Senior Tommy Anderson, an Actuarial Science major and basketball player, poses for a photo in front of actuarial equations on a blackboard.

Actuarial Science Student Receives Prestigious Scholarship

Tommy Anderson, a senior from Muskego, Wisconsin, was recently awarded a scholarship from the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) to help further his career in actuarial science.

Actuarial science is the study of risk management in insurance and financial fields. This involves courses in statistics, mathematics, computer science and business. St. Thomas' actuarial science program is recognized as a Center of Actuarial Excellence (CAE). Being a CAE university is the highest level of recognition the Society of Actuaries (SOA) offers. St. Thomas is one of only 30 institutions in the world to hold this designation.

Anderson knew he wanted to study actuarial science when his grandma introduced him to it.

"My nana went on a cruise and met an actuary. When she came back, she told me she found the perfect career for me. I was skeptical. I looked more into the career and I thought it looked really interesting because it is a lot of working with numbers and data and using analytical skills. That really appealed to me," Anderson said.

After some job shadowing, Anderson reaffirmed that actuarial science was what he wanted to study in college. "I am one of the lucky ones because I found out about it early and was able to come into college knowing that was what I wanted to do," he said.

Anderson was awarded a $10,000 CAS Trust Scholarship from the Casualty Actuarial Society, which gives the credentials for property and casualty actuaries and awards up to three scholarships annually. This scholarship is meant to support college students in their pursuit of an actuarial science degree and, eventually, CAS designations.

"As an actuarial science student, especially pursing property and casualty, it is an honor getting an award like this," he said. "It is very helpful to have that financial boost."

Aside from studying actuarial science, Anderson also plays on the men's varsity basketball team and is the vice president of alumni relations for Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS). His favorite part of being on the basketball team is the brotherhood that's formed.

"It is really like being a part of another family away from home," he said. "We are always working together to get better because we hold ourselves to a high standard of excellence. We have goals of winning the conference every year and competing for a national championship, which is a unique experience to be a part of."

"We have a great basketball program and coaching staff," he added. "Dr. John Tauer is a psychology professor here and is our head coach. I love that although he is a psychology professor, he is a numbers guy. He is always counting out numbers and statistics, and doing crazy mental math in practice."

Tauer even wrote one of Anderson's recommendation letters for the CAS Trust Scholarship.

Anderson will be working full time at Travelers Insurance in downtown St. Paul upon graduation in May. Being a member of Gamma Iota Sigma helped him land this job. After attending GIS networking events, meeting St. Thomas alumni, and getting an on-campus interview, he landed an internship at Travelers as a summer student.

"I took the mentality of, whatever happens, I need to put myself out there and try because I will grow from it no matter what. Being a summer student helped to get my foot in the door and get some experience," he said.

Now having interned there for three summers, he is excited to be a full-time employee and work toward his CAS designations.

So how does he balance it all? "Staying busy helps," he said. "For me it is staying organized, writing things down, being able to prioritize what is the most urgent and important, and still taking some time to take a step back and take a few breaths, relax and have the right mindset with everything."