Mathematics Alumni in Computer Science and Software Development Careers

Edward Hakey '11

ed hakey I began my career with National Life in Montpelier, Vermont as a Corporate Actuarial Intern in September of 2010.  In the spring of 2011 I took a permanent position in Product Development as a Business Analyst working with and supporting the actuaries who price our Life Insurance products.  While working under the title of “Business Analyst”, I helped to lead an effort to rebrand our positions as “Actuarial Systems Analysts”.  Our day to day tasks focused on the testing and validation of the systems used to illustrate and administer our products.  While the actuaries were charged with developing the formulas used for calculation of premiums and charges of our products, my area was tasked with assuring that the formulas and calculations were properly implemented by developers on the systems.  This effort required the development of test plans and strategies as well as individual test cases and scenarios specific to the product and system being tested.

My experience testing in a product specific role lead to me being offered my current position as “Quality Assurance Lead” in the newly formed Business Delivery Office in early 2015.   The BDO as an organization offers such services as organizational design and opportunity, strategic roadmap development and planning, quality assurance, business analysis, project management, and process improvement.  As a part of the Quality Assurance team, I am heavily involved in the majority of software and testing related initiatives throughout the company as a whole.  We lead efforts to develop test strategy, planning, coordination, execution, and reporting on an individual basis as well as tailoring each of these to the specific needs of each project.

My time at Saint Michael’s College prepared me well for my career with National Life.  My background in mathematics and computer science allows me to think logically as well as analyze and mediate any risks to project delivery.  Much of my job requires me to communicate clearly and efficiently with IT Developers and Programmers as well as Business Users and Stakeholders.  This requires an extensive technical background and also the ability to keep up with the ever changing business trends of the Life Insurance industry.

For more information about me, Quality Assurance, or opportunities with National Life, please feel free to contact me at ehakey@nationallifegroup.com.

Eric Parziale '13

eric parziale

I just hit the 1 year mark in the Technical Analyst Program at Credit Suisse in New York City, and things are going great. I've learned quite a bit during my first tenure as an application developer, and I'm really enjoying the experience.

Right now I'm entering my second year as a member of the PrimeSwap IT team. We directly support the equity swap trading desk at CS, and it's a fast-paced, exciting environment with plenty of opportunities to grow. We interact with the traders on a daily basis, and it's a nice mix of application development and business analysis.

Within PrimeSwap, my primary role centers on development of the Swap Engine - A C# Windows service that calculates the cashflows owed between Credit Suisse and it's clients. Basically we take financial algorithms from the quants team and business requirements from the trading desk, and translate that into new swap trading products. Meanwhile, outside of Swap Engine dev, I play a large part in QA environment management, direct production support for the traders, and management/mentorship of our summer intern.

Looking back, I believe that Saint Michael's played an invaluable role in preparing me for this career. The culture and people at the college created an excellent place to learn and develop, and I think that environment really shaped me into the person I am today. Whether it was asking questions in small classes led by knowledgeable and passionate professors, engaging in the sports and activities on campus, or learning how to start a conversation while riding a chairlift at Smuggs, the unique balance of opportunities at SMC helped develop the social, technical, and soft skills necessary to excel.


Emily Pratt '12

emily pratt

I am currently working as a Proposal Design Consultant at National Life Group. National Life Group is a life insurance company located in Montpelier Vermont. I began working here over a year ago as the Product Development Actuarial Intern. I held that position for 7 months and then transitioned over to the job I hold today. I worked two days a week the Spring semester of my Senior year and began working full-time as soon as I graduated from Saint Michael's College. I still work closely with the Actuaries, but I don't work on creating the life insurance products like I did during my internship. Instead, I work on testing the software that we use to illustrate the life insurance policies. National Life is currently in the process of implementing a new Web Based Illustration System, so I have been kept busy keeping the current Illustration System maintained as well as working on the new System.

Saint Michael's really prepared me for life after college. By majoring in math, I developed the work ethic and analytic skills needed to succeed after college. Both of these skills have been very useful in my success as a Proposal Design Consultant. I also majored in economics which helped me in understanding how insurance works. Majoring in Mathematics and Economics at Saint Michael's College did a great job at preparing me for my career at National Life.


Kate Berry '09

I am a Customer Success Specialist in the Systems Engineering group at Avid Technology in Woburn, MA. I've been at Avid for a little over a year and I really love it. The product I support is called Interplay Media Asset Management (MAM for short), which is essentially a big database used to store video archives. There's a lot of customization involved at each site, which means they're all set up very differently, and one of the ways they're customized is via short pieces of code called workflows. They're written in a proprietary coding language, but it's really similar to some of the languages I learned at St. Mike's and a lot of the time when I'm troubleshooting an error for a customer, I start with the following the code in the workflow.

Most of our customers are big tv stations, like NBC, CBS, Supersport (in South Africa), Caracol (in Columbia), and M6 (in Paris) to name a few. The coolest thing I've gotten to do so far was work tech support for NBC Sports during the Sochi Olympics – my name was even in the credits. I work on issues for customers all over the world, so I talk to people in France, Germany, South Africa, Ukraine and Columbia (to name a few) on a fairly regular basis, which is also pretty awesome. Plus I work with a great group of colleagues, which I’ve found is extremely important.

My education at St. Mike's definitely provided a foundation to thrive in this industry. My double major enabled me to have a strong background in mathematics as well as computer science. Obviously, the CS background has helped when debugging code, but the logic I learned in my math classes has been key – you'd be surprised how many times errors are caused by improper use of parentheses. In addition, the Liberal Studies aspect of my education at St. Mike's has been extremely valuable. In today’s world, there is a shortage of technical people with the ability to express themselves to non-technical people. Between Liberal Studies requirements and peer tutoring, I left St. Mike's with all the necessary skills to work efficiently with both customers and engineers.


Claudette Foisy '09

claudette foisy

I currently work at MathWorks, a developer of technical computing software located in Natick, MA. MathWorks develops two main products, MATLAB and Simulink. I work as a technical writer for the MATLAB product, specifically with the graphics team. As a technical writer, I write user-focused content and develop examples to show how to use the software. Before working at MathWorks, I completed a Master's in Mathematics at Clarkson University where I worked as a research assistant and a teaching assistant.

My education at St. Mike's provided me with the strong mathematical background necessary for pursuing graduate school. The professors provided a great balance of pushing students to work hard while always being available for extra help outside the classroom. The extra push to work hard as an undergraduate has helped ease the transition to the heavy workload of graduate classes. My classes at St. Mike's also introduced me to the concept of using software to solve mathematical equations, which eventually led to the job I have now! One thing I will never forget about my experience at St. Mike's is the approachability, encouragement, and support I received from all the professors in the mathematics department.


Aaron Desrochers '04

aaron desrochers

Ever since I was introduced to algebra in sixth grade I started truly enjoying math. With mathematics you need to have a solid foundation in the fundamentals before you can begin to solve and really understand more complex problems. This same approach applies to all learning, but is never represented cleaner and more straightforward than with mathematical principles.

After I graduated in 2004 I didn't have a set plan in place for my career. Instead my wife Carolyn and I choose to save some money living with our parents for a few months and go on a tour of the country. Two months and 12,000 miles later we realized how much we both loved Vermont and we eventually made our way back up to Burlington to stay.

After searching for two weeks I got a job as a lab technician at Penro Specialty Compounding Pharmacy in Colchester Village. For the next three years one of my most important responsibilities was performing calculations to verify that each prescription's concentration was correct. Each formula was written first by the pharmacist and then checked for accuracy by the technicians. I was a "shoe- in" for the position because of my mathematics degree.

Eventually I left the lab to work for Data Systems Inc, a Burlington based Software Company that specializes in customized order fulfillment, accounting, and E-commerce solutions. The logical principals I acquired in my mathematics education have helped greatly in the transition to programming logic in PROIV, a fourth generation rapid application development language. My current job title is Software Developer / Administrator, but I have also taken over as bookkeeper and am learning the ropes of sales.

I truly believe that my mathematics degree from Saint Michael's has helped me stand out from the crowd at every job interview and has opened many doors for me already. My thanks go out the fantastically dedicated teachers at Saint Mike's who helped make this all possible!


Kimberly Corbeil Martens '85

My position is in Manager Software Development and Commercial Market IT Strategic Services for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Saint Michael's was great! The mathematics curriculum provided me with solid analytical thinking and problem solving skills that are very much required in the success of software development.


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