Based on a competitive selection process, nine OM&IS students will become NIU-Discover Campus Innovators this coming summer. The team of students will work as part of the code_orange program on NIU’s campus.
The Campus Innovator position is similar to a paid internship. Selected students are charged with helping to develop new technologies for the company by collaborating with Discover representatives and with other selectees from various NIU majors.
“Thanks to the outstanding leadership of Chang Liu, chair of the Department of OM&IS, we’ve brought a new set of competencies at the intersection of technology and project management to the team in the Discover program,” says NIU College of Business Dean Balaji Rajagopalan. “Discover places high value on SCRUM methodology. Our course offerings provide OM&IS students with exposure to this methodology. Additional specialized workshops enhance the competency level of our students so that they are able to apply SCRUM to code-orange projects.”
SCRUM is a framework for managing projects in wide use in the software development context. In fall 2018, the Department of OM&IS launched its first SCRUM workshop. To date, more than 25 OM&IS students have successfully completed the coursework. Several of those students were subsequently interviewed and selected by Discover, and nine signed on for the on-campus code-orange program.
“The OM&IS students will use their knowledge of SCRUM to coordinate with NIU’s computer science students who have also been selected by Discover to help research and develop new digital solutions for the company,” Liu says. “Many congratulations go to OM&IS instructor Federico Bassetti for delivering such a high value-added experience to our students.”
The students echoed Liu’s appreciation for Bassetti’s instruction and also expressed excitement about participating in the code-orange project.
“I’m grateful to professor Bassetti for continuously seeking improvement from his students,” says Christopher Zamora, a junior OM&IS major. Zamora also carries a minor in business analytics and intends to pursue SAP certification.
“Professor Bassetti displayed exceptional commitment to our success. It’s truly a privilege to be selected and to represent NIU,” Zamora adds. “I look forward to applying what I learned during the SCRUM independent study. I also look forward to collaborating with students from different academic backgrounds, such as NIU’s computer science students.”
Junior OM&IS major Laurette Cornwell shares Zamora’s sentiment. Cornwell is also on track to earn a minor in data analytics and business analytics. “It was an honor to be selected,” Cornwell says. “I’m really looking forward to collaborating with Discover professionals, OM&IS students and computer science students. This is an amazing way to learn from one another and to build upon our teamwork and leadership skills.”
For Discover’s part, among the company’s many goals is to view this initiative as a way to highlight their company culture of innovation and collaborate with the diverse and talented students of NIU.
“This is truly a powerful win-win for all parties,” Rajagopalan says. “Through the Discover-NIU collaboration, our students will apply their learning in a highly focused and creative group-based, on-campus paid internship. Their energies will cross boundaries into a variety of academic disciplines for the purpose of identifying value-added solutions to a leading company in the U.S. financial services sector.”
by Michelle De Jean, director of marketing, NIU College of Business