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Department of Mathematics
University of Mississippi

Cheryl White

Cheryl White
Partner, Select Actuarial Services

BS in Mathematics (1991)


Why did you select math as your major?
I started out as a Chemical Engineering major, but by the end of my freshman year I realized that I didn’t want to go that route.  I had already taken a couple of math classes and knew math was one of my strengths.  I did not know for sure what I wanted to do, but I felt like being a math major gave me the flexibility and skills to pursue a career in teaching, business or computer science.  I ended up taking elective classes in accounting, economics, computer science and management which have served me well in my career.

What are some significant/favorite memories from your time at UM?
I attended lots of football and basketball games during my time at UM and those were always fun.  I played quite a few intramural sports and also refereed a few intramural basketball games.  I was an RA in Crosby Hall my senior year and enjoyed getting to know the residents on my floor as well as other housing staff.  I was active in Baptist Campus Ministries and attended Thursday night Bible studies and a few weekend retreats.  I think my favorite thing from my time at UM was all the people I got to know, many of whom are my closest friends today.

Please describe your career trajectory since graduation from UM.
After graduating from UM in 1991, I attended Vanderbilt University and got a masters degree in math.  It was during this time that I became interested in being an actuary and I was able to take several courses that proved helpful in passing some of the preliminary actuarial exams.  My first job as an actuary was with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance for one year before beginning a job with Sedgwick (an insurance broker) as an actuary in 1994.  In 1998, Sedgwick was acquired by another insurance broker and in early 1999, circumstances led me and 4 of my colleagues to start our own actuarial consulting business, Select Actuarial Services.  That same year I also completed my 10th actuarial exam and became a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS).  Select Actuarial Services is now in our 24th year and I get to work with some great colleagues, train new employees, help run a small business and provide actuarial consulting services to a wide range of clients all over the country.

What do you think is the value of studying math in today’s world? 
The world has changed a lot since I was a student at UM and I believe that this will continue into the future.  I believe that a degree in math offers today’s student, as it did me, the flexibility and skills to adapt to opportunities that present themselves.  I did not plan on being a consulting actuary or a business owner when I set foot on campus as a freshman at UM, but I was well prepared to do this through my education and experiences.