From an Innocent Girl, to Undergraduate Actuarial Researcher

A year ago, I finished my high school degree in the United States, and was able to go back to China, the place I lived for 15 years. I visited my grandparents who raised me up and took care of my for my entire life in China, but I was shock by how much was changed to their health condition. People I care about the most is getting older and older, and suffering from different chronic deseases. I was sorrowful, and wanted to do something. That was the first time I truely realized my value of existing is to bring something valuable to the world, and to people.

I was lucky, because I got a chance that summer to explore this thing called research. I was selected to attend a 2 week research summer program: SIMS. That was my very first peak to the world of research. I was asked to rank a list of research projects as my favor to work with, when I saw one about investing cancer tumor cells, I put that on my top one without any doubt.

Two weeks passed really fast with an extremely packed schedule. I tasted my first fruit from the research experience: we truely got a data that can be a tiny contribution to approach cancer cure. I realized that research is such a fastinating thing that can really be a way for me to help people and the world. So I started to dig in more to learn about different research fields. I want to find the right one for me.

As an actuarial science major student, I didn’t realize there could be so many research topics to help with the world for this type of subjects as well until I met Mr. Duncan in actuarial association at UCSB. Besides being a professor at school, he is a successful actuary working in industry for over 30 years. But he is always passionate about researching and encouraging young researchers. I was totally amazed by how much papers and books he has published, and how respectful he is in actuarial field. At that moment, I realized I can do research and help people as well with math and statistics, these tools I am more comfortable with.

This summer, I am honored to work with Mr. Duncan on a research project about developing a predictive model on hospital readmission rate. While health care is often unaffordable for us normal people, especially those without health care insurance. With our model, we want to predict the hospital readmission rate for different types of patients, so that hospitals can provide enough care and attention ahead, so that hopefully to reduce the hospital readmission rate, and also, reduce the costs to go to hospital for patients. To make health care affordable is a big goal, but every little effort is worth trying and can approach to the goal closer and closer. I am sure that is true for all fields of research.

I have a great goal, that is to change the way people live, and help make our life and the world better. Innovation and research is the best way to real that goal. It might be a brand new area for those who never get in touch with research, but as you work hard, and find more opportunities, your research skills get better and better, and eventually, everyone can do their parts to help with the world.