When actuarial science professor Rahul Parsa first envisioned a newsletter for actuarial science alumni, he didn't realize the project would unite two groups of students from totally different ends of the spectrum.
Sixteen actuarial science majors and three journalism students recently teamed together to create a bi-annual electronic newsletter for CBPA actuarial science students and alumni.
The newsletter contains stories focusing on the actuarial science program, its faculty, including Stuart Klugman and his recent retirement, alumni, the history of Drake Actuarial Student Society, students and exams passed and special events they participated in.
The publication, which was distributed to more than 600 people at the end of the spring, is available online. To subscribe to the newsletter, contact Parsa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-271-3770.
"It was a great collaborative project," Parsa said. "We've never done anything like this before and it helped to have the expertise of journalism faculty and students."
Parsa guided the actuarial science students and Jeff Inman, assistant professor of journalism, oversaw the journalism students.
Photo: Actuarial students gather to network with recruiters at a career fair.
"This was a great way for some of our students to really apply their skills, to crank out a product that they could be proud of, as well as give the actuarial science students a chance to showcase something new," Inman said.
Students met once a week and worked on the newsletter on their own time outside of class, Parsa said.
The actuarial science students prepared the majority of the material for the newsletter and journalism students edited the copy, helped to develop a theme for the newsletter and designed the publication.
"I specifically want to commend the journalism students on the editing that was done," said Maame Apenteng of Accra, Ghana, a senior actuarial science major. "They were very instrumental in getting things done."
"The whole experience was great," said Laura Ruedinger, a junior actuarial science and finance major from Franklin, Wis. "It was exciting to see the different types of students working together."
Journalism students also valued the collaboration.
"It was an interesting learning experience," said senior Erica Olson, who served as graphic designer of the newsletter."
"Because the actuarial science students I worked with didn't have much design experience, I was able to guide them to get the right look," added Olson, a graphic design and magazine major from Bloomington, Ill..
Both journalism and business students said they hope to work on the newsletter in the future, thanks to a successful project and quality finished product.
"I definitely want to continue to work on the newsletter in the years to come. I look forward to the day when I am an alumna and can see what Drake students are up to, hear about professors and the program in general," Ruedinger said. "I think the final project was really good and will only continue to keep getting better."
The next issue of the Drake Actuarial Science Alumni Newsletter is scheduled for publication this December. Look for it online on the actuarial science program's Web site.