Summer on the Hill Class of 2002
High School Attended: Brooklyn Technical High School
Undergraduate College/University: Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Actuarial Science/Finance
Daniel currently works at The Navigators Group Inc as a Business Actuary. His interests include traveling, baseball, cooking, and billiards.
Read his interview below!
What was your admissions process to Summer on the Hill like?
I barely remember this since this was almost 20 years ago! I vaguely remember going to a part of the Bronx which I have never been to before and walking through the beautiful Horace Mann campus. I remember taking the test (which I'm sure I aced), and interviewing with the staff and participating in group activities. I knew this was somewhere that I wanted to be because I loved school and wanted to learn. SOH seemed like an environment where everyone yearned to do that.
Was there a particular teacher or administrator who stands out for you?
Yes – Mrs. Julia Baez-Veliz. She was one of my most stalwart mentors and sponsors throughout my time at Summer on the Hill and beyond. She was an immense help in navigating the process of applying to independent schools, parochial schools, and specialized high schools in addition to the standard public school application process. During high school, she encouraged me to go to any prep course that SOH would offer including SAT prep and Regents prep. She also encouraged me to be a Mentor during the Summer program – I ended up doing that for 3 summers. When it came time to apply for college, we had the opportunity to go on college trips and she helped me navigate the college application process as well. Not only that, she knew me so well that it wasn’t only a matter of helping me get into any college, but one that would be an ideal fit for me. She was one of the best things to happen to SOH and had a significant positive impact on the lives of many students that came through its doors.
What would your adult self tell your young self about taking a leap of faith with Summer on the Hill?
It is absolutely worth the sacrifice. On Saturdays, I would wake up bright and early for a 6th day of school. During the summer, I would travel for three hours a day (an hour and a half each way), for 5 days a week via public transportation to get to SOH. However, SOH provided me with an enhanced education which catapulted me into one of the best public high schools in the nation and one of the best universities in the world. The program also gave me lifelong friendships and a network of successful professionals in many different industries.
What is your favorite memory at Summer on the Hill?
Nothing beat our annual trip to John Dorr. It was an experience where we were able to get out of the city, and be around nature. This overnight trip was a great bonding experience with our classmates. The cabins, activities, campfire, bug juice (those who know, know), the lore of the little green man, and countless other memories made up this experience that I will never forget. For the last two years, I have gotten the opportunity to relive this experience as an alumni. We hope more alumni can join us on the next trip!
What advice would you give current Summer on the Hill students?
Stay involved and keep in touch when you graduate! The resources that Summer on the Hill have to offer do not stop at graduation. As high school students, you can take advantage of classes to prepare you for standardized exams, and receive mentorship from Summer on the Hill alumni regarding the college application process, applying to scholarships, interview tips, and much more. Throughout college, you can take advantage of the alumni network for advice on careers, looking for internships, and resume help just to name a few. Take advantage of everything Summer on the Hill has to offer you.
Anything else you would like to tell us?
If you would like to learn more about what I do for a living, check out my interview on the Be An Actuary website: http://www.beanactuary.org/what/do/index.cfm?fa=Daniel-Fernandez. Feel free to explore the other areas of the website to learn what an Actuary is and does. As a Co-Founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Organization of Latino Actuaries, I would love to see more underrepresented groups in our profession! I am also the Treasurer of the Summer on the Hill Board of Trustees. I am privileged to have been a part of Summer on the Hill in some way, shape, or form for the last two decades!