Modeling the Future: The 2023-24 Challenge Winners!

Posted May 8, 2024 by Miranda Marshall

Some truly outstanding, forward-thinking students made it to the finalist stage of the 2023-2024 Modeling the Future Challenge—and after a difficult deliberation process by our judges, the four winning teams were finally selected and announced at Friday night’s Closing Ceremony.

Read on as we delve into the exceptional projects of the winning teams, celebrating their impactful contributions toward modeling and developing solutions for complex societal issues. Plus, join us in a heartfelt round of virtual applause for the volunteers, sponsors, coaches, and fellow students whose dedication and support made this season such a resounding success!


Fourth Place: Team Risky Business

Sophia C., Anthony D., Derek D., Lindsey P., Heidy R.

Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science, Worcester, MA

Coach: Kristen Burns

Project Title: “Whether the Weather is Warm, Whether the Weather is Not, We’ll Weather the Weather Whether We Like it or Not”

Team Risky Business focused on the increasing risks faced by hikers on Mount Washington due to extreme weather events linked to climate change. Their comprehensive analysis integrated data from New Hampshire Magazine, Mount Washington Avalanche Center, and the Mount Washington Observatory. By examining six key weather conditions, including temperature, sunshine, precipitation, and wind speed, the team developed a model to assess the risk of death or injury to hikers. Their proposed solutions, such as a hiker check-in system and color-coded risk scales at trailheads, provided a reasonable and proactive approach to enhancing safety in outdoor recreational activities.


Third Place: Team TOTnuclear

Karina C., Maya F., Avnish K., Davis R., Tsubasa T.

Newton North High School, Newton, MA

Coach: Michele MacDonald

Project Title: “From Oasis to Opportunity. Replenish the Future.”

Team TOTnuclear tackled the decline in hydroelectric energy production at the Hoover Dam by applying advanced data analysis techniques. Using Facebook Prophet for forecasting, they predicted a significant drop in water volume by 2030, attributed primarily to overconsumption of water. Their recommendations emphasized encouraging water-saving practices in agriculture, promoting renewable energy alternatives like solar power, and exploring emerging technologies such as cloud seeding. These measures aim to mitigate the impacts of water scarcity on energy production and environmental sustainability.


Second Place: Team JALA

Jaden C., Audrey H., Aaroh T., Lillian W.

Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL

Coach: Paul Kim

Project Title: “Risk Analysis of the Causes of Food Deserts”

Team JALA examined the complex issue of food deserts, employing statistical modeling to predict food desert rates in Cook County and Illinois up to 2027. Their analysis highlighted unemployment, poverty, income, and traffic as primary factors influencing food desert prevalence. Leveraging Monte Carlo simulations, the team quantified risk mitigation strategies, including expanding supermarket accessibility in low-income areas, promoting healthier food options through SNAP, and supporting local farmer’s markets. These recommendations aim to address food insecurity and promote equitable access to nutritious food in underserved communities.


First Place: Team Calc

Diana T., Qi Z.

Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL

Coach: Qin Zhao

Project Title: “Fighting Diabetes: An Analysis of Risk and Solutions to America’s Diabetes Crisis”

Team Calc concentrated on the economic and health impacts of the rising diabetic population in the United States. Using a dynamic Markov chain model and Monte Carlo simulations, they projected future diabetic populations with remarkable accuracy. Identifying obesity and unhealthy lifestyle as top risk factors for type 2 diabetes, their recommendations included wellness programs by insurance companies, obesity management initiatives, and education campaigns to promote healthier lifestyles. Additionally, the team proposed other innovative interventions such as physical activity programs and stem cell therapy to combat the diabetes crisis effectively.


In addition to our four winning teams, we’d like to highlight two other special awards presented during the Closing Symposium: The Community Choice Recognition and the Helen Galt Educator Award.

Community Choice Recognition: The C-Team

Yeeva C., Rachel D., Ansa K., Sruthi V., Natalie X.

Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, Richmond, Virginia

Coach: Dickson Benesh

Project Title: “THESE FIRES BE WILDIN’: Risk Evaluation Wildfire Insurance Coverage in California”

The C-Team was awarded the Community Choice Recognition based on their video. Professionals in the actuarial community voted on which Finalist team explained their project in the most engaging way, and these students received certificates of recognition for their outstanding communication skills!


Helen Galt Educator Award: School Support Grant

Channy Cornejo

Santa Teresa High School, San Jose, CA

Channy received the first Helen Galt Educator Award for successfully guiding the most teams through the Project Phase—14 teams! Channy has been a long-time participant in Modeling the Future, has attended the teacher trainings, and has also shared her insights on how she implements MTFC in her classroom.

The coaches of the Top 4 winning teams, recognized above, also received this $1,000 award. Congratulations to our MTFC coaches, and thank you to all of them for their support throughout the Season.


The projects presented by the winning teams of the 2023-2024 Modeling the Future Challenge underscore the power of data-driven analysis and actuarial thinking in addressing complex societal challenges. From enhancing outdoor safety to promoting sustainable energy practices and combating health crises, these high school students exemplify the potential of future generations to spur positive change. Their work not only provides thorough and valuable insights into some extremely pressing issues, but also inspires action towards creating a more resilient and equitable future.

As we celebrate their achievements, we look forward to seeing what other impactful solutions emerge from future Challenge seasons! If you’re interested in learning more about how you and/or your students can get involved in the 2024-25 Challenge, visit the MTFC website for more information and resources: