare. Interactive platforms are an amazing and effective tool to give students exposure to actuarial concepts while maintaining a fun atmosphere filled with team brainstorming. Team “Zootopia” (dubbed after the popular animated film featuring a snow leopard aspiring to be an actuary), led by chapter president Dylan Ketcham, won the game by a landslide. The evening concluded with a round of celebratory churros and a group photo to commemorate the event.
GIS @ ASU is grateful for its relationship with United HealthCare and is eager for future events where students and industry get to share their experiences and excitement over actuarial science. The chance to connect with members of the insurance industry is invaluable, and GIS @ ASU would like to thank United HealthCare for providing that opportunity.
October 1, 2019
By Kinsey Turk
It is conference season for the officers of the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU). Before the highly anticipated Gamma Iota Sigma Annual Conference, two of our officers, vice president Kinsey Turk and treasurer Jonathan Kiperman, headed to New Orleans for the 2019 Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) Student Engagement Program. Both students were selected from a pool of qualified candidates and given a scholarship to attend the exciting program that was held September 21-24. Both students learned about the industry, made connections from other schools, and even participated in a case study.
The 2019 CPCU annual conference kicked off on Friday night with a few keynote speakers. Students and CPCU members got to hear from CPCU new designees about the steps they took to receive their designation. After all shared congratulations, a special speaker joined the stage to share his triumphs and tribulations - NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, the first man to tweet from space. While insurance and space may be very different, Mike’s story is very reminiscent of the path actuaries take to receive their accreditation. Mike applied to become an astronaut at NASA four different times before finally getting accepted. He did not allow anything to get in the way of his goals. This should serve as an inspiration to all GIS @ ASU members. Exams may be hard, and you may even fail them the first time around, but with determination and perseverance, success is possible.
The following day was a big deal for the CPCU student attendants. All students had the opportunity to participate in a case study and submit their finding to a team of judges. The goal of the study was to help a fictitious company compete with its rivals who are utilizing AI and other technological advancements. Students had to come up with two different approaches to the problem and provide a final pitch for the company. GIS @ ASU officer Jonathan Kiperman was selected as a finalist. His plan focused on the acquisition of new talent with experience in innovative technology while moving more senior employees into positions of management where their high-level knowledge is invaluable. Kiperman executed a seamless presentation and fielded questions from session attendees expertly. GIS @ ASU congratulates him on being a finalist and representing our club!
The CPCU Student Engagement program was an educational and fulfilling weekend. Both of the GIS @ ASU students left the conference with a renewed respect for the property and casualty field. It was also refreshing to network and meet members of the insurance industry outside of just actuarial science. GIS @ ASU would like to extend their thanks the CPCU Society, especially Lamont Boyd and Alanna Benamy, for making the student program possible and creating an experience to remember.
September 24, 2019
By Kinsey Turk
On September 19, Arizona State University’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SoMSS) hosted their annual Actuarial Science Career Day. Employers from across the country flocked to ASU to participate in this event and connect with actuarial students. The 21 companies were met with eager, hard-working students, all searching for an internship or a full-time position within the insurance industry.
The event began with Al Boggess, director of SoMSS, extending a welcome to the employers and students in attendance. Next Dr. Matt Hassett delivered a moving speech in remembrance of Donald Stewart, who played a large role in creating and developing the actuarial science program at ASU. Without him, there would be no ASU students interested in the pursuit of an actuarial designation. It was an incredibly moving speech and placed things in perspective for all those attending.
Next was the ASU alumni panel, which included Steven Locke of Nationwide, Emily Stampfel of Cbiz, Kelsi Knoles of IAT Insurance, Bo Swoverland of Allstate, and Jacob Langerman of Mercer. Moderator Melissa Tomita led the group through introductions and then invited the audience to ask questions. Topics that were discussed varied from exam advice, soft skills, and setbacks experienced.
Tomita also moderated the second panel featuring more experienced actuaries who could share wisdom they gathered after years of study and practice. Panelists included Bob Bessen of Bessen Consulting, Amanda Lunbking of GPW and Associates, Tim Doyle of Optumas Consulting, Nettie Meier of UnitedHealthCare Group, and Lydia Tolman of Blue Cross Blue Shield of AZ. The knowledgeable actuaries shared their perspectives on the ever-changing industry, as well as advice they wished they had received when just starting out.
In between the panels, students participated in both one-on-one interviews and open networking with the different companies attending. With the large room divided in two sections, the companies had short, pre-scheduled “speed” interviews with interested students and had the chance to share information about their available internships and full-time jobs. While the one half was participating in interviews, the other half was open to all students who could approach any company and get their questions answered. This was a great way for students to begin building connections with companies and for many, it was their first time talking with companies.
Regardless if it was a student’s first or fourth time at the career day, the event was hugely successful. Employers and students took away important lessons from the two panels and began the start of potentially prosperous relationships. In these next couple of weeks, some students will begin the full interview process and hopefully secure a future internship or job.
September 22, 2019
By Kinsey Turk and Sarah Lemme
On September 17, representatives from Mercer came to visit the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU). They led an evening full of exciting activity and conversation that began with an “Amazing Race” and ended at a secret dinner location. While working together through tough challenges, GIS @ ASU members got to know each other, and later connected with professionals working in various positions at Mercer. The night was a huge hit amongst the students and professionals alike.
After a brief introduction of all the Mercer representatives, the team presented their take on the “Amazing Race”. The goal of the game was to complete three challenges as quickly as possible to be the first one to arrive at the secret end location. These challenges including building the tallest tower with limited materials, completing a math bingo, and scoring ten points in a friendly game of corn hole.
Once students were divided into teams, they quickly got to work. While the skills tested in this “Amazing Race” may not be directly applicable to your standard actuarial job, problem solving and knowing how to work in a team are invaluable skills. GIS @ ASU members of all different backgrounds came together to defeat these mental and physical challenges. In the end, all the teams ended at Pedal Haus Brewery for dinner and a chance to speak with Mercer actuaries.
GIS @ ASU loves events that not only challenge our members to network with professionals but also to bond with each other. The event was a success for all involved. GIS @ ASU would like to thank Mercer for taking the time to visit our members and for putting together such a fun activity. We look forward to seeing what they bring next year.
September 17, 2019
By Fernando Correa Chavez
On September 10, representatives from Allstate Insurance came to visit the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU). The evening began with dinner and networking, followed by an exciting exercise led by four Allstate representatives. This allowed GIS @ ASU members to gain a valuable glimpse into the property and casualty sector of actuarial science and risk management.
Attendees were separated into eight groups, each tasked to create a structure out of incredibly sturdy materials: uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows. The goal was to create the most stable structure that could withstand a “natural event” ranging from hailing rocks, shaking tables, and the occasional hand crushing. The groups were then assigned to create rate factors for each specific building material and a base rate for the properties, in order to calculate a premium. Based on the premiums created, each group was assigned another group’s structure to insure and to see how the premium rates they created would withstand the damage created by the events.
After the dust settled, the group earning the most profit was group six: Sindyan Shawli, Sarah Lemme, Joshua Callahan, Brandon Huemiller, and Benyu Tian. Instead of just relying on building materials, group six considered other variables such as height and if there was any pre-existing damage to the building.
The evening concluded with Allstate providing a brief overview of the company culture at their Chandler office and an overview of their internship program and full-time positions for the summer of 2020. Students were interested to learn of new internship opportunities. Two GIS @ ASU members who had interned with Allstate previously explained how much they enjoyed their experience. GIS @ ASU appreciates Allstate’s commitment to the club. We are excited to host more events like this, which allow our members to gain more exposure to the actuarial profession.
September 10, 2019
By Michelle Torbit
On September 4, Nationwide held their fourth annual “Nationwide Game Night” for the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU). The evening began with dinner, an abundance of networking, and a look into the insurance market of excess and surplus lines. As GIS @ ASU prepares for the upcoming Actuarial Science Career Fair, taking place September 19th, every opportunity to interact with potential employers as well as learn about this beloved field is paramount for both gaining interview confidence and building bonds with industry and peers alike.
As GIS @ ASU has come to expect, Nationwide designed a night, or more fittingly a “feud”, to remember. Students assembled in teams and pursued a battle of actuarial wits in an insurance themed version of Family Feud. As to be expected in any good game of Family Feud, the buzzers were loud, and the questions were funny, but not nearly as funny as the responses. Surveys ranged across topics such as an actuary’s most cherished Excel function, excuses we tell ourselves for not studying, fears that surface while taking exams, and even the worst place to take someone on a first date.
GIS @ ASU appreciates Nationwide’s commitment to our club. We are excited for more events to come where we can, not only have fun, but also increase our exposure to actuarial terms, concepts, and markets in our field, as well as practice our ability to work in teams and reach success.
September 9, 2019
By Katie Wholley
On August 27, representatives from Humana came to visit the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at Arizona State University (GIS @ ASU) for their first meeting of the academic year. Students were anxious to hear from representative Matt Coles about Humana’s summer internship program in Louisville, Kentucky. He provided an overview of the program, showcased the student intern experience, and explained the details of the internship application process, getting GIS@ASU members excited about the opportunities available.
To start the night off, Humana highlighted what makes their company unique. This included some of the events that their interns participated in, such as horse races and immersing themselves in the culture of their respective cities. They also explained how their interns participate in professional development workshops, hands-on projects with real data, and networking opportunities.
One part of the presentation that was most interesting was an explanation of the possibilities for students after completing the internship. These included working remotely from home, returning to the internship program the following summer, and having the opportunity to become a full-time Humana employee upon graduation. While these opportunities are more geared towards experienced students, Humana also provides opportunities for first-year students to help them explore actuarial science and risk management. Humana’s Early I.D. program allows first year students to gain valuable insight into the healthcare industry as they continue in their undergraduate studies.
GIS @ ASU is off to a great start. Not only did our members gain valuable information about the internship process for Humana, but they also received an introduction to this year’s new officers at the conclusion of the night. We are so excited that our first meeting was a success and look forward to our next meeting!
September 6, 2019
By Dylan Ketcham
Every year officers of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) chapters across the nation strive to start strong and bring new ideas forward. These growing leaders bring new perspectives to their organizations, and select members have the chance to share these perspectives at the annual Leadership Symposium in Columbus, Ohio. Arizona State University’s Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa chapter (GIS@ASU) was one of the schools invited to attend, bringing their unique voice to the international conversation. GIS@ASU’s President, Dylan Ketcham, and Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Michelle Torbit, spent the weekend connecting with other GIS leaders and developing their own leadership skills.
After a reception night on the night of August 22, where attendees had a chance to meet each other and make friends over plates of milk and cookies, the symposium began in earnest on August 23. Excited officers networked over breakfast as the Gamma Iota Sigma Grand Chapter representatives welcomed the crowd. Several presenters had a chance to share valuable lessons on leadership, including an eye-opening presentation on emotional intelligence and its impact on leadership. Once the presentations were complete, members of the insurance industry joined the members at their tables, giving the chapter leaders a chance to ask their questions directly to successful members of the risk management and insurance business. These professionals then joined the attendees in a career fair, where companies had a chance to discuss the opportunities available to members of GIS. These presentations and networking segments let the attending leaders of the GIS chapters learn valuable lessons as well as forging lasting industry connections
The following day, the conference was separated into several breakout sessions, where smaller groups of attendees were lead through interesting presentations and stimulating discussion. The topics of these sessions varied, including sessions on how to best plan events for member engagement and fundraising efforts, public relations and recruitment tactics, and ways to best define and plan the duties and succession of officers. Not only were these sessions incredibly helpful in the information they provided, but the collaborative nature of the discussions allowed the audience to become even closer friends with their fellow GIS officers.
The GIS leadership symposium allowed the attending members of GIS@ASU to grow immensely as leaders, and the network of connections that they formed will continue to grow. The lessons learned at this event will be instrumental in taking GIS@ASU to new heights. The officers of GIS@ASU would like to extend their thanks to the GIS Grand Chapter for organizing and hosting the event, and is excited to take these lessons home and continue to grow and develop.
September 4, 2019
By Sarah Lemme and Kinsey Turk
As summer ends and the school year begins, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) strives to celebrate the success of its members, whether it be passing exams or finishing internships. One way GIS @ ASU does this is by joining the AZ Actuarial Club ’s happy hour, attending along with ASU faculty and actuaries from around the valley. The event was held on August 23 at Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe, and was a great experience to catch up with familiar faces and build connections with new professionals.
The night was spent talking about what everyone did over their summer, whether that be an internship, work, or travel. Committee members Sean Kratsch and Sarah Lemme talked to AZ Actuarial Club member and ASU alumnus Zach Broermann about his experience at United Healthcare. He shared his future plans in the insurance world along with advice for passing exams. This advice is especially helpful for students going through school and learning a balance between studying for exams and classes. In addition, events like these teach insurance students to include socialization and a bit of fun in their busy schedules.
GIS @ ASU is very grateful for events focused on integrating students into the professional world. Being able to build relationships allows for industry growth and for professionals to share their experience with students looking to work alongside them soon. GIS @ ASU is thankful for the invitation from AZ Actuarial Club and looks forward to future events with them.
August 29, 2019
By Devon Haycock and Kinsey Turk
As thousands of incoming first-year students flocked to ASU for the first week of the semester, they all searched for a club that could help them feel important and connect with others. On August 21, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter (GIS @ ASU) attended Passport to ASU. The purpose of this event was to connect incoming first-year students to clubs and organizations, to help these new students find their place at ASU and meet their peers. GIS @ ASU was incredibly excited to share with students the academic, professional, and social benefits that it can provide.
Amongst more than 100 clubs in attendance, GIS @ ASU wanted to find a way to stand out and draw in students. With this goal in mind, the committee members advertised keywords like “math,” “statistics,” “data analytics,” “insurance,” and “risk management” to pique students’ interest in the GIS @ ASU booth. Once the students approached, the GIS @ ASU committee members helped to break the ice and explain what the actuarial science and risk management programs entailed. In addition, they shared how the organization can help students with their professional development, with events such as resume review nights, and interviewing practice sessions.
Once the students learned more about what GIS @ ASU does, they left with newfound awe for the insurance and risk management industry! However, before they left, GIS @ ASU obtained all interested first-year students' emails, so that they could receive more information about becoming a member and details on the first meeting. All in all, Passport to ASU was an excellent start to an exciting semester, with GIS @ ASU connecting with students and starting the year off strong.
August 27, 2019
By Kinsey Turk
As the new school year begins, ASU has begun welcoming a whole new class of eager first year students. On August 20, the Gamma Iota Sigma Kappa Chapter at ASU (GIS @ ASU) attended the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences’ (SoMSS) Fall Welcome to aid in the effort of introducing students to ASU. The GIS @ ASU officers and faculty advisors all had the chance to meet and interact with future members and students. The event was a great kick start to a busy and fun-filled year.
Fall Welcome is an excellent way for SoMSS students to meet one another and to learn about all the services that are provided to help them succeed in college. The day featured presentations from clubs within SoMSS, so that students begin getting involved in organizations and start leaving their mark on ASU. GIS @ ASU president, Dylan Ketcham, shared with first-year students all the opportunities that our club provides such as internships, professional skill-building workshops, career fairs, and much more. When asked who was majoring in actuarial science, GIS @ ASU was thrilled to see more than 30 students raise their hands. After introductions finished, students had the chance to approach the organizations individually. Several students chatted with officers about their experience within the actuarial science program, advice on first-year success, and time management. These students got a chance to connect with the members of GIS @ ASU and learn more about the organization.
GIS @ ASU values mentoring the future of insurance and loved to hear student’s perspective on their time at ASU thus far. Many expressed an interest in attending our first meeting of the year on August 27. The members of GIS @ ASU loved meeting everyone at Fall Welcome, and can’t wait to see them at future meetings!