Actuarial Science and Statistics student Ryan Goldford has been honoured by Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) as the 2020 Math Co-op Student of the Year for his exceptional performance during his Winter 2020 co-op work-term as an Actuarial Analyst Co-op at Sun Life.
Goldford had always wanted to become an Actuary and, when it came time to begin university, he regarded the University of Waterloo as the natural choice.
“Waterloo has a great Math Faculty with strong students, but also really outstanding instruction and a world-class co-op program,” he says.
Leveraging the co-op program, he was able to secure five co-op roles, with three of them being at Sun Life. The initial experience with Sun Life prepared him to excel in his subsequent Sun Life roles and become accustomed to the company and its processes. This familiar knowledge allowed him to go beyond the typical bounds of a co-op student and become more involved with the company.
“Being familiar with how Sun Life operates not only in terms of work culture, but also products and internal systems helped ease my transition into a new role for each term,” he says.
One highlight from Goldford’s role includes when he utilized software to automate some of the mundane tasks that the organization needed to complete for capital reporting. This innovative and efficient solution saved his team precious time during one of the busiest periods of the year.
Other initiatives Ryan took on included developing an onboarding guide for future incoming co-op students to facilitate a smooth transition to the company, playing a key role in his team’s quarter-end reporting processes amid the abrupt transition to remote work. He also served as Sun Life’s Waterloo Campus Ambassador, allowing him to gain experience in mentorship and recruitment.
Overall, it was Goldford’s ability to innovate and go above and beyond expectations that earned him the title of Math Co-op Student of the Year.
“To have this award feels like I’m representing my peers who I have immense respect for, which is deeply humbling because I know how intelligent, motivated, and hard-working the people here are,” he says.
Now, Goldford is preparing for the next steps in his actuarial career. He has begun his full-time employment at Sun Life as an Actuarial Associate, completed all requirements for the Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA) designation, and is continuing to work towards his Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) designation. Long-term, he aims to seek out volunteer opportunities within the actuarial field and hopes to contribute to significant industry initiatives.