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Diana Skrzydlo

Statistics and Actuarial Science Program Advisor

Diana Skrzydlo, her husband, and their two kids

I came to Waterloo in 2001 as an undergrad student and never left!

The great thing about studying at Waterloo is that everybody in the Faculty of Mathematics loves math. A lot of times people who love math are considered nerds, but at Waterloo, we’re all nerds!

You’re an actuarial science program advisor. What makes this program special for you?

The great thing about the Actuarial Science program is that students get practice with both the theory and practical aspects. So they do theoretical proofs but they also get to work with actual insurance policy documents. In my classes I use lots of real life examples, so when I got a mortgage on my house I brought the actual documents to class, and got students to calculate my mortgage payments. It’s cool that the program teaches students both theory and practical skills, and they gain both kinds of skills.

What do you love most about teaching?

I get my energy from people around me. If I have a good class, it gives me a lot of positive energy, and I love seeing the light bulb go on. I like putting in relevant examples from games, computer games and poker in my classes. So when I make an analogy and I look around the room, and I see people nodding and they finally understand something; that’s my favorite moment.

You did both your BMath and MMath in actuarial science at University of Waterloo. How was this experience?

My husband and I were very actively involved in MathSoc during our undergrad. I got involved in MathSoc through orientation in my second year. I was social director, Vice-President, Academic (VPA) five times and secretary most terms, and I really enjoyed it.

I was in a co-op program and I did one work term as a computer science tutor and it was my favorite job ever. That is when I realized how much I like interacting with students and making people go “Oh yeah that makes sense”.

What would your advice be to prospective students?

Go into something that you enjoy, are passionate about and fascinated by. Don’t go into something thinking about how much money you’ll make out of it, because that will only keep you motivated for so long.

I studied Actuarial Science with a minor in music when I was an undergraduate student. Other than teaching, I am also a professional singer and a member of a choir. So I make use of both my fields of study.

Read more about Professor Skryzdlo.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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