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MCFAM Instructors

Aileen Conlon Lyle

Aileen Conlon Lyle

MAAA, FCAS; MCFAM Actuarial Lecturer & Academic Advisor

Ms. Lyle is responsible for teaching actuarial classes for MCFAM, as well as advising actuarial students on academic issues and providing career counseling. She is also involved in developing partnerships with the actuarial business sector. Ms. Lyle has over thirty years of actuarial expertise in the property/casualty and health insurance industries. She has worked for Milliman, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Travelers Companies, and CNA. She has extensive experience in pricing, product development, reserving and financial forecasting for both property/casualty and health insurance products. She is a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries and a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society. She has a Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She is a board member for several non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities, and is a commissioner for the city of Woodbury, MN.

Arkady Shemyakin

Arkady Shemyakin

Affiliated Faculty and MFM Instructor

Arkady Shemyakin has a M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Novosibirsk State University and Sobolev Institute of Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences. He worked in Russia prior to 1993, when he moved to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. His field is mathematical and statistical methods in applications to finance, insurance, and engineering. He teaches classes in evening programs at the U of M since 2006. Arkady also does research and consulting, most recently in the fields of Bayesian statistical analysis, copula models, and Markov chain Monte Carlo.

Breanne Richins

Breanne Richins

FSA and MCFAM Senior Actuarial Program Specialist

Breanne Richins is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. Prior to joining MCFAM she worked at Securian Financial Group as an Associate Actuary for 10 years. Ms. Richins has broad actuarial experience including individual life pricing and product development, economic valuation of liabilities and actuarial modeling of new and existing products. She received her Bachelor degree in Statistics with an emphasis in Actuarial Science from Brigham Young University. She teaches Theory of Interest and Actuarial Mathematics in the University of Minnesota’s Actuarial Mathematics program.  She also advises actuarial students on their careers and research projects and supports actuarial program development within MCFAM.

Carlos Tolmasky

Carlos Tolmasky

MCFAM Assistant Professor

Dr. Tolmasky was part of the founding team of industry practitioners and academics who developed the Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) program within MCFAM. His research focus is Mathematical Finance.  Prior to his full time appointment at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Tolmasky was a derivatives trader at Cargill Petroleum. He joined Cargill in 1996 as a member of their Research Group focusing on the development and implementation of derivatives models for fixed income and commodities markets. He later joined the petroleum group as a "desk quant" and, more recently, as a derivatives/relative value trader. He holds an undergraduate degree (Licenciado) from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD in mathematics from the University of Washington.

Christ Bemis

Chris Bemis

Affiliated Faculty and MFM Instructor

Chris is a Sr. Portfolio Manager - Quantitative Equity for Whitebox Advisors, working primarily on equity market modeling outside of the United States. He is also an active researcher for the Whitebox quantitative group, where he works on varied problems in the context of equity, derivative, and fixed income strategies.

Dr. Bemis earned his PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Minnesota. His thesis work involved both modeling and optimization for portfolios of risky assets.

Christopher Prouty

Christopher Prouty

Exotics Trader-Cargill and MFM Instructor

Exotics Trader at Cargill and serves as the instructor for FM 5091/5092: Computation, Algorithms and Coding in Finance

Chris began his financial career as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis. Since graduating from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Applied Economics, Chris has worked in commodities and insurance, in roles focusing on trading and risk management through derivative strategies. Chris currently works for Cargill, where he is an exotic derivatives trader. During college and shortly thereafter Chris operated a small software consulting firm, CP Consulting. He has completed freelance software development projects for Twin Cities firms, including the University of Minnesota Foundation and ACR ATI, a firm which offers employee testing services to the health care industry.

Doreen Vescelius

Doreen Vescelius

MCFAM Actuarial Program Specialist & Academic Advisor

Doreen Vescelius is responsible for coordination and instruction of a writing intensive practicum course for MCFAM students, in collaboration with the local actuarial community. She supports actuarial students as an advisor on academic and career issues and mentors the Travelers Case Competition team. Ms Vescelius is a veteran of the program through the University of Minnesota School of Mathematics, having  graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Actuarial Specialization in 2012. Her path to academics included a three decade detour, through the world of complex chronic health management and extensive work with young people, including supervisory work in the Richfield School district and seven years as Advancement Chair for Boyscout Troop 84. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in statistics and public health, in alignment with strong commitment to development of capable actuarial graduates and personal research interests.

Gary Hatfield

Gary Hatfield

Affiliated Faculty and MFM Instructor

Dr. Hatfield is an Actuary for Securian Financial Group in St. Paul (the parent company of Minnesota Life Insurance Company). The focus of his work is financial risk management. He is a key leader in Securian’s risk management function, and serves on the company’s most senior risk committee. He plays a key oversight role in Asset Liability Management and Hedging as well as the development of those functions. In addition, Gary dedicates much of his time to innovation initiatives such as Data Analytics. He earned his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota where he continues to be involved at the School of Mathematics as an Assistant Professor and an Advisory Board Member for MCFAM (Minnesota Center for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics). Dr. Hatfield is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries <https://www.soa.org/member/>, a member of the American
Academy of Actuaries <http://www.actuary.org/> and is also a CFA charter holder. Previous to entering the insurance field in 1998, he taught College Mathematics in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Jason Vinar

Jason Vinar

MFM Instructor

Jason Vinar is Director of Two Harbors Investment Corporation, focused on investing, financing and managing residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and related investments. Two Harbors is a Pine River Capital Management company.

Throughout the course of his career he has also been involved in mathematical modeling and programming, platform architecture and data management. Prior to Two Harbors Jason was a Financial Engineer at Ameriprise Financial in the Quantitative Strategies Group. There he worked in a team involved in the design, development and implementation of financial applications and hedging platforms for the variable annuity living benefit riders within Ameriprise Financial. Previously Mr. Vinar was also Partner at Castle Peak Capital Advisors where he was responsible for model development and implementation for residential mortgage related products. He was also an Analytics Manager for the PIA unit at GMAC-ResCap. In this capacity he was responsible for managing the trading analytics and risk management functions of the PIA. Prior to that, he was Project Lead/Lead Developer for Financial Engineering projects in the Risk and Value Analytics group of GMAC-ResCap. Jason holds a Master's degree in Financial Mathematics from the University of Minnesota and Bachelor's degrees, in Mathematics and Economics, from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.

John Dodson

John Dodson

MFM Instructor

John is Vice President, Quantitative Risk Management at the Options Clearing Corporation in Chicago, which is the principal central counterparty for equity derivatives. Previously, John was with the treasury and investment risk management departments of Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis. Prior to returning to the midwest, John worked for several major international banks in New York, London, and Zurich. He entered the industry out of college with an appointment at the Bank for International Settlements.

John is an Adjunct professor with MCFAMs Master of Financial Mathematics (MFM) program. In addition to his affiliation with MCFAMs MFM program, John has taught about financial derivatives for the Carlson School of Management and for various industry programs.

John has a BS degree in physics and mathematics from Stanford and an MS degree in computational finance from Carnegie Mellon. John's affiliation with the U of M goes back to the 80's. He was an UMTYMP student and also participated in a mentorship program with the head of the physics department during his high school years.

Kaisa Taipale

Kaisa Taipale

MCFAM Assistant Professor

Kaisa Taipale is a mathematician with interests from the math of string theory to applications in climate and finance. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a PhD in algebraic geometry in 2010, Dr. Taipale taught at St. Olaf College for two years then visited the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, CA, and Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, during the 2012-2013 academic year. With MCFAM Dr. Taipale is leading student research projects in stress testing as well as the intersection of finance and climate.

Katherine Kovarik

Katherine Kovarik

MCFAM Assistant Professor

Dr. Katherine Kovarik teaches actuarial and financial mathematics courses for MCFAM.  Before joining MCFAM full time,  she taught Mathematics as an Adjunct Professor for the past 12 years at a variety of Universities including the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and Pace University in New York City.  Katherine has also worked in the fields of risk management as well as a staff economist.  She was with Merrill Lynch in New York City from 1999-2003 as Vice President of Market Risk Management covering Equity Derivatives and prior to that in the Equity Derivatives Product Control area.  She worked as a Staff Economist in the Energy Group at Christensen Associates in Madison Wisconsin from 1995-1997.  She has a PhD in Mathematics Education from Columbia University (2008), a Master of Science in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1999) and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Michigan (1995).

Instructors

Thomas Schwartzbauer

MCFAM Teaching Specialist

Tom Schwartzbauer is a Teaching Specialist at the University of Minnesota. He teaches Theory of Interest in the Actuarial Science Program, and also works with the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program (UMTYMP). He received his B.S. in Mathematics from Notre Dame, and his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. He retired from The Ohio State University after teaching Mathematics for 25 years. His major interests outside of Mathematics are classical music, as well as German and Austrian culture, literature and language.

Andy Mack

Andy Mack

MFM Instructor

Andy Mack is Head of Model Risk Oversight with Wells Fargo Audit Services. For the last five years, he has led the oversight and review responsibilities for model risk across the enterprise. This includes review of the entire inventory of models, model risk management, model governance, and model development from a quantitative and an audit perspective. 

Prior to his time with Wells Fargo, Andy worked at US Bank for eight years where developed several classes of models, including AMA operational risk and market risk VaR models; he was responsible for model validation and governance and operational loss data; and he built out and led a new financial risk oversight function, which oversaw the bank’s market risk, counterparty credit risk, interest rate risk and liquidity risk management functions.

Andy has an MBA in Finance from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, a PhD in Ocean Physics from the University of Rhode Island, and a BS in Physics from the University of Minnesota. His interests include competing in triathlons and cross country skiing and coaching and sponsoring youth athletics, robotics and STEM programs.

Helena Zarin

Helena Zarin

MFM Instructor

Dr. Zarin earned her PhD in mathematics from the University of Novi Sad, Serbia. Prior to joining MCFAM in 2018 she worked as a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Informatics, Faculty of Sciences, at the University of Novi Sad. In 2001-2003 she was a Research Assistant at Dresden University of Technology, Germany. Her research interests include numerical analysis of PDEs with special emphasis on models from financial mathematics, evolutionary biology, chemical kinetics, heat transfer, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. She has diverse experience in education at all university levels, including mentoring two PhD theses in applied mathematics.

Drenska

Nadejda (Nadia) Drenska

MCFAM Postdoc
Nadia is a native Bulgarian.  She moved to the US to attend Brown University and graduated in 2012 with BSc Mathematics Honors, and BSc Applied Mathematics Honors. She recently obatined her PhD from the Courant Institute, NYU, under the supervision of Dr. Robert V. Kohn. Her thesis work involves PDE applications to repeated two person games.  She is now a MCFAM Postdoc in the School of Mathematics.  Her research interests include viscosity solutions of PDEs, optimal contral theory, and applications to machine learning.
Pritam Dalal

Pritam Dalal

MFM Instructor

Pritam Dalal is one of our very own graduates of the MFM. Prior to that, he earned his Bachelors in Mathematics and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Over the course of his career in finance, Pritam has worked in a variety of trading and analysis roles at firms such as Cargill, Wolverine Trading, and Allianz Investment Management. A common thread running through all of his work has been data-driven analysis, coupled with the ability to communicate those findings to fellow decision makers. These skills have been applied to areas ranging from volatility trading in commodity markets, to equity option market-making, and hedging complex annuities.

In addition to teaching in the MFM, Pritam consults on projects that lie at the intersection of data science and quantitative finance.