13:58 PM

UHCL math student gets 'exactly the right job' before graduating

Keegan Laarman Oscillator

Keegan Laarman, who is receiving his degree in mathematical science, is preparing for his dream job as an actuarial analyst at Ernst and Young in Dallas.

While looking for courses in actuarial science at universities in Texas, Keegan Laarman realized his choices were limited and discovered University of Houston-Clear Lake. He knew it was the best place for him to reach his educational goals. He's pleased with his decision, and when he graduates in May, he already has the perfect job lined up.

"I'm getting my Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Science with a minor in actuarial science," he said. "I will be moving to Dallas and working for Ernst and Young, one of the 'Big Four' accounting firms, as an actuarial analyst. I'll prepare and audit tax and financial disclosures, and assess the financial risks associated with retirement and benefit plans. It's the job I wanted in exactly the field I was looking for."

Laarman, who enrolled at UH-Clear Lake in 2018 after receiving his associate's degree from Lone Star College, decided to study actuarial science and tried to find a university with that degree plan. "There are only nine universities in Texas with that curriculum," he said.

He chose UHCL because of the program, its proximity and financial aid options.

It turned out to be a good choice. "I had some hard classes, but I think I actually got the most out of those," he said. "(Assistant Professor of Mathematics) Yipeng Yang teaches the actuarial courses that prepared me for the exam, and I don't think I would have made it without him. I feel like I got a great preparation from those exams, and my other programming courses helped me get a job because I was able to put all that on my resume."

"Keegan is a very talented, hard-working, responsible, and disciplined student," Yang said. "He did a fine job in his course work at UHCL, and he also served as the president of the Actuary Club, where he showed great leadership. I have absolutely no doubt that Keegan will excel at his job with Ernst and Young."

He said that while at UHCL, he had worked at the Math Center as a tutor. "That was definitely helpful to me," he said. "I would say my job at the Math Center was a crucial part of my success."

Next month, Laarman will begin an actuarial internship with Milliman, a provider of actuarial and related products and services. "That will end in August, and then I will begin my job at Ernst and Young."

He said he feels very prepared and ready to go. "I worked the most with Dr. Yang, and he came up with the kinds of problems in class that made it challenging, but not impossible," he said. "It was hard, but I never felt discouraged. He always encouraged me to do better. To me, it was a perfect balance of difficult, but achievable work."

Learn more about UHCL's Mathematics program online.