My name is Ryan Morgan and I am a senior at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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To shed some light on my collegiate life, I serve as the President of the Black Male Collegiate Society, mentor for the Necessary Steps and Big Brother Big Sisters programs, and the bursar’s assistant at the USFSCO office. As for my curricular life, I am seeking a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a concentration in software engineering. After finishing the spring semester here on campus, I went back home to prepare for my summer internship at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME Group).

The CME Group was my first internship, therefore I was really nervous and excited to get a taste of the corporate environment. On May 10, 2017, I attended my orientation, or bridge into my internship, where I met CME staff and the other interns. Ironically, I was the only one out of twelve other interns that attended an Illinois institution, as the majority of the group were from the University of Michigan. However, I am glad we were diverse in school selection because it provided the opportunity to meet new people, correlate each other’s collegiate experience and interests when college is over. Not only that, the management of the HR department gave us exquisite backpacks and other CME swag. They also gave us a tour of the immense building and the different departments. Overall, I found it very amazing that the company took the time and consideration to orchestrate such a warming welcome for us.

Within the first week, we were assigned to a team within the technology department, where we were introduced to our managers and the other engineers on the team. My work area was spacious and well equipped with the materials needed to make me feel comfortable, including a MacBook Pro. I was primarily a windows pc user beforehand, however having learned how efficient the mac is, my entire perception and selection of portable computers has changed.

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After getting settled in, I spent the mornings talking and shadowing the engineers on my team to gain stronger comprehension about what the team did, and how I would integrate with them. I attended a week-long training with the orientation team along with the other technology interns. I essentially learned the ropes of what software and applications were used by the technology department and how to utilize them within my project.

My project involved making an application using java that would turn a cacophony of HTTP Rest calls into a symphony of useful information that is more visually simple and human readable. In order to make this happen, I had to create a deserializer that turned front-end data (JSON file) into objects that would be legible for the back end to receive and do something with. After that, I took this java backend and connected it to a framework to display on a front-end browser. I really liked my project, because I learned tons of new java classes that I never knew before, and worked with a framework for the first time. Not only that, I wrote code in both front and back-end languages (Java, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS).

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After two weeks, I was given two teammates to work on my project. One of them attended an in-state institution while the other one went to Cornell University. I was really glad that I now had peers to socialize with and bounce ideas off of. Also, around that time the CME Group lunch & learns and other fun activities took place specifically for interns. The events were optional, however, I attended most of them because they were really fun and interesting events, including an all-day scavenger hunt across downtown Chicago. What I liked most about the intern events was that I was able to continue to meet new people from across the country, and from different departments within the company, which allowed us to have really interesting conversations.

Overall, I loved my summer spent at the CME Group. The knowledge, relationships, and experiences I encountered at the CME Group will be some of the highlights of my collegiate life. After a summer of enhancing my programming skills and having fun doing so, it was difficult to see it end, I headed back to campus for the last semester of my senior year.

In my opinion, the CME Group is a company many people, especially fresh college graduates, dream of working for, it’s a great company to work for. I dearly miss the CME: the Starbucks morning coffee run with my teammates, the exquisite views from the building, and the great people I worked with.

Thank You, CME!