Award funds cost of actuarial exams for current Millikin students
Ryan Sikora, a junior mathematics actuarial science major at Millikin University, was honored as the first recipient of the Dr. Randal S. Beck Award in Actuarial Science on Nov. 7. The award reimburses the cost of actuarial exams for current Millikin students, with passing an exam as the main criterion for reimbursement.
Millikin alumni Jason Goldfarb '05 and his wife Meghan Sims Goldfarb '08 established an endowment for the award in Dr. Randal Beck's name, emeritus professor of mathematics at Millikin.
"The Dr. Randal Beck fund for mathematics and actuarial science was set up by two of our alums to help reimburse students for the costs of taking actuarial exams," said Dr. Joe Stickles, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science at Millikin. "Our students who are successful in passing the exam get their exam fees reimbursed through the fund."
Ryan Sikora, of Hickory Hills, Ill., passed the Society of Actuaries' Exam P (Probability) on his first attempt in September 2017. Sikora spent the previous summer preparing for the exam.
"The pass rate for the exam is somewhere between 30 and 40 percent. Passing it on the first try is a very impressive feat," Dr. Stickles said. "This will give him a leg up on internship opportunities and employment opportunities in the future."
Millikin University's actuarial science track is identified by the Society of Actuaries as an introductory undergraduate actuarial science program. Some courses in the track have been approved by the Society of Actuaries to earn Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credit. Students who have completed these courses will be prepared to take the first two Actuarial Examinations of the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries. Millikin actuarial science majors also complete a research project, including a dissemination of the project's findings.
"I'm very grateful that Millikin has these kinds of funds to support students," Sikora said. "It's great to get something back from the university after all the hard work you put in to preparing for the exam. The award will go towards my next exam which I hope to take in February."
In reference to the Millikin Department of Mathematics, Sikora says, "I always look forward to my mathematics classes because it's a great learning environment. I have Dr. Joe Stickles for the majority of my math classes and he does a great job in terms of preparing you for the exams. We've been studying actuarial exam questions in class and that's one of the reasons I feel more prepared for the upcoming exam in February."
Sikora says he hopes to work in the field of insurance consulting.
"I feel honored to be the first person to receive the award," Sikora said. "I hope it inspires others because there are so many more people who can reap the rewards of this fund."
Millikin's Department of Mathematics prepares students for professional success by providing all majors with core mathematical experiences and a range of application areas, readying them to enter the work force or pursue graduate study. For more information about the Millikin Department of Mathematics, visit millikin.edu/mathematics.