Math and Theater Guide Fisette's Career Path

Rob Fisette ’04 recently returned to The Valley as part of the Math Sciences Colloquium to talk about his career as an actuary. While he’s enjoying his career, it was a winding road that brought Fisette from LVC to his current home in the Seattle area.

The faculty in the College’s Mathematical Sciences Department weren’t the only influences on Fisette’s career path. He earned a small role with a Wig and Buckle Theater Company play his junior year and directed Sweeney Todd as a senior. After graduating, Fisette took his love for improv and moved to Chicago with thoughts that he might study at ImprovOlympic or Second City.

While his acting career didn’t materialize, Fisette credits those years in Chicago with shaping his life in two key ways. 

First, he started playing chess more seriously to keep his mental skills sharp. 

“The ability to think strategically and plan out variations has been really useful in work life also,” said Fisette, who would later meet his wife at his graduate school’s chess club. “I work in actuarial consulting and the ability to plan around roadblocks in advance can help avoid a lot of wasted effort on false paths.”

Also, since he wasn’t working in a mathematical job, it made him realize he truly loved math. It was more than just a skill that came easily to him.

Fisette moved west from Chicago and enrolled at the University of Oregon where he earned his Ph.D. in math. During that time he also taught some undergraduate courses and equated teaching with theater.

“I think that designing a course is a lot like directing—you need to understand who your audience is, what they are hoping to get out of your course, and what past experience they will bring to the classroom that will influence how they receive the course,” he said.  

“Once you understand that, you have to design lessons, activities, homework, exams, etc. in a way that meets them where they are, provides a smooth journey where you try to get their attention to the important bits, and finally takes them where you want them to be,” added Fisette.

Fisette is now an actuary in healthcare with Milliman Inc., a global actuarial consulting firm. The company performs consulting work for clients such as private insurers, state governments, federal agencies, and anyone who has a need for actuarial analysis in healthcare. 

“Primarily it is interesting being in a position to understand our healthcare industry from the perspectives of all stakeholders, to see what everyone’s concerns are, and to help them figure out how to manage the problem,” said Fisette.

 As Fisette thrives in his role with Milliman, he credits the faculty at LVC for guiding his way.

“Having now spent time at other universities, it is clear that not all professors at all colleges put the time, thought, and care into undergraduate teaching as do the faculty at LVC,” said Fisette. “This means more than just telling you the right information. I learned a lot about ‘how to learn,’ and this has been most valuable.”