Student wins national Actuarial Diversity Scholarship

Ilya DaCosta
Ilya DaCosta

A leap of faith into an unknown major turned into an academic reward for Florida State University student Ilya DaCosta.

DaCosta, a senior from Jensen Beach, Fla., won the prestigious Actuarial Diversity Scholarship for his outstanding achievements in the field of actuarial science.

The Actuarial Diversity Scholarship began in 1977 to recognize minorities who are successful in actuarial science fields. This annual scholarship is awarded to African American, Hispanic and Native North American students around the nation to further fund their education and pursue their dreams in actuarial science regardless of financial status.

DaCosta, who is double majoring in actuarial science and music, was one of only 39 students to receive this award across the country.

“I would say getting this scholarship felt validating,” DaCosta said. “It’s taken a lot of effort and long hours to get this far. I know how fortunate I am to be receiving this award, and for that I’m grateful.”

DaCosta’s love for actuarial science came from a talent in math and a great opportunity FSU had to offer.

“How I got into actuarial science was actually by chance,” DaCosta said. “I came to FSU solely as a music major, but immediately started taking math courses because I already had quite a few credits. When I was reading about the different math majors, actuarial science seemed to fit.”

After discovering he was well versed in both art and science, DaCosta won the scholarship for going above and beyond in his studies. DaCosta has passed two actuarial exams, kept a 4.0 GPA, tutored in the actuarial science program and completed an internship in the field.

“I liked the interdisciplinary nature of the field and the emphasis on application instead of research,” DaCosta said. I figured I’d try it and see how it goes. It’s been working out so far.”

In addition to his studies in actuarial science, DaCosta keeps his musical skills sharp by playing in multiple bands, most notably as the bass player for the Forward Quartet as. The modern jazz band has showcased their talent at local bars, radio and news stations.