One small program, three great grads: Constantina Nicolopoulos, Guillaume Proulx-Cabana and Kristen Gervais-Andrade 

By Michael Keegan

Guillaume Proulx-Cabana, Constantina Nicopoulos and Kristen Gervais-Andrade. Magnifying glass

Guillaume Proulx-Cabana, Constantina Nicopoulos and Kristen Gervais-Andrade.

The Actuarial Mathematics Co-op Program at Concordia is an intense, 90-credit, three-and-a-half year succession of alternating study and work terms. And only the best applicants are admitted to the Minor in Finance. Of those graduating from this exclusive group in 2010, three have distinguished themselves.

Constantina Nicolopoulos, Guillaume Proulx-Cabana and Kristen Gervais-Andrade all performed exceedingly well in both their study and work terms, but each brought something special to their achievement.

Nicolopoulos performed at a high level, graduating with a 3.94 GPA while still finding time to contribute to the local Greek community. For over three years, she’s done volunteer work for the Shield of Athena, an organization that shelters and supports battered women, many of them with children. Her work included fundraising at annual silent auctions.

“It’s very fulfilling,” she says. “It helped me get through the last three years. It kept things well-balanced. It’s important to stay well-rounded, to have something to turn to when you’re stressed or studying too hard.”

Proulx-Cabana also believes in maintaining an equilibrium, in his case between the intellectual and the physical. He’s graduating with a 4.13 GPA, the highest in the actuarial co-op program for 2010, which he managed while reading 70 to 80 novels a year, in French, mostly classics. He balanced this with 2 or 3 games in a recreational COSOM hockey league, and 3 or 4 visits to the gym, each week.

“The best thing that happened while I was here,” he says, smiling, “was the opening of the new sports facility in the EV Building.”

Gervais-Andrade seems less concerned with balance than sheer efficiency. By the end of June, the 23-year-old will know whether he has passed the last of ten exams required to become a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS).

The CAS website says recent statistics show that, on average, it takes approximately eight-and-a-half to ten years to become a Fellow.

While CAS doesn’t formally track such things, the best information they have is that the last and only time another person ever made Fellow so young was… in 1928.

“I’m very goal-oriented,” says Gervais-Andrade, who often studied ahead of course material. “I didn’t expect to always pass them. But when you do, confidence builds, and I kept going.”

All three grads praised the program for its affiliation with a wide array of companies and the invaluable opportunity it provides students to combine theory with practical experience, while earning money and meeting prospective employers. All three worked closely together, especially during their third-year finance courses, and appreciated how students in the program both challenged and supported one another.


Concordia University