Former Interns Land Full-Time Roles after Graduation with Insurance Giant
Since 2016 the State Farm internship program at The University of Texas at Dallas has provided opportunities for dozens of students to gain hands-on experience with a notable Fortune 500 company. Now in its fifth year, the partnership between the insurance giant and the University also has proved beneficial for the company, which has hired former interns in various full-time roles.
“Some of our most talented interns have come from UTD,” said Amanda Morgan, technology analyst and intern coordinator at State Farm. “Our organization embraces the intern program because we know the interns are going to be the future of this organization.”
Geared toward undergraduates interested in cybersecurity and software development, the program connects students with teams and mentors throughout the company’s local offices. Projects are assigned based on interest and experience.
Citlali Galera BS’18, now a software developer at State Farm, spent almost two years in the internship program’s enterprise technology sector. When school wasn’t in session, Galera worked at the company’s Richardson, Texas, office full time, giving her insight into post-graduation life.
“My full-time stints helped me get to know different managers in different areas within the company,” Galera said. “And I got to see the work-life balance firsthand. The work was interesting and challenging, but I wasn’t expected to put in extremely long hours or work on the weekends.”
With the ability to move between projects throughout semesters, Galera was also able to put her own stamp on State Farm’s growing information technology department.
“Interns definitely contribute to real working systems and things other employees or State Farm customers use,” Galera said. “The work we did felt impactful because it wasn’t dummy work; it’s what full-time employees worked on as well.”
“UT Dallas assists State Farm in helping students of all ages realize their dreams and their true potential. That is why the partnership is so beneficial to State Farm — because UTD is helping make the change we’re striving for.”
Amanda Morgan, technology analyst and intern coordinator at State Farm
Sam Hasan BS’20 began interning for State Farm when he was a freshman. He worked in the innovation lab space and even spent time at the company’s Silicon Valley office in the summer of 2019.
“It was a dream come true,” Hasan said.
During that summer in California, Hasan worked on a product called Sundial, now a fully developed mobile app that helps older adults live independently. It was a brand-new venture at the time, and Hasan was able to design and start the initial coding for the project.
In the fall of his senior year at UT Dallas, Hasan was offered a position as a software engineer with State Farm, where he is currently developing a tool to transform the way the company quotes customers. With years of internship experience under his belt, Hasan said he felt more comfortable transitioning into this role after graduating.
“It helped me develop personally,” Hasan said. “If I started full time with zero internship experience, I probably would have struggled a lot with getting adjusted. Interning changed my life.”
As the partnership between UT Dallas and State Farm has continued to evolve, so also has the program and its student interns, who currently work from home due to the pandemic.
Computer science senior Mariajose Plascencia has been an intern since spring 2019. The skills she has learned as part of the “auto existing” team have helped her navigate her coursework with more confidence and ease.
“Now that I’m taking higher-level classes, I feel a lot more comfortable because I’ve had more experience,” Plascencia said. “It’s helped me with my degree, as well as with my soft skills.
“State Farm is also really good at listening to their interns and tailoring the work to their interests. If I have a specific interest or want to explore certain areas, they encourage that.”
While UT Dallas graduates have experienced the tangible benefits of the internship program through the initiation of their careers at State Farm, the company also has seen its vision for the program come to life in the past five years.
“UT Dallas assists State Farm in helping students of all ages realize their dreams and their true potential,” Morgan said. “That is why the partnership is so beneficial to State Farm — because UTD is helping make the change we’re striving for.”
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 3,600 bachelors-degree students, more than 800 master’s students, 160Ph.D. students, 51 tenure-track faculty members, and 44 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2020. With the University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.