Before the City Scholars program, hundreds of talented engineering students had to land competitive tech internships on their own. Leaders at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Grainger College of Engineering wanted to make it simpler for students to gain professional experience.
Since 2018, the program has provided over 250 internships at over 35 companies, with new companies joining the program each semester.
Brenna Conway, City Scholars’ Director of Engineering, said the program aims “to show students the great opportunities that are available to them in Chicago’s growing tech world and encourage them to build lifelong careers in this industry.”
At M1, we’re glad to partner with City Scholars. So, we want to share how this program expands the tech community by providing college students with real-world experience.
A partnership to strengthen future tech talent
City Scholars encourages students to gain skills through internships and projects. Juniors and seniors at Grainger apply for exclusive internships, where they spend the semester living, working, and studying in Chicago. The program runs during the fall and the spring semesters, so opportunities are available year-round.
We’re a little biased, but we believe Chicago is one of the best tech hubs in America. So, the opportunity to partner with City Scholars was a great fit — and its team felt the same.
“M1 is an example of the exact kind of growing Chicago company we want to support through the City Scholars program,” said Brenna. “Their willingness to do something new and engage directly with the University of Illinois to build talent pipelines shows they are serious about early talent and attracting top students.”
City Scholars interns at M1
Our team is lucky to work with two interns, Eva Liu and Jessica Huang, who have done great work in their time at M1. Let’s hear what a typical day looks like for each intern.
Eva Liu, Engineering Intern
At M1, Eva works on the backend engineering for Spend. She’s currently leading the effort to add engineering support on the backend for codes associated with promotions and referrals.
“Instead of working on an isolated intern project, I have the opportunity to work directly with a wonderful team of engineers and complete tasks from the same backlog that my full-time coworkers are also working on.”Eva Liu
Eva shared that “even as an intern, I’m able to develop services that directly affect customers and am trusted with a lot of responsibility in my team. I love how I’m continuously challenged to grow as an engineer but also given the support and autonomy so I never feel overwhelmed by my work.”
Jessica Huang, Product Intern
Jessica starts most days with a standup meeting, where her team talks about their progress and develops a plan for the day.
“One meeting that I find helpful is the Android video club. It’s kind of like a reading group. We watch a video together and talk about its potential application in the project. It’s been really helpful for me.”
Her daily routine consists of working on product tickets. “During the first half of the week, I worked on the ETF page redesign. I was the only one working on this, so I was able to manage my time how I saw fit and get familiar with the codebase.”
How interns take control of their careers
Our goal at M1 is to help everyone feel empowered to do their work. We want our interns to come away with the skills and knowledge to jump start their careers.
Jessica benefited most from learning the Model-View-View Model (MVVM) schema and Android development knowledge, as well as growing her communication and organization skills.
“I would definitely recommend M1. It’s really helpful for students who need hands-on experience as software developers. People are always willing to help, and you can learn a lot here.”Jessica Huang
Eva’s major takeaways included:
- Learning how to code in Scala
- Understanding how event-streaming and CQRS work
- Developing financial literacy and well-being skills through employee workshops
“One thing I love about M1 is that even though the company is growing extremely fast, all the teams are still quite small and very close-knit. They’ve been very good at keeping the team sizes small enough to ensure that everyone is comfortable and doing their best work.”
Supporting careers in tech
Whether it’s through the City Scholars program or full-time careers, our team is committed to supporting and fostering top tech talent.
To learn more about City Scholars, explore the companies they work with and the success students have seen in the program.
- Team and Culture