The Actuarial Foundation is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021-2022 Modeling the Future Challenge, a national scholarship competition where high school students take on the role of an actuary using models to predict future risk and help to solve world problems. The Challenge, now in its fifth year, was developed with our partner, the Institute of Competition Sciences. The winners were announced yesterday evening at the Virtual Symposium, the culminating event of the Challenge. The Symposium is a unique three-day experience where student finalists are immersed in career sessions, presentations from industry experts, and engaging group activities created in partnership with our generous corporate supporters and volunteers.
Participation in this year’s Challenge set a record for the number of teams registering and completing phase one with 197 teams! Of those 197 qualifying teams, 13 finalist teams were invited to the Symposium to present their projects to a panel of actuary judges. The 2021-2022 Challenge was once again an open-theme, allowing students to choose which topics they wanted to tackle for their research projects, which as you can see in the winning projects below was wide-ranging. Students were also able to use the Actuarial Process to help them in every phase of their project. The Actuarial Process is a five-step framework, similar to the scientific method, that lays out the core structure of how to successfully identify, analyze, and manage risks. Each team was also assigned an actuary mentor to guide them during the research phase of their project.
Clinching first place and winning the $25,000 scholarship award were Jack Chen, Collin Fan, Aadit Juneja, Aayush Kashyap, and Nathan Ma from Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Their project detailed the costs and solutions to homicides in the city of Chicago. Coming in second place and winning the $15,000 scholarship award was Ashwin Bardhwaj from Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, California. His project studied how environmental conditions and driver behavior affect the severity of car accidents in California. The third-place scholarship award of $10,000 went to Aditya Chattopadhyay, Philip Guo, Jihwan Kim, Jason Liu, and Dhruv Pai from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland for their project on characterizing the risk of melanoma screenings for insurance companies. Taking the fourth-place scholarship award of $5,000 were Anand Advani, Shyla Bisht, Alyssa Gorbaneva, Owen Rollins, and Lillian Sun from Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia with their project on mitigating the risk of wildfires in California. Students from each winning team will share the scholarship awards, which will be sent to the colleges of their choice. Winning teams’ final reports can be viewed on our “Awards” page.
In developing the Challenge, the teams at the Foundation and the Institute of Competition Sciences wanted students to learn how mathematics applies to cutting-edge industries and technologies and to gain exposure to highly sought-after careers as actuaries and other math-related professionals. Not only are students judged on how they apply mathematics and build models, but they are also judged on their ability to communicate the results of their projects to the actuary judges. As Founding Sponsor Roy Goldman explained during his introductory remarks at the Symposium, “The goal of the Challenge is to show how mathematics combined with communication skills can be used to analyze real-world problems and make sound recommendations to insurers and policymakers. The Challenge emphasizes that problem solving is not only about the mathematics and the modeling. Often that is the easy part. The harder part is to build a story that can be communicated to those who don’t have your technical backgrounds.”
The Modeling the Future Challenge is made possible with the generous support of Pathfinder Sponsor RGA Foundation, Pacesetter Sponsors Lincoln Financial Group, and Principal Foundation, Builder Sponsors Nationwide, Helen & James C. Galt and Rick & Beth Jones, and Founding Sponsors Roy & Georgia Goldman.