Alumni | Profile
Anthony M. Miele ’81, Ph.D.
The Balanced Equation

From an early age, Anthony M. Miele remembers being interested in writing and mathematics, as well as the law. His mother, a homemaker, and his father, a court stenographer, both encouraged him to pursue his education—and it has become a lifelong passion. Before entering the doctoral program in mathematics education at Teachers College, Columbia University, he had already received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s degree in mathematics from New York University, his law degree from Brooklyn Law School, and a master’s degree in law from the University of London.

Anthony M. Miele ’81, Ph.D.

Miele, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, now works as assistant vice president at Crum & Forster, an insurance group based in New Jersey. Since earning his doctorate in 2014, he also volunteers as a peer reviewer, editing mathematics-related articles for Columbia University’s Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College. Before that, he was vice president and corporate counsel at Zurich North America and held in-house counsel positions at AIG and Royal Insurance.

“I was always a very academic type of person,” he said. “And I found Brooklyn Law School to be academically challenging. I also saw it as a valuable opportunity to diversify my career and my background.”

Miele admitted to having had some concerns about going back to the classroom in his 50s, while married, and with a mortgage. Surprisingly, he found his age to be an advantage. “Having more life experience,” he explained, “helped me a great deal in the classroom in terms of organization, discipline, and a sense of responsibility.”

He focused specifically on combining his professional corporate expertise in insurance law and insurance compliance with the psychology of teaching and learning mathematics.

“A lot of the issues I studied touched upon the human mind and how people learn,” Miele said. “Why are some people intimidated by mathematics, and why do a lot of people think they don’t like math? How can we make sure that educational opportunities in mathematics are available to all people? Age and gender should not predetermine one’s opportunity to explore mathematics.”

In his current position in risk management at Crum & Forster, he has opportunities every day to combine his legal experience with his love of numerical and mathematical concepts.

“What I like most about my job is the opportunity to be a proficient generalist,” he said. “My role involves so many things: preparation and revision of legal agreements relative to insurance programs, verifying data, negotiating and drafting policy wordings, underwriting audits, state filings, and a good deal of research.”

Balancing a busy professional career with his scholarly and personal pursuits comes naturally to Miele, who has successfully bridged two very demanding and seemingly disparate fields.

“I think it’s OK, even beneficial, to aspire to a career that is a little unusual,” Miele said. “In my case, I have combined two areas—mathematics and the law—that are, for the most part, very different. And I can say, from my own experience, there’s no better way of achieving both professional rewards and personal satisfaction than by following your dreams.”

—by Jen Swetzoff