Shawnee State University actuarial science major looks forward to promising career


PORTSMOUTH – Graduating next year, Franklin (Scott) Ferrell, a native of Chesapeake, OH, is majoring in Mathematical Sciences with an Actuarial Concentration at Shawnee State University. Looking into the actuarial program, the tuition affordability, and the small student-to-faculty ratio, Ferrell knew that SSU was the right choice for him. Having a great interest in mathematics throughout high school, he quickly learned about the benefits a career path in actuarial science could offer him.

“I found that the actuarial profession is ranked as a top career in terms of work environment, job outlook, and salary,” said Ferrell, who enjoyed courses in statistics and macroeconomics in high school. “This in addition to the fact that I would get to work with probability, statistics, and financial mathematics made me interested in pursuing a career as an actuary.”

The courses within the SSU Mathematical Sciences department offers students the opportunity to understand the role of mathematics in everyday society. Many actuaries are found in insurance companies, at private corporations, as consultants, in government and in banking and financial institutions. Within his degree classes, Ferrell has enjoyed being able to apply his coursework in problem-solving seminars and then view his progress within the field.

“These seminars serve as a review of the material as well as general practice and preparation for the actuarial exams,” he said, who took two semesters of probability and two semesters of interest theory to prepare for his preliminary actuarial exams. “It felt very rewarding to work alongside other students and apply the knowledge I had gained over the previous two semesters to solve practical mathematics problems. I believe that those seminars were essential in helping me pass the first two actuarial exams.”

Once he receives his degree next year, Ferrell plans to begin working an entry-level actuarial position. He has found that there are many jobs and companies that require actuarial positions in the community.

“While the insurance industry is the largest employer of actuaries, there are other specialties that actuaries can go into where companies are interested in managing their financial risk,” he said. “I am particularly interested in going into retirement benefits, but I would be more than happy to work in any actuarial field.”

Over the summer, Ferrell participated in a research experience for undergraduates for Discrete & Continuous Analysis in Appalachia at Fairmont State University. Working alongside other undergraduates and focused on time scales calculus, the program focused on introducing students to different aspects of mathematical sciences. Having this hands-on experience, Ferrell is interested in seeing how the actuarial science career field will continue to grow.

“It truly is an amazing career, and most people I talk to have never heard of it, even a surprising number of math majors,” he said, pointing out that while you do not need a specific degree to become an actuary, the preparation makes it easier to pass the necessary exams. “If you are at all interested in a career in mathematics, there are a lot of benefits to being an actuary.”

To learn more about the programs within Shawnee State University’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, visit

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