March 20, 2012

Annual Drake Exchange Broadens Boundaries for UNL Actuarial Science Students

The UNL Actuarial Science club gives students a chance to extend themselves through activities and outreach experiences throughout the school year. Students recently took part in the annual Drake Exchange as they visited actuarial students from Drake University on a trip to Des Moines, Iowa.

Jeremy Mills, the current president of the Actuarial Science club, was participating in the exchange for the first time. He found the experience applicable to his academic future.

“I have had internships and met some actuarial students from outside our program,” Mills said, “but I liked talking to the students from Drake and see how they run their program and how they prepare for exams. It’s a little bit different from here but close enough that it’s something I can compare it to and apply some of my studies as I go forward.”

UNL Actuarial Science Students Visit Drake

UNL Actuarial Science Students Visit Drake

The visit began with social activities on a Friday night with a game of dodge ball. Though the Drake students won the game it helped all of the students to relax and talk about the challenges of actuarial classes and exams.

On Saturday, students got together to listen to a presentation from a couple representatives of Aveta.

“Aveta is a life insurance company in Des Moines,” Mills explained, “and they talked about issues regarding economic capital and solvency – issues that examine how actuaries look at risk and think about how cash holdings influence future solvency in case some bad event happens. That was something that we really hadn’t listened to before in our club meetings, and so it was a good experience to hear them explain the issues involved.”

Warren Luckner, David P. Hayes Memorial Chair in Actuarial Science, accompanied the students to Des Moines and has been instrumental in keeping the Drake Exchange going.

“One of the reasons that this exchange works is because both UNL and Drake have a connection with Malaysia,” Luckner said. “We both have transfers that come from Malaysia to either UNL or Drake and a lot of them know each other and they get to catch up with old friends. Also, some students have internships with students that are at Drake, so some of those students know each other too.”

The two schools take turns hosting the other school’s students, as next year the Drake students will visit Lincoln. The students have a good hearted rivalry that includes gifting school mascot dolls that don’t always survive too long in the other school’s possession.

“We brought them a Herbie Husker doll and Stuart Klugman (professor emeritus from Drake) informed me that Herbie met an untimely demise a couple weeks later when he fell on the floor and was stomped on,” Luckner said.

Despite the friendly competitions playing games and having fun at the expense of opposing mascots, the student interactions are important to build lifetime connections. Both UNL and Drake have been designated Centers of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries, and many students from both schools will cross paths again as they go forward in the various actuarial organizations and affiliations.

Mills, who ironically hails from Albia, Iowa, believes the experience is part of what makes the UNL actuarial science program strong.

“I enjoyed being able to meet so many students from one school,” Mills said. “It lived up to my expectations for the event.”