Dordt College News

Dordt College to offer new actuarial and statistics programs

February 23, 2012

Two new mathematics-related programs will help students prepare to meet the growing demand for quantitatively trained professionals. Starting in fall 2012, the Dordt College department of mathematics, statistics, and computer science will offer a new major/minor program in actuarial science and a new minor in applied statistics.

“One outcome of the information age is that statistical reasoning is increasingly used by almost all professions to evaluate evidence and make decisions based on data,” says Dr. Nathan Tintle, professor of statistics and director of the applied statistics minor and the new actuarial science program. “The applied statistics minor will give Dordt students a leg up on their peers in being able to critically evaluate and produce statistical arguments.” 

The minor in applied statistics is designed to be compatible with any major on campus.

A major and minor will be available in actuarial science, an interdisciplinary field that studies mathematical and statistical modeling to manage risk. Actuaries have worked mainly in the insurance and pension management fields, but today they also work as consultants for a variety of financial risk management areas. Actuarial jobs consistently rank high on lists of top professions for positive hiring outlook, good pay, job security, and relatively low workplace stress.

Dordt’s distinctively Reformed, comprehensive education provides the context for an academically rigorous major or minor that will prepare students for a career as an actuary. The major consists of courses in mathematics, statistics, and finance.

While the actuarial major is new and will streamline the process for getting into the profession, previous Dordt students have already gone on to become actuaries. Karoline Bootsma (’02), a fellow in the Society of Actuaries who works for Midland National Life Insurance company in Sioux Falls, S.D., believes the program will be a great addition. “It gives students who are interested in mathematics and business another excellent career choice to consider,” she says.

Nate Schelhaas (’97), another fellow in the Society of Actuaries, works at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa. He says, “The new program will give those who are gifted in math, who also value and desire a Christian, liberal arts education, an opportunity to fulfill their calling in a highly challenging and rewarding career.”

Schelhaas will talk about the actuarial profession and his experiences at 11 a.m. Friday, March 2, in the Ribbens Academic Complex Room 1148. The public is invited. High school students interested in learning about careers in mathematics should strongly consider attending. Following the talk, visitors are invited to join Schelhaas and members of the math department for lunch and an informal presentation about new and current programs in mathematics and statistics at Dordt College.

Contact the admissions office at 1-800-343-6738 to arrange your visit. High school students interested in mathematics should also consider a summer program in mathematics offered by Dordt College for the first time this year. For more information visit

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