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College of the Sciences

CWU Math Professor Earns Prestigious Actuarial Science Distinction

Becoming an Associate of the Society of Actuaries is a rare distinction for a mathematician. Kathryn Temple, Central Washington University mathematics and actuarial science professor, completed a decade of passing a rigorous series of professional examinations to achieve this honor.

Actuaries are professionals who develop and communicate solutions for complex financial issues such as risk management for banking and insurance industries.

"I started taking the exams for the Associate level soon after I first arrived," Temple said. "They corresponded to the financial mathematics courses I was teaching at the time."

She is the second professor at CWU to achieve an Associate distinction; Yvonne Chueh, also a mathematics professor, achieved the level in 1994. CWU is the only school in Washington State and one of only a handful in the Pacific Northwest to offer an actuarial science major. It is the only school in the region that can boast two professors who are Associates in the Society.

"The modules are modeled on professional cases," she continued. "The "real-life" scenarios make it easy for students to relate to, and I can emphasize other aspects of the test, such as communication skills."

Students in the actuarial sciences program usually pass one to two examinations by the time they graduate, according to Temple. Students need to pass five exams to become a credentialed actuary, and many will continue to work on examinations throughout the early years of their career.

"There are at least 40-50 declared majors in the program," Temple noted. "And we graduate up to 15 per year. Our "cohort" is small enough that we really get to know and support one another."

In addition to teaching actuarial science and upper-level courses for math majors, Temple also enjoys teaching math to non-majors and students from other departments.

"I like to make math useful and relevant for people who are going to do other things," she smiled.

A Washington native, Temple grew up outside of Spokane. She received her BS from the University of Washington, and her PhD in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been teaching at CWU for 13 years.

CWU's Actuarial Science Program
CWU is the only institution in Washington-and one of only three in the Pacific Northwest-that offers a bachelor of science degree in actuarial science. It is ranked as an advanced undergraduate program by the Society of Actuaries, as the program is designed to prepare students for the rigorous actuarial examinations. The program covers the material for the five preliminary examinations, with the typical student finishing the material for four of the five preliminary exams before graduation. For more information about CWU's bachelor of science degree in actuarial science, go to

The Society of Actuaries
With roots dating back to 1889, the Society of Actuaries is the world's largest actuarial professional organization with more than 28,000 actuaries as members. Through education and research, the SOA advances actuaries as leaders in measuring and managing risk to improve financial outcomes for individuals, organizations, and the public.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

January 24, 2018

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