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Eastern Students Intern with Cigna via On-Campus Partnership

Published on February 03, 2020

Eastern Students Intern with Cigna via On-Campus Partnership

TECDP interns (front to back) Sergio Armenta, Juan Matiz and Liz Tucker at work in Cigna's on-campus lab.

Several Eastern Connecticut State University students are participating in a unique internship with Cigna through the health services company's on-campus Technology Early Career Development Program (TECDP). Cigna created the program to provide interns--and potential future employees--with opportunities to gain experience in the biz-tech fields of information technology (IT).

Cigna TECDP interns, top row (left to right): Sergio Armenta, Juan Matiz and Jafet Aparicio Santos. Bottom row: Donna Nguyen, Liz Tucker and Justin Navarra.

One of this year’s interns, Jafet Aparicio Santos ‘22 of Durham, NC, who majors in computer science and mathematics, noted how much his skillset and knowledge has grown since beginning the internship. “I've been working with cloud-computing software, which is new to me and something I've been learning from the start of the program,” he said. “I've also gained the skills to work better with a team since a lot of what I do requires multiple people working toward a similar goal – communication between us is crucial. It's something that I have gotten better at, along with going out of my way and asking for help when I need it.”

To become an intern in the TECDP program students must complete an on-campus interview with Cigna representatives and be selected by the company to join the program. Interns are able to explore various positions in the company to find roles that best match their skillset and career goals.

"Working with Cigna has been a fantastic opportunity," said Justin Navarra ‘20 of Clinton, who majors in business information systems and has been working on the Global Partner Solutions team as a business analyst. "The overall atmosphere at Cigna is something that really stands out. Full-time employees are always willing to help answer questions or share expertise and it makes me feel welcomed and glad to be a part of such a wholesome company."

Some interns who are completing their last semester at Eastern have already accepted full-time positions with Cigna to begin after graduation. Such is the case for computer science major Sergio Armenta ‘20 of Waterbury, who has worked as an application developer on the Engineering team. Looking to his future career, Armenta is glad that he's able to intern at Cigna, as he hoped to graduate from Eastern with two years of professional experience--a goal that he will achieve with this internship.

Donna Nguyen ‘20 of Windsor, a business information systems major, has also been offered a full-time position at Cigna, as a TECDP senior analyst, upon graduation. “I will continue working at Cigna full time, but I will most likely have a different role,” said Nguyen, who has been working as developer on the Systems Integration Delivery team during the internship. “What's amazing about the TECDP program is that it allows me to explore my interests through the option of changing my position so that I can see what I do and don't like.”

Cigna's TECDP was established on Eastern's campus in 2011. It allows students to participate in an intensive internship on campus and gain professional IT experience while simultaneously earning their degrees and recieving mentorship by Cigna staff. Since the program's inception, dozens of students have completed the TECDP and moved onto full-time Cigna employment.

Written by Vania Galica