John Hanson Memorial Educator Math Grants

For the 2018-19 MTF Challenge, The Actuarial Foundation will be providing a limited number of $500 John Hanson Memorial Educator Math Grants to MTF Challenge educators (formal or informal) to help engage their students in STEM using the Modeling the Future Challenge. To apply for these grants, educators must complete the online form below describing how the grant would be used to help their students connect with STEM, particularly mathematics, using the Modeling the Future Challenge. Educators must describe what supplies, events, or activities will be purchased with the grant and how this will help their students participate in the challenge.

Grant Eligibility & Requirements

  • Any formal or informal high school educator in the United States reaching ten or more junior or senior grade level students (or the equivalent in an informal educational organization).
  • Eligible educators can teach any subject, but must demonstrate a plan to use the MTF Challenge to engage their students in mathematics and encourage them to pursue mathematically related college and career opportunities.
  • If selected for a grant, the educator must commit to registering 2 or more student teams and working with them to submit to the 2018-19 MTF Challenge.
  • Grant funds may be used for: classroom materials and supplies, student trips to educational facilities and organizations (such as museums or universities), or student trips to meet with industry partners or mentors relevant to the Modeling the Future Challenge.


Applications for the 2018 grants are now closed. If you have any questions about the 2019 applications, please contact:

History of the John Hanson Memorial Prize

In 1985, members of the Conference Board and Conference members of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (Conference) established a prize in memory of John Hanson to recognize his contributions to actuarial literature. A long-time treasurer of the Conference, Mr. Hanson’s papers on pension funding and accounting set the standard for this important topic. In 2017, The Actuarial Foundation and The John Hanson Family Foundation established the new John Hanson Memorial Educator Math Grants. The educator math grants are awarded as part of the Foundation’s annual Modeling the Future Challenge national math competition.

2018 John Hanson Memorial Math Grant Recipients

Jake Crawley

Manara Leadership Academy- Irving, Texas

Grant funds will be used for travel to neighboring cooperative universities (UT Dallas, Texas A&M), to access scientific equipment and current research as part of the university’s Biomedical Programs. Additionally, the field visits will look at U.S.-based biomedical companies such as Siemens located in the industrial area of Irving, TX near our campus and this grant would help support these field studies. These co-op field studies will allow students to examine existing medical devices, research and progressions and to develop concepts on new healthcare innovations that better meet the needs of future generations around the world.  Students will be able to spend a considerable amount of discovery time in the field, focusing on actual medical device needs versus what engineers and designers think is needed. The students will use their research findings to make predictions as to the challenges that companies may be facing and what may need to happen so that technology can be improved. The students will use their field studies to participate in the MTF Challenge as they gain a first-hand look at the process and gaining valuable knowledge.

Natalie Johnson

Metea Valley High School- Aurora, Illinois

As the science instructor for all of these students I hope to use the competition as a strong supplemental program to my classroom curriculum. Labs and other experiential learning opportunities exist in the current curriculum, but it does lack expeditions, field trips, and field work opportunities in general. I hope to use this program as an opportunity to alleviate this. The value of these opportunities is often overlooked but it is significant and meaningful. Students who go out into the world and see science, math, and modeling being used in the real world begin to see connections that are very difficult to illuminate in the classroom. Specifically, I aim to show students the connection between people, concepts, and impacts. We discuss these relationships in detail in the classroom, but students often fail to “feel it” and therefore have difficulty in assigning value to and engaging with the concept.
Going into the world of practiced science and mathematics by visiting museums and meeting with the curators and others who work there, meeting professors and visiting labs, and visiting businesses that implement actuarial science on a daily basis all provide opportunities to inject the human connection into learning. Learning happens best when there are relationships present, and it’s very difficult to fabricate relationships. Students are deeply impacted when they meet people who have a passion and connection to the applied sciences and mathematics. This exposure is what I hope to achieve this year through my students’ participation with the MTF challenges and is where any funding received would be directed.

Nikki Kennedy

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts- Hot Springs, Arkansas

My students are currently in a class called Mathematical Modeling and they will learn to apply regression analysis, student t-tests, ANOVA and Markov Chains to real-life situations. They will also learn to research using scholarly sources and to correctly cite sources. Each student intends to compete in a science fair competition (in February) as one part of their graduation capstone requirement. I intend to use the MTF Challenge as well as another mathematical modeling competition to help familiarize them with mathematical modeling. Following these experiences, I hope to encourage them to create their own project and research. Last year was my first year to teach a mathematical modeling class but I noticed that after my students competed in a few group modeling contests, they were considerably more confident when I asked them to complete a project themselves.

Carole Ng

Santa Teresa High School- San Jose, California

I used to be a Math teacher, but I am now a full-time Computer Science teacher.  I find that students who are not good at math usually do not do well in higher CS classes.  So, I run the Math club to encourage more students to be interested in Math. This year I have committed to getting all my students in my Database Design course to participate in the MTF challenge because Mr. Edwin Lopez has kindly volunteered to be our actuarial mentor.  I feel that my students are in good hands.

Christopher Pakdel

St. Anthony High School- Long Beach, California

The MTF Challenge has been embedded into my curriculum for the year as a Project-Based Learning assignment. It will be introduced as a project that will run in the background of the course throughout the year, with some class time to check in once or twice a month. Class time on the project will be devoted to it for group selection, sample Scenario Response topics, research methodology guidance, development of mathematical models, and development of recommendations. I will draw parallels between the Challenge and my Honors Precalculus courses through exponential growth and decay, logarithmic models, and probably. The topics are scheduled to be taught in October. My AP Calculus classes will include references to the Challenge through applications of differentiation, also scheduled for instruction in October. The topics and timing will give students the mathematical support they need to complete their reports and recommendations on their own.

2017 John Hanson Memorial Math Grant Recipients

Sue Baloun

Mathematics Teacher

Cochrane Fountain City High School

Fountain City, Wisconsin

Geoffrey Estes

Calculus, Precalculus and Robotics teacher

Harrisonburg High School

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Madison Shipley

High School Math Teacher

Denver, CO

Lori Woods

Algebra II and Honors Geometry Teacher

Danville High School

Danville, Illinois