"...Online Newsletter from the Pittsburg State University College of Arts and Sciences"

Dusty Peterson, working actuary


Dusty Peterson


Despite a tough job market, Dusty Peterson didn't have to worry about finding a job after recently finishing his master's degree in mathematics from PSU.

 "I've been very fortunate," said Peterson, a Fort Scott native. "My job has been waiting for me since they offered it last August."

Peterson, who had already earned a BS in math with an emphasis in actuarial science, is joining State Farm Insurance after being offered a job as an actuary following an internship last summer. The company held the position for him until he was able to relocate to Bloomington, Ill., after May's graduation.

Actuarial science, or the use of statistics to assess risk for the insurance and finance industries, was not part of his plan when he first came to Pitt State. But after hearing about the new program and being persuaded by mathematics professor Ananda Jayawardhana, Peterson was in.

"He really helped me understand what it was and how high the expectations are in the field," Peterson said. "One other thing that caught my eye was the high ranking of the actuarial profession."

The job of actuary has been consistently ranked as one of the four best jobs in the United States by the Jobs Rated Almanac, which judges based on work environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, security and stress. The average starting salary for an actuary is about $46,000, increasing to $120,000 after 10 years on the job.

Jayawardhana said he has no doubt that Peterson will go on to be a successful actuary.

"He is an outstanding guy," Jayawardhana said, adding that several recent graduates have gone on to work in promising actuarial careers. "It's a great career for students to consider."

For more information on the actuarial science program at PSU, call the Department of Mathematics at (620) 235-4400.


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