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Dr. Carlos Andrés Araiza Iturria recently completed a PhD in actuarial science. His doctoral research and dissertation, “Discrimination in insurance pricing,” was co-supervised by Dr. Mary Hardy and Dr. Paul Marriott.

The main objective of his research is to understand when and how either direct or indirect discrimination can arise in insurance pricing and suggest feasible guidelines that can mitigate its detrimental impact on society.

“I think that people who finish their PhD with a smile on their face are those that do two things,” he continues. “They research what they are passionate about, and they don’t let their degree consume their whole life. At the end of the day, we need to love and be loved, have fun and stay healthy.”

Read the full profile of Dr. Araiza Iturria, and PhD graduates from the other five Faculties, on the UW News site. 

Charmaine B. Dean, a professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and vice-president, research and international at the University of Waterloo received the prestigious 2023 Gold Medal from the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC) for her outstanding contributions to statistical sciences. Her research spans various areas, including survival analysis, disease mapping, and interdisciplinary statistical and wildfire research. Dr. Dean is a Fellow of multiple renowned organizations and has served in editorial roles for esteemed journals. Her accomplishments have established her as a highly respected figure in the field of statistics.

Read more about Dr. Dean’s award on the SSC website.

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science would like to congratulate Zhanyi Jiao, Benxuan Shi, and Yuanyuan Zhang for being three of the six new recipients of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) Hickman Scholarship for 2023-2024, and to Yiping Guo, Liyuan Li, and Michael Zhu for having their stipend renewed.

The Hickman Scholars Program provides highly  prestigious awards for PhD students in North America who work in fields related to Actuarial Science. The program provides stipends to doctoral candidates who will, through their studies and careers, address the research and education needs of the actuarial profession.

From April 28-30, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science hosted the American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest: an international data challenge in which teams of undergraduates work to “find and share meaning in a large, rich, and complex data set.” This year, 75 students participated in 20 teams, with 15 teams completing Waterloo’s intense 48-hour challenge. While teams were limited to undergraduates, they had the chance throughout to interact with graduate students, professors, and representatives of Scotiabank, the Waterloo challenge’s major sponsor.

"A key highlight from this competition was getting the opportunity to network with industry professionals, mentors, and professors,” says Inaara Somani. “It was so valuable and insightful to converse with them about their personal knowledge and experience, as well as pitch our ideas…Not only were these individuals great help during the competition, but it was so exciting to learn new things from them!"

Continue reading the full story on the Faculty of Mathematics website.

Diana Skrzydlo is one of four recipients of this year’s Distinguished Teacher Award from the Centre for Teaching Excellence.

Skrzydlo is the Director of the MActSc program, a Continuing Lecturer for the department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, and the Math Teaching Fellow.

Read the full story on the Faculty of Mathematics website.

Mathematician Alfré Rényi famously said that “a mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.” Waterloo biostatistics professor Michael Wallace, however, is a machine for turning coffee into prizes.

In 2020, when Tim Hortons moved their long-standing “Roll Up The Rim To Win” contest completely online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wallace made the news for using his statistics knowledge to win 98 per cent of the time. After Tim Hortons tweaked their system in response to his wins, he's back this year with a new method. 

Read the full story on the Waterloo News page. 

On March 1, 2023, faculty and undergraduate students from the Faculty of Mathematics participated in what they hope will be merely the first “Math Teach-Off” event.

The premise of the event was simple: three groups of students would take a quiz on the mathematical concept. Then, each group would be taught about the concept for an hour by one of three instructors: Nathaniel Stevens (assistant professor of Statistics and Actuarial Science and Director of the undergraduate Data Science program); Jordan Hamilton (lecturer in the Math Undergraduate Group); and Blake Madill (lecturer in Pure Mathematics). Finally, the students would take a second quiz on the concept, and each group’s scores would be compared for improvement and overall accuracy.

Continue reading on the Faculty of Math's website.

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science congratulates professor Nathaniel Stevens as being named the winner of the 2023 ASQ Feigenbaum Medal. This achievement is awarded for the "outstanding characteristics of leadership, professionalism, and potential in the field of quality and also whose work has been or, will become of distinct benefit to mankind." (ASQ)

The citation reads: "For outstanding contributions to the development and application of statistics in business and industry, to the mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students, and to the service of the broad Quality community."

The medal will be presented in Philadelphia at 2023 ASQ's World Conference on Quality and Improvement

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science congratulates professor Stefan Steiner as being named the winner of the 2023 ASQ Shewhart Medal. This achievement is awarded for the "outstanding technical contributions and leadership in the field of modern quality control and improvement, especially through the development of theory, principles, techniques, and successful applications in the area of quality." (ASQ)

The citation reads: "For his outstanding leadership in the field of industrial statistics; for his innovation and technical contributions in measurement system analysis, process monitoring, statistical engineering, and variation reduction; and for his dedicated promotion of quality improvement in business, industry, and healthcare."

The medal will be presented in Philadelphia at 2023 ASQ's World Conference on Quality and Improvement

More than a hundred students spent the weekend working in teams learning to detect fraud as part of the inaugural Scotiabank Data Science Discovery Days competition.

The event, which took place virtually and in Mathematics 3 from January 20th to January 22nd, invited teams of students from across campus to analyze large amounts of data in a project that mimics the real world work they would do in data science careers.

“Scotiabank and the University of Waterloo share a passion for innovation,” says Yannick Lallement, Scotiabank’s Vice President for Corporate Functions Analytics and AI/ML Solutions. “We are pleased to partner with UW on programs that encourage students to engage with applied data and analytics. The enthusiasm, creativity, and technical skills that UW brought to this challenge impressed me a great deal.”

Read the full story on the Math Faculty website.