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Student Spotlight: Austin Peay mathematics major Mackenzie Carr passes prestigious actuarial exam, secures dream job at Aetna


Mackenzie Carr

Name: Mackenzie Carr 

Major: Mathematics 

Graduation year: 2023 

Hometown: Clarksville, Tennessee 

Campus involvement: Student Organization Council President, Omicron Delta Kappa Vice President, National Society for Leadership and Success Vice President, Honors and PELP Student Advisory Council Community Outreach Chair 


Mackenzie Carr, a mathematics major set to graduate in 2023, has passed the highly regarded Exam FM: Financial Mathematics. This accomplishment is a significant step in her journey to become a certified actuary. 

In this Q&A, learn about Carr’s journey at Austin Peay, her experience preparing for and passing an actuarial exam and her plans for the future. The first two exams on the journey – Exam P: Probability and Exam FM: Financial Mathematics – have a pass rate below 50%. Austin Peay actuarial science major Isac VanWormer passed Exam P: Probability in January.  

“The two exams are the first hurdle that must be overcome by actuaries here in the United States, and they are the foundation for future exams,” said Dr. Ibukun Amusan, an assistant professor in APSU’s Department of Mathematics & Statistics. 

In this Q&A, Carr shares how her determination and passion helped her succeed and the impact Austin Peay has had on her journey. 

Can you tell us more about the exam process? 

The moment I finished the exam and the “congratulations” message came across the screen, I felt immense pride and relief. Unfortunately, my previous sittings of the exam did not turn out as planned, but I was determined to pass before entering my senior year. I had to put in more than 300 study hours over a span of four months while maintaining other obligations, so I spent many days and nights running on minimal sleep. I am very proud of myself for sticking through the trials and tribulations of this process. I am looking forward to many more successful exams sittings on my journey to becoming a certified actuary. 

What are your plans after graduation? 

I have accepted a position as an actuarial analyst for Aetna, a CVS Health Company, in Atlanta, Georgia. I completed an internship with Aetna during the summer of 2022 and had an amazing experience. While I am sad to leave family and friends, I am excited to see what this new opportunity brings! 

How has Austin Peay helped you in achieving your career goals? 

Without Austin Peay and its supportive faculty and staff, I am certain I would not have had the drive to pass the FM exam. Dr. Jennifer Yantz, my advisor and mentor, influenced and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone by beginning the actuarial exam process. She gave me the foundational knowledge I needed to begin studying and has continued to support me in all my endeavors. Austin Peay also provided me with study materials and funds to pay for the exams, as these can be very pricey. Additionally, without Austin Peay, I would not have been introduced to my future employer nor would I have gained the invaluable tools to successfully land my dream job.  

Can you share your best experience at Austin Peay?  

It is difficult to choose one experience out of my four years on campus, but something I love most about Austin Peay is the sense of belonging I felt the moment I stepped on campus. Austin Peay feels like its own universe when you’re here. There are always people to talk to, good meals to share and fun times to be had. I will always be a Gov at heart. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your time at Austin Peay? 

I would like to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the friends, faculty and staff I have met along my undergraduate journey. Since Clarksville is my hometown, I was nervous about already knowing everyone on campus and not being able to make new friends or make new memories, but I was so wrong. I have made friends from across the globe. I have traveled to a myriad of new places, and I have experienced so many “firsts” ... all because I chose to be a Gov.  

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