Anthony Gaeta, Honors Math, Economics
“Honestly, if I could, I’d go back and shake myself and say, ‘Don’t sleep on UMass Lowell. Just accept!’ You get so much more for your dollar here.”
Math major Anthony Gaeta wanted to go to a pricey private university in Boston, but when he ran the numbers, they just didn’t add up.
So he weighed his options and decided to come to UMass Lowell instead.
Now he can’t believe UMass Lowell wasn’t his first choice. He was offered a place in the Honors College, a $4,000 scholarship to do research with a professor the summer after his freshman year and a financial aid package that’s allowing him to graduate without debt.
The university also accepted a semester’s worth of AP credits—and he put the extra time to good use when Kerry Willard Bray, assistant director of cooperative education for the Career & Co-op Center, helped him land a professional co-op as an actuary at John Hancock Financial.
“Where I am right now, having worked a six-month co-op and still able to graduate on time, I can’t thank UMass Lowell enough,” says Gaeta, a junior. “Honestly, if I could, I’d go back and shake myself and say, ‘Don’t sleep on UMass Lowell. Just accept!’ You get so much more for your dollar here.”
Gaeta says his math and economics classes prepared him well for his co-op at John Hancock, where he did the same work as any entry-level employee. His job was to take the company’s raw data on active insurance products, including premiums and payouts, the policyholder’s age and provisions for beneficiaries, and then prepare the information for input into commercial actuarial software that would analyze the risk of default under different market scenarios. There was no set formula, so he had to figure out how to convert each data set to be readable by the actuarial software.
“I love analyzing risk and seeing and making predictions about market behavior,” he says. “UMass Lowell taught me how to take a problem and solve it, or at least move forward toward a solution.”
Gaeta passed his first actuarial exam at the beginning of his junior year—nine are required to become a full fellow of the Society of Actuaries—and hopes to pass two more before he begins his senior year, so he can concentrate on his honors thesis. Passing the exams will help him get a good job right after college, and he’d like nothing better than to go back to John Hancock.
“They are the nicest people on Earth, and they are so eager to help co-ops,” he says.