UWEC actuarial science program wins 2022 CAS award

Recognition for UWEC actuarial science program

Liz Curtin

More stories from Liz Curtin


Photo by Toby Mohr

Learn about the professors and students who are a part of the UWEC actuarial science program.

The UW-Eau Claire actuarial science program won the 2022 Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) University Award. The CAS award was established in 2016 and 21 schools have received the award since then. 

The program at UW-Eau Claire is one of four programs around the world that received the award in 2022, and is an advanced curriculum program consisting of four professors and about 100 students. 

Professor Vicki Whitledge explained that since the program has been able to win this award they may gain more attention from employers who are looking to hire. 

“It’s just really great that our program gets recognition like this because it does help our students,” Whitledge said. 

Despite winning this award, Whitledge and Kris Presler, mathematics professor and actuarial science program director, said they haven’t seen an increase in students signing up for the program but it may be too early to tell. 

The professors in the program are Presler, Whitledge, Herschel Day and Marie-Claire Koissi-Kouassi. Presler said they teach students skills they need to succeed and Day started an introductory actuarial science course. 

The program also works with property and casualty industry partners such as The Travelers Company, Church Mutual Insurance Company and SECURA Insurance

Presler is proud to have the program be given the award for the first time and be recognized for what they do. 

“Our program takes great pride in being a student focused program,” Presler said. 

Presler joined the program in 2002. Several years later, Whitledge joined the program and has been helping students get started on their journey into actuarial science. 

“We also have a very strong emphasis on making sure that the students understand the types of career life skills that are valued in the field,” Whitledge said. 

Sometimes, students who go through the program get an opportunity to return to UW-Eau Claire years later. 

Presler said some students become actuaries and the companies they work for will send them to Eau Claire for the career fair to do some recruiting. 

Ryan Fries is a fourth-year student in the actuarial science program who felt inspired to join after meeting with Presler and Day. 

“They just seemed like great people that really cared about their students,” Fries said. 

He said the program helps you understand what would happen in real world situations as an actuary and helps you prepare for professional exams. 

Fries said he has met with students who are in the program at other schools and they often don’t feel prepared for professional exams.

“Being such a small school but having such a strong program is really unique,” Fries said. 

Nathan Gorzek is another student in the program and learned about it through a family friend. He said the program has helped prepare him for his future career. 

“It definitely gives you a great start for an entry level position,” Gorzek said. 

Gorzek also said he’s glad the program is small so he can get to know his professors and classmates. 

“It’s really nice to be in classes in a supportive environment,” Gorzek said.

Curtin can be reached at [email protected].