Internship Spotlight~ Reece Merrell

Reece Merrell is a rising senior majoring in Applied Mathematics- Actuarial Science with a minor in finance. She is from Hoover, Alabama and always thought Auburn would be her home, but didn’t

know how much this place would mean to her until she found Pi Beta Phi! She is so proud to be a part of such a supportive sisterhood and couldn’t imagine her past three years without it. In Pi Phi Reece had the honor of serving as the Greek Sing Chair, and it has truly been one of her favorite experiences of college. Going into freshman year, Reece had danced everyday for her entire life and missed it more than anything. Greek Sing gave her the opportunity to go back to something that had such a huge place in her heart. She knew freshman year Greek Sing would be something she couldn’t live without. Greek Sing is a dance competition that raises money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity, strengthens the Panhellenic community, and creates amazing bonds with your sisters. There is something different, and so very special, about the type of friendship created from dancing together. Getting to work together as a team of all different ages, you become so close in away you never would have. This chapter has given Reece the opportunity to be a leader as well as a sincere friend. Greek Sing has brought her some of her closest friendships, and she is so proud and honored

to have been able to lead a group of creative, beautiful, and talented ladies! In addition to Greek Sing, Reece is a Supplemental Instructor for Pre-Calculus. She attends classes, and holds review sessions twice a week to help students review the material, as well as be an approachable face in the transition to college classes. She has always loved math and truly enjoys teaching it to others. Math sometimes gets a bad rep, and Reece feels it is so rewarding to change some of those opinions and watch a student overcome that fear and be confident in their abilities!! This summer Reece is working with Alfa Insurance Company as an actuarial intern. So far she has learned a lot of skills in data analysis and modeling. She first created a data dictionary for the department, to organize hundreds of data tables into a more user friendly and readable format. Reece has also learned some basics of the coding language they use, and is currently working on a small portion of the actuarial report for the past quarter. Her specific role is creating a model of what factors increase the frequency and severity of the medical claims for automobile accidents for all Alfa policyholders in the state of Georgia. She is using previous data to build a model to test what is most strongly correlated with having more car accidents…for example age or gender. This along with many other pieces will go into a final report that the department presents to the company along with recommendations on what changes to make

to increase profits and offer the best coverage options. From this experience Reece has been able to get a glimpse of what a career as an actuary would be like which is so crucial. Most people have never even heard of an actuary nor really know what they do. This experience is going to aid her in determining if this is the path she wants to go down after college. In addition, Reece is learning how to critical think for herself, problem solve, and work with a team in a professional setting. Because of this opportunity, she is developing so many skills, and learning more and more with everyday! She is able to attend meetings with supervisors and vice presidents, sit in seminars, as well as practice conducting herself in a business setting. Reece feels she is so lucky to get to work with such an amazing team of people and is so grateful for this opportunity. The team she is working with has been so welcoming and eager to help, and she cannot wait to continue the rest of the summer!! Reece’s biggest piece of advice for anyone considering Actuarial Science would be to get some type of experience. Whether that be talking to someone in the field, or through an internship, it is honestly the only thing that will really show you what this field consists of and help you chose if it is the career for you! Reece was extremely lucky that her freshman year a junior Pi Phi sister majoring in actuarial science reached out to her. She was the reason Reece even thought about changing her major to Actuarial Science and has been the biggest help along the way. Whether it has been answering her

many questions or giving advice about teachers and classes, Reece could not be more thankful for her patience and guidance. She is a testament of the wonderful sisterhood here at Pi Beta Phi. In addition, Reece would recommend starting exams as early as possible! That is the first thing companies look for and the only way you will get hired. This field is unique in the way that tests determine the extent of your career. So pass the first two as soon as possible to be competitive for jobs. To be an actuary you have to truly love problem solving and be up for a challenge, not letting failure defeat you. The exams are designed to be extremely difficult, so do not let failing make you doubt your abilities. For anyone striving to get an internship Reece would give the advice of being yourself and confident!!! Although it is intimidating, you have something amazing that would be an asset to any company so let that shine through!!