While growing up in Homer Glen, Illinois, Ally Brehm ’17 would often say, “If I could get paid to do math all day, that would be awesome.” Then she saw a presentation on actuarial science in the spring of her senior year in high school, and knew what she wanted to do.
Rolf Zersen, MSOE women’s soccer head coach, first flagged Brehm as a prospective Raider after seeing her play in a soccer tournament. When Brehm got his invitation to visit MSOE, she admitted she had never heard of the school. She took a tour, did some research and was impressed with the university’s reputation, smaller class sizes and high placement rate. She liked Milwaukee, too.
When she learned that MSOE started offering an actuarial science degree, the deal was sealed—she would be among the first to participate in the program. MSOE gave Brehm her major, an awesome scholarship, and the opportunity to play college soccer. “I thought, well, this is fate,” said Brehm.
She began training with the women’s soccer team the summer before her freshman year. “The team is like one giant family. We’re all very close,” she said.
Her four years as number 15 produced some of her fondest memories and proudest accomplishments. In the 2015 season, the women’s soccer team competed in the NACC Tournament and won its first-ever championship in an overtime goal. The conference title earned a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The team took the title again her senior year.
Between soccer and academics, Brehm found time to join sorority Lambda Zeta Nu. Being busy was something she was used to. However, she said Zersen would give the team days off when he noticed how busy everyone was.
Brehm also appreciated the support from her professors. Being among the first in the new actuarial science program made her feel like a pioneer of sorts. But she praised the math and business professors who worked hard to develop the program—and Dr. Yvonne Yaz, program director. “We were like her babies. She poured so much of her time and effort in making sure we had the support we needed,” said Brehm. “She was a big help and really awesome throughout the whole experience.”
The summer before her senior year, Brehm secured an internship with Allstate Insurance—and a job offer. She credited her professors for making accommodations so she could prepare for the rigorous professional exams required by the actuarial science field. Brehm now works as an actuarial analyst for Allstate’s Encompass Insurance Company in a casual, “millennial-ish” office in downtown Chicago. Her Raider bonds, however, frequently draw her back to MSOE and Viets Field to watch soccer.