The STEM EE Scholars program has been a huge part of my freshman year. Underlining all of the requirements and activities with the program are The Ohio State University Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. While all facets of G.O.A.L.S. are important, I believe that the two most relevant to me and applicable to my future professional goals are Academic Enrichment and Leadership Development.
Like most Honors & Scholars students, I challenged myself all throughout high school with honors and AP classes. I always wanted to take the hardest classes and pack as much knowledge as I could into my brain. When I joined the actuarial science club here at Ohio State, even as a freshman with a very small chance at getting an internship, I still went to the actuarial receptions and company presentations to learn as much as I could about my future profession and possible employers. As an actuary, that thirst for knowledge is imperative because of all the actuarial exams that you need to take. Even after I am an FSA (Fellow of the Society of Actuaries), I will always be looking for new ways to approach and solve problems.
Beyond pushing my education to the limit, I want to learn skills that will help me succeed in the professional world. One of the most important of those skills is leadership. In high school, I was a captain on the varsity soccer and swim teams. I was also part of the group that helps at our high school freshman orientation. In my first semester at Ohio State, I have become involved with the actuarial science club, men’s water polo club, and WOW. In the actuarial science and water polo clubs, I am only a member because I am a freshman, but I definitely plan on holding leadership positions as I get older. Being a part of WOW, where I do science experiments with young children, has taught me patience and the skill of being able to simplify and explain concepts that others may not understand. I believe that being able to lead is a very important skill in the professional world and I look forward to finding a job that will allow me to showcase my skills and give me opportunities for promotions.
Throughout my entire life, I have been very involved with sports, but my main two were soccer and swimming. During my junior year of high school, some guys from the swim team and I wanted to start a water polo club because all of the other schools in our conference had a team except for us and we wanted something to do during the spring season. We did everything that the administration told us we had to do. We got over fifty signatures of people saying that they were interested in joining and we found a teacher to sponsor the club, but the athletic and activities director turned us down. The next year, we did the same thing and got turned down again.
When I arrived at the Ohio State University, I knew that I wanted to stay involved in sports, whether it was club or intramural. I had never even thought about playing water polo here until the activities fair when I saw their booth. Even then though, I didn’t really want to join because it was a new sport to me and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I was excited to try it in high school because we were all going to learn together, but now I have no idea how good these players are. Despite my fear of being humiliated, a couple days later I went to my first water polo practice ever. I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t the the only one playing for the first time. Obviously there were some very talented players on the team, but I was glad I wouldn’t be struggling to learn the sport all alone. Throughout the semester, I got much closer with all of the guys on the team and my improvement was unbelievable. Now I am still definitely not a star, but by the time our conference tournament came around at the end of the season, I was one of the first players to come of the bench. Joining the water polo team was one of the best decisions that I’ve made here at Ohio State because it taught me to face my fears and try new things. The sport is a lot of fun and I cannot wait to see how much I improve in the next three years.
As a first year STEM EE Scholar, I was given the opportunity to help with the spectacular program, WOW (Wonders of Our World). I was very excited to be working with young children because this last summer I was a swim team coach and in charge of the 8 & Under age group. It was a lot of work, but I had the time of my life and loved all of their crazy personalities and learning the leadership skills and patience required when working with young kids. With WOW, every week I go with a few other Ohio State students to Columbus elementary schools to do science experiments and demonstrations with the students. The goal of the program is to travel to these schools that don’t have as many resources and to show the kids that science is fun and exciting.
I am have been helping with WOW for about a month now and I already love it. So far, I have worked with 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders, all of which require a lot of patience because they are all so eager to do the experiment and ask questions. Working with the kids and hearing their ideas is really fun and some of the things they have to say is really funny. In these weeks I have noticed that the imaginations of these young students are very much alive and I believe that is a major component in being successful in whatever you do. The excitement on the kids’ faces when they finally get their clay boat to float or when they guess what is in the mystery box is very rewarding. The leadership skills and patience that I have learned with WOW are both very important things to have in not only school and the business world, but also everywhere you go.
The content in my e-Portfolio is a collection of information about me and my experiences at The Ohio State University as a STEM EE scholars student. It will examine how I achieve the G.O.A.L.S. of the honors and scholars program through different STEM field events. Throughout high school, I studied hard and stayed active and involved. As I begin the next chapter of my life as an actuarial science student at The Ohio State University, I am excited to further both my knowledge and interests.
My name is Matthew Benge and I am from Downers Grove, Illinois which is a western suburb of Chicago. I am majoring in actuarial science and plan on either double majoring with finance or minoring in business and economics. I will be taking my first actuarial exam this spring and plan on passing at least two more by the time I graduate. In high school, I captained the swim team my junior and senior years. I also played soccer and tennis throughout high school. Four years ago I began lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons, eventually working my way up to pool manager. I also work for the Chicago Bears on the visiting locker room equipment crew. In my free time I like to hang out with friends and really do anything outdoors. I am continuing to stay involved by joining the Ohio State actuarial science club and the Ohio State men’s water polo club.