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Over the January interim session, Tyronda Gibson ’03 (Troy, N.Y.) took part in Lafayette’s Alumni Externship program, shadowing Gregory J. Sullivan ’87, director of the actuarial unit at Hartford Life Insurance Company in Simsbury, Conn.

Gibson, a mathematics and economics major, explored the field of actuarial science because she wanted help making her career decision.

“Actuarial work deals with risk and people who try to help a company curb losing profits,” says Gibson. “They model everything in a company so they can predict what will happen.”

“At first, Gregory went over a problem that an actuary would solve, which was pretty straightforward,” says Gibson. “Then I was introduced to other people and they told me about the specific things they did.”

Gibson says that Sullivan wanted her to interact with the employees during her time at the company.

“What I attempted to do was to have Tyronda spend one hour or so with different people to see what they were doing,” says Sullivan, whose role was to share his expertise and experience in the pricing and financial management of the Hartford’s stop-loss product. “I wanted her to see what we do on a day-to-day basis, everything from broad-based tasks that we might be working on to talking with investment people to looking at the overall corporate strategy.”

Sullivan said that Gibson seemed very interested in what was going on and had some good questions about Hartford Life Insurance Company.

“There are only a handful of schools with actuarial science majors,” says Sullivan. “We recruit those people, of course, but I prefer people to have a liberal arts background. It’s one thing to learn actuarial science but it helps to learn how to write and be broad-based. All the Lafayette students I have worked with have made a good showing.”

Gibson was surprised to find that in addition to math, much of the work, such as pricing certain insurance policies, involves computer science.

A graduate of Troy High School, Gibson is an America Reads tutor and co-president of CHANCE (Creating Harmony and Necessary Cultural Equality), a residence floor dedicated to bringing awareness to race relations. She’s a member of Association of Black Collegians, Association for Lafayette Women, Society of Minority Scientists and Engineers, and NIA, a women’s organization which celebrates ethnicity, gender, and sisterhood.

Categorized in: Academic News