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Empowering Future Engineers: The Impact of City Scholars at DRW

The Grainger College of Engineering’s City Scholars program connects University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students with various tech opportunities in Chicago. Through a continued partnership, students like Fernando have received both internship and full-time opportunities at DRW. Learn about Fernando’s journey below.

What is the City Scholars program?

The City Scholars Program is a co-op program that allows students from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to work part time as software engineering interns for Chicago-based companies while still being full-time students. DRW is one of the flagship companies that consistently participates in this program and has done so for the past five years. We have seen great success with converting our interns into full-time employees through this program.

What is your relationship to the program?

I was a City Scholars intern at DRW in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. Thanks to the City Scholars program, I made a seamless transition to a full-time role as a software engineer at DRW in 2022. Now, I help with our team’s recruitment process by attending career fairs on campus and spearheading the interview process. I also have the privilege of managing many of the interns we recruit through this program.

What type of work is managed by the interns (projects, etc.)?

City Scholars currently work under the Exchange Data – Market Data team. Interns capture, store, curate, and index real-time market data activity to nanosecond precision from over 100 financial exchanges. Our data is not only high resolution, but also spans over a decade. They also contribute to the tools and services that help users firmwide to query our datasets and expose insights in a fast manner. Our hope is for interns to complete tasks that we would expect of our full-time developers. They work closely with experienced software engineers on their tickets and on the production systems they oversee. Our goal is that they deploy production code throughout the internship and have a legitimate impact on the firm.

Having served in both intern and managerial roles, I have both received and conveyed feedback provided by our end users. My journey in the program is truly a testament to its benefits.

What excites you about the future of this partnership?

I am excited that DRW remains a long-standing and consistent sponsor to this program. City Scholars value to the firm is evident in the ongoing success of new graduate conversions who have consistently proven to be outstanding engineers on their respective teams since our partnership.

As the Discovery Partners Institute (the organization running City Scholars) and University of Illinois build a new campus in Chicago over the next few years, I would say I, and other past, current, and future City Scholars, are on the ground level of something that will be very well-renowned in the future as a tech talent pipeline.

Personally, I am just excited to see, teach, and manage new and returning intelligent interns year-round, who are very eager to dig into our projects and services. They truly do support and alleviate our technical work, and bring fun and entertaining elements into the workplace.