Jacob Akstins: Baseball enthusiast, social action advocate, Spencer Scholar


A math and science enthusiast, Jacob Akstins studies actuarial science at the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. He loves baseball for its implications of math and analytics and enjoys extracurricular activities including serving as the President of his Actuarial Club. Here is our Q&A with him:

  1. What are you doing this summer?

This summer, I am interning at CNA Financial in Chicago as an Actuarial Intern on the Specialty Pricing team.  In particular, I am developing a Quick Quote Tool for Management Liability coverages and analyzing our team’s Life Agents portfolio.

  1. What is your favorite activity (extracurricular/volunteer/work) to do outside of class, and why?

Social justice-related work and baseball are my favorite activities.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I have the privilege of serving as a Multicultural Advocate. This live-in position gives me a unique opportunity to serve a diverse group of students as a facilitator and consultant regarding social identity. Mainly, I really enjoy working with students with disabilities and students who identity as LGBTQ.

As far as baseball goes, I have always been a super-fan whether as a player, umpire, or spectator (go White Sox!). This sport is, first of all, so fun to me. Additionally, it has really evolved since I’ve grown up; the implications that analytics and math play in this sport (through analysis and player shifts to cover probable ranges of hit balls, etc.) are endless.

  1. Name a few goals you wish to achieve in the near future.

I’m hoping to sit for (and hopefully pass) a fourth actuarial exam in early 2018.  Additionally, I am looking forward to successfully completing my second internship with CNA this summer!

  1. In your opinion, why is risk management important to the society? Where do you see the industry trending in the next 5 years?

I believe that risk management is essential to our existence.  The world is full of risk.  Tools like insurance exist as a way for people to pool together their resources and protect one another through a guide (insurer).  I believe that with increased reliance and innovation with technology (cloud computing, increased data usage, self-driving cars), our risks are becoming much more complex and unpredictable. Thus, advanced modeling, analytics, and other analysis is going to be a key-driver of risk management’s future.

  1. Share something unique about yourself (fun fact/talent/skill/accomplishment).

I was a musician throughout high school, playing marimba!

  1. How do you wish to succeed in both risk management and promoting social justice?

I believe that it is important to be knowledgeable about social identity and its impact on our world today. In particular, there have been many movements including those for disability rights, #BlackLivesMatter, gender-inclusive bathrooms, and more, and it is interesting to see how these progressions towards (or, sometimes, against) social equity affect everything around us.