CWU News

Talented Math Student Enthused about Graduation and What Lies Beyond

Lisa Charron, a soon-to-be Wildcat alumna, doesn’t just talk about math—she enthuses about it. According to her professors, she is an exceptional student who has taken on every challenge the actuarial science program has to offer, with a gusto that is infectious not only to her fellow students but also to her instructors.

Actuarial science is a discipline that assesses financial risks in the health, insurance, and finance fields, using mathematical and statistical methods.

“I first got into math in the Running Start program [at Yakima's AC Davis High School],” Charron said. “My teacher, Carolyn Schut, suggested that actuarial science might be a good career choice."

Charron, who transferred here from Yakima Valley College in fall 2015 with an associate’s degree through Running Start, took to the program with alacrity.

“I transferred here as a junior, and decided to slow down a little bit to get a more rounded education,” she continued. To balance and complement her mathematics curriculum, Charron took finance, computer science, and economics courses.

In three years at CWU, she has taken all of the courses for an actuarial science major plus an additional year of senior-level coursework. She has completed minors in finance and economics, served as president of the Actuarial Science Club, and passed three of the rigorous professional exams from the Society of Actuaries—all with a near 4.0 GPA at CWU. Charron was honored for her scholarship at the College of the Sciences Awards Banquet on May 3.

“I really enjoy it. It’s rewarding how challenging it is,” Charron said. “You have to study nine months straight to pass one exam.”

To be certified as an actuary, one must past a series of rigorous exams. In the CWU program, students usually make headway by passing one or two before graduation.

“Three exams down and three to go,” she grinned. “The pressure is off a little.”

It was her extra diligence that gained her a job offer after graduation. Lisa will be joining the international consulting firm, Milliman Inc., in Seattle.

“It’s an actuarial firm, you know, nerds that consult other nerds,” she laughed.

“I came to Central because it was close to home, and had one of the most esteemed actuarial programs on the West Coast. And not having to pay out-of-state tuition was a big plus, too.”

Lisa is the daughter of renowned Yakima architect Nancy Charron, of Traho Architects, PS. Lisa’s sister Monica will also walk the boards on Saturday, graduating with a degree in Food Science and Nutrition.

When she’s not computing risks, or checking statistics, you can find Lisa hiking or rock climbing, usually with her golden retriever, Autumn.

“Being at Central has been amazing, and I loved all my classes,” Charron beamed. “My teachers let me shine and be as enthusiastic as I wanted.”

CWU's Actuarial Science Program is the only major program offered in the State of Washington and one of very few on the US West Coast. It is ranked as an advanced undergraduate program by the Society of Actuaries.

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