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Albernie Ferguson ′09

Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Major: Math
Fun Fact: Albernie is obsessed with finding the perfect popcorn and is always searching for just the right amount of crunch and flavor.

What are you involved with at Rhodes?
I have been involved in a lot over my four years at Rhodes, but presently I am the Fundraising Chair for the Senior Class Council and a Rhodes Student Associate for the Bonner Scholars Program. I’m also a part of the RedHotz dance team here at Rhodes. I’m especially proud of my involvement on the Senior Class Council. The money we raise will go toward better networking events and class socials.

What has defined your college experience?
It has most definitely been the process of securing an internship at Mercer Health and Benefits. It’s amazing how it all came about. In January 2007, I began inquiring about alumni who were actuaries. Apparently I’m the first one to express that interest so we didn’t have an established program. After Career Services mentioned to me that Chad Dawkins, Rhodes Class of 2000, is an actuary at Mercer Health and Benefits, they gave me two pieces of advice:

- Keep your ears open because he sometimes comes to campus to give lectures

And

- Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there

After one of Mr. Dawkins’ lectures on campus, I took Career Services’ advice and got up the nerve to introduce myself to him. After I gave him my resume, he told me that they weren’t accepting applications at the time, which left me feeling discouraged. Much to my surprise, a month later, I received an email from Mercer Health and Benefits. They wanted me to interview for an internship, and I hadn’t even applied for the position! I’m so glad I put myself out there and made myself vulnerable; it really worked to my benefit.

How did the interview go?
Well, things just kept getting better and better. They offered me a job on the spot! I was so unprepared for that. I have never been so surprised. And to make matters even better it was a paid internship, which helped me cover the cost of taking several expensive actuarial exams.

After the summer was over, they asked me to work during the school year as well. I was hesitant at first because I have so many commitments here on campus, but they worked around my schedule. I worked one day a week and they gave me a 24-hour pass so I could come and work on the weekends when I had more free time.

Now that the internship is over, are you still interested in pursuing a career as an actuary?
This is exactly what I want to do, and after my internship experience I feel confident that I can do it. I’m currently working on passing the actuarial exam and have over a year of job experience. I know what I want to do and I’m going to keep persevering until I get there.

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