CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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September 2017

Congratulations to Tone My Phone Winner

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From left to right: Principal Brad Stokes, winner Aidan Fisk,
actuary Patrick Landry, and teacher Sean Easton.

Aidan Fisk, a student at Horton High School in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, was the winner of the CIA’s Tone My Phone contest, part of the Back to School project. Actuary Patrick Landry, owner of LPL Consulting, made the presentation on behalf of the CIA.

“I entered the contest after a visiting actuary came to my high school and gave a presentation on careers in mathematics,” said Aidan. “The problem was interesting and challenging. After coming up with my solution, I actually programmed a simple simulation to check my answer.”

Reaching Out to Young Math Students

Back to School is a CIA initiative (part of the work of the New Members Committee) where actuaries visit high school math classes to talk about what actuaries do, how to qualify as an actuary, and to share their rich experiences in the profession. Blake MacDonald, assistant actuary, individual life par pricing at Sun Life Financial, in Toronto, presented to Aidan’s grade 12 mathematics class in spring 2017.

A graduate of Horton High School himself, Mr. MacDonald was very interested in taking part in the Back to School program. “Because of the connection I have, and its location [N.S.], I knew there wouldn't be much exposure to what an actuary is and the type of work we do,” he said. “I was visiting my home town for a wedding during the school year. Speaking at my old high school was something I wanted to do for a while, but my visits home never overlapped with school semesters.”

Teacher Sean Easton welcomed Mr. MacDonald’s presentation, and many of the students were an enthusiastic audience. “Blake is a Horton grad, and he sent an e-mail to one of his former math teachers, who passed the information on to me,” he said. “[The students] were pleased to hear about Blake's journey in becoming an actuary and some of the other career paths involving mathematics.”

 “Of course, interest was mixed,” Mr. MacDonald acknowledged. “But there was a group of students who were quite receptive and had some good questions and expressed significant interest in what I talked about.”

“Thinking back to my high school and university days, I would have appreciated having someone to tell me about some of the options that exist in careers in math,” Mr. Easton added.  “I teach a lot of strong math students who don't know what they can do for work that involves math. I would like to make the presentation an annual event if there is someone available.” 

Mr. MacDonald concurs and encourages other actuaries to present to high schools. “I found it to be a good experience,” he said. “As someone who was interested in math graduating high school, I would have benefited from the exposure to some less common practice areas when I was considering what to pursue.”

Looking to the Future

Before the presentation, Aidan knew that actuaries dealt with risk management and insurance rates, but didn’t know exactly what they did. Now a career as an actuary is a definite option.

Aidan starts Acadia University this September, enrolled in computer science. “I am interested in actuarial science,” he says. “I will definitely keep it on my radar and consider taking the actuarial exams as I progress through university.”

Would you like to help inspire the next generation of Canadian actuaries? Consider volunteering for the CIA’s Back to School project. Contact Eric Mastropietro, co-ordinator, volunteer services, at


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