Math grad finds success as an actuary

Math graduate image, subject of article

Alumna Katherine Vrantsidis (BMath 2016) thanks her UWindsor mathematics degree for preparing her for real-world success, by training her how to learn.

“You’re being trained in analytical thinking skills and all of those are transferrable to a wide variety of roles. You can take your skills and apply them to many different areas,” says Vrantsidis.

“I’m applying those skills to the actuarial science field. Knowing how to learn is key when it comes to the math intensive actuarial exams — the university is great at preparing students for that.”

2022 was a year for her hitting several career milestones. First, Vrantsidis was promoted to the position of actuary at her job at Henry Ford Health's Health Alliance Plan of Michigan. In October, she received the Associate of the Society of Actuaries designation. Then in November, she officially became a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

“I am very grateful for the education I received from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. It prepared me exceptionally well for a great career path,” says Vrantsidis.

Her love of math started in high school, but back then Vrantsidis did not yet fully appreciate the breadth of opportunities in the field. She said it was because of math at UWindsor that she learned how her degree could take her on a variety of career paths.

“The relationships with professors were especially formative in understanding all the different careers you can have with math. Those relationships truly opened up my horizons to all the different doors available to me,” she says.

“I also loved the fact that the UWindsor math department is small with a real community spirit where the students become friends ­­— it is very collaborative and that helps propel the learning forward.”

Vrantsidis was offered her first post-graduate job as an actuarial analyst at Willis Towers Watson while she was a fourth-year undergraduate.

“In the six years since graduation, I’ve been very happy I took this path. It has been a great fit and it does combine analytical skills, math skills, and business acumen.”

She adds that succeeding in school was only part of the education she received at the University of Windsor. Volunteering made all the difference.

“If you just go to class and go home, you are missing out on a lot of growth,” she says.

In addition to being president of the Math and Stats Student Association, Vrantsidis volunteered with different clubs including Toastmasters and Students Offering Support. She says that well-rounded experience translates to career readiness.

“The university as a whole provides a lot of opportunity to get involved in extracurricular activities. This is important because you can develop leadership, public speaking, and management skills while you’re still a student,” she says.

“I found that interviewers would ask me about these extracurricular activities, so I could talk to potential employers about the soft skills I’d already been developing.”

Vrantsidis says she believes in every endeavour, whatever you put into it is what you are going to get out of it.

“The University of Windsor, and the math department in particular, is set up so that you can really put a lot of yourself into it and get a lot in return.”

—Sara Elliott