Jordan Howell ‘21 wanted to make sure he turned his passion for math into practical experience. The co-op opportunity at Kettering University allowed him to do that and helped him get one step closer to his dream of becoming an actuary.
Howell has always liked working with numbers and was excited to work on his math homework over any other subject in high school in Jamaica. He understands the importance of using numbers to predict how future events can happen, and that’s why he chose to study Actuarial Science at Kettering.
“I didn’t just want the theoretical experience. I really wanted to expand my scope and get a practical feel for what my field would be like,” Howell said. “I just love numbers. I’m best at math. As soon as I see numbers I try to figure it out and I get it easily. That’s my strong point.”
Howell was recently one of 12 students worldwide who received the Milliman Opportunity Scholarship award, which was created to assist students from ethnic groups and races who are under-represented in the fields of actuarial science or related fields.
It’s just one factor in reassuring him that his career choice is on the right path. Howell hopes to become an actuary by age 25 and then go back to the Jamaica, where there is a great demand for the profession.
“There is a great shortage of actuaries in the Caribbean. This serves as a potential for me to go and help my community,” Howell said. “Insurance companies rely heavily on actuaries. There are so few, yet so much work that needs to be done in the extremely demanding field.”
Howell’s time at Kettering is his first step in accomplishing that goal. To become an actuary, he must also go to graduate school and through another certification program.
Kettering really stood out to Howell when choosing where to go to college. The classroom knowledge mixed with the real world opportunities was very valuable to him. He was able to participate in the AIM (Academically Interested Minds) program at Kettering when he was in high school and got a feel for what his time at Kettering would be like.
“The AIM program showed us different businesses that Kettering partners with for the co-op program. That’s what really got me interested in going to Kettering, as I was sure I would be able to get exposure in the field and at the same time have an advantage over my peers,” Howell said. “The AIM program also helped foster many friendships that I still have to this day.”
Moving from Jamaica to Flint was more difficult for Howell than he imagined. He was away from his family and his support system.
But Kettering offered more than just valuable time in the classroom and a co-op experience. What kept Howell at Kettering and helped him succeed during a challenging first year was the student organizations he was involved in.
“As an international student it was more challenging for me. At first it was overwhelming but after building a level of friendship with students here, it has really helped a lot. Just being a part of the different clubs that are on campus, they are always there for you to push you and say you can do this,” Howell said. “Who better to take advice from? These students are the future leaders of society.
“National Society of Black Engineers was the first club that really got me into having that circle of friendships. They also got me involved in community projects and it really helped build my character. It has been worth it to push through.”
Howell is now president of the International Club and he wants to help be a support system to other international students that come to Kettering. He’s dedicated to paving a path for other international students who will need a sense of guidance and support in matriculating into a foreign system and being afforded similar opportunities.
“It has all been worth it,” Howell said, adding his advice for those considering Actuary Science. “It’s sometimes easier to switch to another major because the masses are greater in that field and can more quickly assistance in times of need. But I knew what I wanted. It’s for us to all know exactly what we want, stay focused and strive to pursue our passions.”