Major: Actuarial Science with minors in business and economics
“College is what you make of it, and I think I’ve made the most of it.”
Patricia Nersten has always been good at math. Not only that, she truly enjoys it. So when she researched math-based majors, she was intrigued by the actuarial sciences, a discipline that uses math and statistics to assess business risk. She enrolled at STAC, declared an actuarial science major and settled in. Then she took the actuary exams and decided that becoming an actuary might not be what she wants to do after all.
Rather than change her major, Patricia picked up two minors, one in economics and one in business. She says that although she’s still not sure which direction her career path will take, she knows she belongs in the business world.
“I have always been a fan of math, and although I’m not sure of my career plans, I know I want to apply math to some business aspect,” Patricia says.
Patricia says she plans to spend her final semester at STAC attending the college’s spring job fairs, getting her resume out there and brushing up on her interview skills. She says STAC gives students plenty of these kinds of opportunities to prepare for the job market.
One such opportunity is the College Fed Challenge, a national competition that brings real-world economics into the STAC classroom. This year, the college entered its first-ever team of students in the competition. Patricia was a key member.
The College Fed Challenge gives undergraduate teams from around the country a chance to play monetary policymakers by analyzing economic conditions and recommending a course of action. The competition gives students a real-world “work” experience in economic analysis, decision-making and public speaking.
“This was hands-on application of the theories we learned in class. It put us in the real world and gave us a chance to talk about real-world things, not just read about them in class,” Patricia says. “It gave me a better understanding of everything I’ve learned over the past four years.”
To prepare, the STAC team spent months researching, devising policy plans and practicing their presentation. In November, the team presented at the Federal Reserve Bank to Fed “judges” – economists and experts on monetary policy. STAC’s team scored 39 points out of 50.
“We were first class that competed in the Fed Challenge. We figured we did pretty well considering it was our first time and we weren’t really sure how they were judging us,” Patricia says. “We’ve been speaking with sophomores and juniors about doing it in future. It’s a lot of effort, but it is worth it.”
In addition to her studies, Patricia runs cross country and track and tutors economics and math students. She says her decision to attend STAC has paid off in numerous ways.
“I know my professors, and they know me. Everyone is so involved. One day the dean of the School of Business came up to me and congratulated me on one of my races,” Patricia says. “Professors are always there to help you and push you to do better. They don’t let you give up. They've given me confidence to go on.”