BA, Mathematics (French Minor), Wilfred Laurier University
Valuation Specialist, Actuarial Development Program, Manulife Financial
When did your love of STEM begin?
Chantel: When I was younger, like elementary school, I liked more arts. I was good at Math, good at English. And then as I got to more to high school, I started to bend more interest towards sciences and mathematics. So what's interesting is when I was in high school I wanted to be an architect, so I took a lot of math courses, physics, and arts so it was a bit of everything, and then afterwards that didn't end up being what I wanted to do, I didn’t end up going in that direction. So I went to school just in general for a mathematics degree, just because I thought it would open a lot of opportunities in the future. So each step I didn’t a 100% know where I'd be in the end but it all helped me get to where I am today.
What is the best part of working in the field of STEM?
Chantel: What's interesting about it is the mathematics behind it. So putting numbers to real life situations. It's interesting to know that what you're doing is affecting people around you and protecting families to make sure that they have enough insurance to cover their losses if something sad in their lives were to happen. So I find that interesting. What I also enjoy about it is the interaction with people at my work. It's very easy going, you can walk up to someone, ask them a question, it's very interactive. You would think you'd work more individually but you actually work as a team. It's not so singled out as you would think.
"I like digging in and figuring out why something isn’t working or if a number looks strange and it doesn’t make sense for the context, and coming up with a answer. It’s the result that is the most rewarding from it."
What advice would you give to young women considering a career in STEM?
Chantel: Advice I'd give to women taking that first step in their career would be to always be positive and kind of look forward, and just know that there’s going to be some rough points. But there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. It always works in the end because lots of things come from hard work sometimes.
I think it's important for women to pursue their interests because it just opens up so many doors. Don't let failing the first time prevent you from trying again. It's important to always keep trying because sometimes it can take a few tries before you can succeed and you can learn lessons along the way.