OWLympiad_1The Fox School of Business will welcome nearly 250 juniors from Philadelphia-area high schools to Temple University for the 7th annual OWLympiad math competition, to be held May 9 at the Howard Gittis Student Center.

Free to attend, OWLympiad offers cash prizes for 11th-graders who are exploring career possibilities in the actuarial science field. Actuaries leverage high-level numerical skills to assume positions in insurance, consulting, investment banking, government organizations, and more.

“This event creates awareness that actuarial science is an appealing career path for someone who loves math, and it’s a great way for local math-minded students to connect with one another,” said OWLympiad coordinator Dr. Krupa Viswanathan, an Associate Professor and Director of the Fox School’s Actuarial Science program.

OWLympiad will challenge teams of four students to demonstrate their knowledge in a range of math-related subjects, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The competition, which begins at 9 a.m., will consist of a multiple-choice exam, a “24” math cardgame competition, and a Quizzo-style lightning round. The team that accrues the most points will be awarded $400. All participating students will receive a customized T-shirt, lunch, and other items provided by the event’s sponsors.

OWLympiad_2The Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, as well as the Sigma Chapter of international professional fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma, will host the competition. Travelers Insurance Company and the Casualty Actuarial Society are the event’s sponsors.

Temple University offers one of the most-distinguished Actuarial Science programs in North America, and has been recognized by the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) – one of only 30 institutions to receive this honor. The Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department has offered engagement opportunities for local high school students for the past 15 years, including OWLympiad.

Email Timothy Ellis ( or Viswanathan ( for more information about OWLympiad.

Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management Michael McCloskey speaks to area high school students on the significance of financial literacy.
Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management Michael McCloskey speaks to area high school students on the significance of financial literacy.

It’s not what you make. It’s what you save.

That’s what Michael McCloskey said, as he asked for a student volunteer to share details of his personal finances.

At that moment, a hand shot into the air. The area high school student divulged to McCloskey how much money he earns each month by working his part-time job, and also how much he spends. Then McCloskey asked the student if he owns a car. The student replied yes, but added that his parents manage its related expenses.

“Well, that’s going to change one day,” said McCloskey, Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at the Fox School of Business, “and it’s important that everyone in this room is prepared for that day.

The Fox School hosted more than 70 high school students from the Philadelphia region April 29 for a first annual Financial Literacy seminar, offering a variety of guest speakers on topics ranging from early investing, credit, and financial aid for college.

Fox School’s Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a risk and insurance fraternity, organized the four-hour event, to demonstrate the importance of managing one’s personal finances to prevent common financial pitfalls and to encourage better decision-making in regard to money. Reducing student debt is one of six commitments made by Temple University President Neil Theobald, who recently implemented the Fly In 4 program.

The event opened with McCloskey’s discussion on investing for the future. McCloskey, who teaches a general education course on the subject, explained the difference between good credit and bad credit, introduced the students to terms like insolvency and net worth, and encouraged them to jot down their monthly expenditures as a way of tracking their spending.

The students also learned about college admissions and financial aid application procedures from David Kaiser, Director of Undergraduate Enrollment at the Fox School, and Celeste D. Roberts, Temple’s Assistant Bursar of Financial Literacy. Following a lunch break, the students met with Fox senior Francesca Waddington, Sigma’s Vice President of Community Affairs, for a discussion focusing on the college experience.

“Four years ago, I was extremely confused with applying for financial aid and student loans, and had little understanding of what impact this would have on me when I graduated,” said Waddington, who organized the event with the help of Vice Dean Debbie Campbell, Director of Undergraduate Enrollment David Kaiser and Sigma Director of Community Affairs Sean Johnson.

“I think it’s crucial to educate students who plan to attend college on exactly what the financial burden is and, more importantly, how to lessen this burden. I think understanding how to become financially literate is vital to success, which was our inspiration for starting an event like this.”

The Financial Literacy seminar served as just one of many initiatives organized by the Sigma Chapter. In April, Sigma presented a check for $11,200 to its charity of choice, Brave Hearts for Strong Minds. The organization, based in the Philadelphia area, collects educations funds for children who have lost an income-earning parent.

For more information on the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, visit its website.

Fox School of Business alumni , faculty and students and industry professionals flocked to the Hyatt at the Bellevue Hotel Tuesday, April 22, to celebrate and honor students past and present for the 26th Annual Awards for Excellence Dinner.

Co-hosted by the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management and the Sigma chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, Dean Moshe Porat commented on event’s growth from a small luncheon 25 years ago.

“The idea behind it was to raise the profile of the department, to further connect students to employers, and to attract well-known speakers,” Dr. Porat said. “I think you will agree that we succeeded on all accounts – more people, more illustrious speakers and more successes to celebrate.”

The keynote speaker of the event was J. Hyatt Brown, president and CEO of Brown & Brown, Inc. who had an active career as a Florida state representative in the 1970s, and whom Time Magazine named one of the U.S.’s 50 young leaders in 1979.

Among the more than 30 Fox School students receiving awards were graduating seniors Richard Lee, BBA ’14, and William Thorsson, BBA ’14, who received the G. William Glendenning Award for Excellence in Actuarial Science; Cathleen Gabriel, BBA ’14, and Regina Ross, BBA ’13, recipients of the Joseph E. Boettner Award for Excellence in Risk Management and Insurance; H. Wayne Snider Award in Risk Management winner Martin Leicht, BBA ’14; Allison Cross, CEBS, BBA ’14,, who won the Jerry S. Rosenbloom Award in Employee Benefits; and Nancy Barret, BBA ’14, who was honored with the Baglini Memorial Award for Professionalism and Ethics.

Three Fox alums received the prestigious awards from the department. Cassidy A. Starkey, BBA ’99, manager of the designs Claims Management Programs for The Graham Company – and a Temple University Beasley School of Law grad – received the Norman A. Baglini Distinguished Young Alumni Award in Risk Management and Insurance.

Cigna Global Health Benefits Actuarial Manager Richard Huynh, BBA ’08, was honored with the G. William Glendenning Distinguished Young Alumni Award in Actuarial Science.

John Hannah, BBA ’90, was given the H. Wayne Snider Distinguished Alumni Award in Risk Management and Insurance. Hannah currently serves as senior client executive of Marsh’s Philadelphia Operations.

Associate Professor and Department Chair R.B. Drennan made remarks about the state of the insurance industry’s recruitment and future before awarding students and alumni. He proudly noted that the Fox School is educating future generations in this industry, and “we have been doing it longer and better than anyone else.”

“There is great concern over where the next generation of talent and leaders will come from,” Dr. Drennan noted. “Might I suggest to you, based on the facts as presented, that we in the Fox School have assumed the role as the leader in risk management education and research in the country and that we are also playing a major role to close this gap.”

Each year, the Fox School’s Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) gathers senior risk management and insurance and actuarial science students for a fall Graduating Senior Career Reception.

The Oct. 21 event brought together 120 students and 32 employers offering positions in risk management and actuarial science. Recruiters from All Risks, CIGNA, Marsh, Towers Watson, ACE and others spoke with students about job opportunities and collected resumes. Travelers was the main sponsor of the event and was also recruiting students for entry-level positions.

Sam Solove, a recruiter for Aon Hewitt and a Temple alumna, got her start with the company during her Senior Career Reception before graduating in 2008. “I always love coming to Temple because the students are extra professional and prepared,” she said.

Solove and her colleagues were looking for students with a strong interest in the company’s work and who have communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team. She said Temple students always meet the criteria, and this year’s group was no exception.

“There are so many great companies here,” said Brittany Coar, a senior risk management and insurance major. “We only have two hours to speak with all of them so we have to make it work.” Coar is an intern for Conner Strong & Buckelew, which was also present at the reception.

Students were able to register for the career reception after completing The Road to the Resume Book, which is a systematic professional development process supervised by GIS’s professional development team. The steps consist of interview and etiquette workshops, a mock interview and resume review.

The career fair is organized entirely by GIS students and is the “last Gamma-assisted step in a student’s life before entering the professional world.”

For the 12th year in a row, the Fox School’s Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma received the prestigious Edison L. Bowers Award, the most coveted of the fraternity’s awards, at the organization’s 40th annual international conference.

The three-day conference, held in Columbus, Ohio, from Oct. 13-15, drew chapters from across North America. The conference consisted of educational workshops, social events and a career fair. The highlight of the conference was the International Awards Dinner where the Bowers Award was announced.

The Edison L. Bowers Award, the highest honor a chapter can receive, is given to the chapter that best reflects the overall goals and objectives of Gamma Iota Sigma. Fox’s chapter – which has received the award 17 out of the last 19 years – again earned the award at this year’s conference for the accomplishments of its dedicated officer team, supportive faculty advisors, and its members’ commitment and participation in chapter events. Dr. R.B. Drennan, chairman of Fox’s Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management, advises the student professional organization.

In addition, the Sigma Chapter won four Black and Gold Awards, which are granted to chapters for developing projects and programs considered creative, exceptional and possible only through extensive planning, organization and participation by a significant number of chapter members. This year, the Sigma Chapter was recognized for the “Pay It Forward” initiative of its actuarial science career development committee, for creation of the Dress for Success Workshop, for its branding initiative, and for alumni involvement in the 19th semi-annual Gamma Games.

The Sigma Chapter also won awards for chapter management, alumni relations, community service, membership development and public relations. Sigma Chapter alumna and past Executive Vice President Angela McBride (Class of 2011) received the Warren L. Weeks Scholarship, which is given to outstanding seniors. Erik Smith (Class of 2011) received the Elizabeth Lange/Microsoft Scholarship posthumously.

To see the Sigma Chapter’s announcement, click here.

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115,

The Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) hosted its final meeting of the year on April 27. The event marked a special occasion for the academic fraternity, as they presented a goal-breaking check to Aid For Friends, a regional charity benefiting the elderly, shut-ins and the handicapped.

Kim Devlin, vice president of community affairs, along with several other GIS officers, presented a check for $8,000 to Steven Schiavone, director of Aid For Friends.

“Our account has been running low,” Schiavone said. “This is fantastic. We can’t do this without the help of people like you.”

Every year, GIS donates money to a charity of their choice. They raise funds throughout the year by hosting bake sales, social gatherings and various events both on and off campus. They began with a goal of $5,000, which they far exceeded.

“I think our community affairs team really felt connected to the charity, which really helped,” Devlin said. “The members sensed how we felt about it.”

Aid For Friends was founded in 1974. For decades the charity has been hand delivering home-cooked meals to shut-ins and those in need. They also provide free outreach services and general support.

Devlin said GIS chose Aid For Friends because they believe it’s a worthwhile charity that benefits the region.

“Eight thousand dollars is a lot for college students, but for some charities it’s a penny in the bucket,” Devlin said. “So we try to find a small, more local charity to donate to.”

Brian Wingfield, vice president of fundraising, said the group works little by little throughout the year to accumulate a significant amount of money.

“Eight thousand dollars is phenomenal,” Wingfield said. “50 cents for a cupcake on a Friday at a bake sale – it all counts.”

After receiving the check, Schiavone thanked the group and reminded them of how their funds will go to help those in need.

“Our meals are all free, which is a big deal to a lot of people,” Schiavone said. “People are very grateful for the food, but even more grateful for the companionship.”

– Matt Finn

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115,

As part of its mission to “encourage, establish and enhance the professionalism of students” in the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management (RIHM), the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Sigma Iota (GIS) recently connected students to industry professionals at its Risk Management and Insurance Summer Intern Career Reception.

The reception – a culmination of months worth of preparation and professional development – took place Feb. 25, welcoming more than 130 Risk Management and Insurance students and 26 companies.

The Intern Career Reception provides an opportunity for members to present themselves to potential employers in a setting strictly for students seeking intern positions. Student-attendees must have completed a “Road the Resume Book” process, including interview skills and etiquette workshops, a mock interview and resume review.

“We want our students to be prepared for the reception,” said GIS Treasurer Seth Ehrlich, a sophomore actuarial science and risk management major.

In Fall 2010, the Graduating Senior Career Fair hosted 33 registered companies to meet December 2010 and May 2011 graduates in Actuarial Science and Risk Management and Insurance. More than 120 students attended the Oct. 14 reception, which was sponsored in part by Travelers.

The career fair was open to GIS members only, and student-attendees had to complete several professional development workshops, a mock interview and resume review to attend. Companies ranged from insurance agents, brokers, carriers, consultants and more from the employee benefits and property casualty industries.

The events are planned and executed by GIS officers, who also produce the resume books and are responsible for ensuring that participating students complete the necessary steps to attend.

– Chelsea Calhoun

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115,

In the end, it came down to 8 liters.

That was the winning answer during the Fox School’s Mathematics Owlympiad, which attracted nearly 140 students from 19 high schools to Temple University last month for a competition that promoted both individual and collaborative problem solving.

Organized by the Fox School’s Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management Department and the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), the annual event featured three rounds of competition to test the skills of the 11th graders in attendance.

The first round featured a 50-question written exam – to be completed individually – followed by a 10-question group round based on the popular trivia game Quizzo. The two teams with the highest combined scores from rounds one and two – Salesianum School in Wilmington, Del., and La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Pa. – advanced to the sudden-death lightening round.

After La Salle College’s team of three missed a baseball-related question, the foursome from Salesianum won the competition by correctly answering this problem: If you have a 10-liter mixture of 90 percent ethanol and 10 percent water, how much water would you have to add in order to break the mixture down to 50 percent ethanol?

The answer: 8 liters.

“It was nerve-racking, but it was doable,” Salesianum student Bill Facciolo said. “The math was easy enough as long as you kept a level head”

Facciolo and his three teammates – Joe Matthew, Nick Roy and Stephen Chicosky – were awarded $100 each, while the three second-place finishers from La Salle received $75 each.

“These guys just came through,” Salesianum math teacher and coach Matt Kegelman said.

The competition, held May 17 in the Howard Gittis Student Center, featured 25 to 30 student volunteers from the Sigma Chapter of GIS, an international academic fraternity for Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science majors. They assisted with everything from formulating questions and registering attendees to grading tests and keeping score.

Seth Ehrlich, Sigma Chapter’s treasurer, used his connections at a pizza shop to secure donated Coca-Cola and pizza for the high school students.

“I like the people that achieve,” said Ehrlich, a sophomore actuarial science and risk management double major. “I like kids succeeding.”

Michael McCloskey, an instructor in the Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management Department and one of the Owlympiad’s principal organizers, said he hopes the event will double and triple in size as more high schools learn about it. McCloskey added that he envisions the Owlympiad being known as “the math event in the Philadelphia region.”

At this year’s contest, 19 public, private and parochial schools participated, including Avon Grove, Camden Catholic, Unionville High School and Ursuline Academy.

Lower Merion High School math teacher Peter Kaczmar accompanied eight students who formed two teams at the competition. In the end, Lower Merion Team 1 placed third overall, beating out Lower Merion Team 2 by only four points – 197 to 193.

“This is a well-organized, well-run competition. It’s nice to have something like this in the Philadelphia area,” Kaczmar said. “It’s a good experience for them, and the team concept is really a nice way of working it.”

– Brandon Lausch

The Sigma Chapterof Gamma Iota Sigma has done it again and brought home the prestigious Edison L. Bowers Award for the ninth year in a row — 14 out of the past 16 years!
The Sigma Chapter also received additional awards and scholarships making it the most awards won by a single chapter in the history of Gamma Iota Sigma.

Gamma Iota Sigma is an international professional fraternity for students studying risk management, insurance and actuarial science.

The Bowers Award was given at the 37th Annual Gamma Iota Sigma International Management Conference held in October 2008 in Virginia.

The Bowers Award was created to recognize the one chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma that demonstrates an exceptional, well-rounded and organized program each academic school year.

The Bowers Award takes into account public relations, industry relations, alumni affairs as well as other chapter activities. This award is the highest honor that a chapter can receive from the Grand Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma.

Along with taking home the Bowers, the Sigma Chapter also received awards recognizing community service, membership development, public relations, alumni relations, and career development.

Finally, the Sigma Chapter was given four “Black and Gold Awards” for ‘Neighboorhood Bikeworks Fundraising Project’ and ‘The Gamma Ambassadors Program,’ ‘Creating an E-Commerce Website,’ and ‘Essentials of a Periodic Newsletter.’ These awards recognize unique chapter events and programs that can be replicated by other chapters.

In addition to these chapter awards, Sigma Chapter members and alumni received the following recognition:

Anita Benedetti Memorial Award
Kevin Johnson (Class of 2009)
This award recognizes outstanding participation with RIMS on the local and national levels.

Warren L. Weeks Scholarship
Tiffany Calhoun, (Class of 2008)
This award recognizes the effort to encourage individual members and the furthering of fraternity goals.
Elizabeth Lange Microsoft Scholarship
Paul Rossi, (Class of 2010)
This award recognizes a member’s successful chapter, family and community contributions.

Thomas J. Miles Actuarial Award
Former Sigma Chapter President Aaron Hill (Class of 2008)
This award recognizes a member of Gamma Iota Sigma that best represents the qualities of scholarship, leadership, character and service exemplified by Dr. Miles.The Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma at Temple University will host the 38th Annual Management Conference in October 2009.