A Major Mix: Ben Smith ’19 Pursues Passion for Math and Music at LVC

Ben Smith is graduating from Lebanon Valley College with a double major in actuarial science and music.

Benjamin Smith ’19 was at Cumberland Valley High School when his class received a visit from Brad Leer, a 2016 LVC graduate. Leer gave Smith his first introduction to LVC and a possible career in actuarial science when he discussed his experience with both the Mathematical Sciences Department and the Music Department, singing in the choir and performing in the Wig and Buckle Theater productions. 

“I came to the LVC summer actuarial science camp for a week and absolutely loved it,” he said. “Dr. [Patrick] Brewer was wonderful and really helped me realize how good of a school this was for actuarial science. I also learned how important the Music Department was to LVC, which gave me an outlet there as well.”

It wasn’t long before Smith was on campus studying as a double major in actuarial science and computer science, with a minor in music. Yet he felt as if it was still missing something. That is when he met with Dr. Renee Norris, chair and professor of music, and they decided that he could double major in actuarial science and music

LVC became the perfect place for Smith to prepare for his career as an actuarial scientist, while also continuing to pursue the passion for music he has had since starting to play the saxophone in fifth grade.

“I found that it actually helped balancing my life out—I got to be both analytical and creative throughout the course of each day,” he said.

Over the course of his four years at LVC, Smith passed two actuarial science exams, completed two internships, and participated in numerous music ensembles and extracurricular opportunities. 

“Scheduling yourself and knowing when you have to do what and budgeting enough time to get all of your work done is important,” he said. “I kept telling myself that there is always a goal in sight–to get a job that will let me live comfortably and still be able to do what I love on the side.” 

Smith also appreciates the support he received from his professors and how they have helped him to take what he once thought was impossible and make it a reality. He said, “This was a group effort, whether others realize it or not, and I have become a better person for doing this double degree.”

After graduation, Smith will begin working as an actuarial analyst at Highmark Health in Camp Hill, Pa. He also hopes to work with local community theaters' orchestras and high schools where he can continue to pursue and teach music.