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Aetna Looks to University Honors Program for Talented Student Interns


Posted 12/01/2015
Posted by Barbara Steinberger


L–r: Jairus “Jay” Baker ’17, Melissa Yellen ’16, Ron Campo ’80,  and Parnian Emami ’16 stand in front of the Aetna sign outside the company's headquarters in Hartford. Campo, a senior business consultant at Aetna, reached out to the University Honors Program when he was looking to recruit talented summer interns. Honors students Jay, Melissa, and Parnian were among those chosen for internships.

L–r: Jairus “Jay” Baker ’17, Melissa Yellen ’16, Ron Campo ’80, and Parnian Emami ’16 stand in front of the Aetna sign outside the company's headquarters in Hartford. Campo, a senior business consultant at Aetna, reached out to the University Honors Program when he was looking to recruit talented summer interns. Honors students Jay, Melissa, and Parnian were among those chosen for internships.

When Ron Campo ’80, senior business consultant at Aetna’s headquarters in Hartford, was look­ing for summer interns, he reached out to Donald Jones, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the University Honors Program.

Aetna has a large, structured internship program and a university relations team that recruits poten­tial interns. Campo, a member of the College of Arts and Sciences advisory board, knew that students in the honors program have commit­ted to do rigorous coursework and research, making them a good source of student talent.

“My previous experience with the honors program introduced me to many bright young people capable of taking on work assign­ments at Aetna,” Campo says. The relationship between Aetna and the University is one of several corporate partnerships that often lead to internships and employment for students.

“I initially was surprised by Mr. Campo’s interest in having honors students in diverse majors apply for internships and employment at Aetna,” says Jones. “Then I realized that they perfectly matched the desired skills: critical thinking, written communication, interpersonal relations, and time management.”

As a result of Campo’s query, communication majors Melissa Yellen ’16 and Parnian Emami ’16 completed internships at Aetna last summer, and both have continued working part time there during the fall semester. Jairus “Jay” Baker ’17, an economics and finance major in the University’s Barney School of Business, completed a summer internship in Aetna’s program for finance interns. He has been invited back for another internship in the summer of 2016.

Several recent graduates who were in the University Honors Program have been hired by Aetna for full-time positions. That’s a sign of the program’s growing reputation. In recent years, Univer­sity honors students have been invited to present their research at a highly selective national conference, have been accepted to top graduate programs, and have been offered good jobs. To graduate with University Honors, students must complete 18 credits of honors coursework as well as a senior project or thesis.

Melissa’s internship is in Campo’s department, Life Operations, in the area of worksite marketing. Her duties include researching promotional items and marketing tools for events like employee benefits fairs, to make sure they align with Aetna’s brand.

Parnian’s internship as an eligibility consultant is also in the Life Operations department. Her duties include researching policy documents to determine the eligibility of people who file claims. She also gets involved in event planning, which is one of the areas she would like to pursue after graduation.

Both Melissa and Parnian say they love the people and the culture at Aetna, which they describe as very caring and positive, and they appreciate the opportunity to work at a large corporation to see if it is a good fit for them.

“The experience I’ve gotten there is priceless,” Parnian says.

Jay was contacted about his internship by an Aetna recruiter through LinkedIn. He was accepted into Aetna’s finance internship program, which last summer included 35 interns from across the country.

Assigned to the Corporate Risk Management department, he did large-scale data analysis, particularly in the area of workers’ compensation. He will return to the program next summer, and after graduating in 2017, he may be offered a spot in Aetna’s three-year Financial Leadership Development Program.

Melissa, Parnian, and Jay have high praise for the University Honors Program, saying that they enjoy the small classes, challenging material, and the program’s emphasis on critical thinking and looking at things from different angles. They say the program has given them great preparation for the workplace, and Campo agrees.

“I plan to continue working with the honors program at the University of Hartford to tap into this pool of incredible talent,” Campo says. “Honors program interns have experienced great success working here, and we have benefited from their unique contributions and perspectives.”

L–r: Jairus “Jay” Baker ’17, Melissa Yellen ’16, Ron Campo ’80,  and Parnian Emami ’16 stand in front of the Aetna sign outside the company's headquarters in Hartford. Campo, a senior business consultant at Aetna, reached out to the University Honors Program when he was looking to recruit talented summer interns. Honors students Jay, Melissa, and Parnian were among those chosen for internships.

L–r: Jairus “Jay” Baker ’17, Melissa Yellen ’16, Ron Campo ’80, and Parnian Emami ’16 stand in front of the Aetna sign outside the company's headquarters in Hartford. Campo, a senior business consultant at Aetna, reached out to the University Honors Program when he was looking to recruit talented summer interns. Honors students Jay, Melissa, and Parnian were among those chosen for internships.