This year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) virtually welcomed 24 interns to eight departments, including: information services (IS), actuarial, human resources (HR), marketing, communications, analytics, claims and health network services.

In addition to performing the roles and responsibilities in their given departments, interns were busy with a full schedule of activities designed to grow their skillsets. Here’s what they’ve been up to the past few weeks of the summer program.

Learning about BCBSNE’s company culture   

The program kicked off with a welcome meeting and discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Jay Warren-Teamer, BCBSNE’s diversity and inclusion director, spoke to the group about BCBSNE’s commitment to DEI. Warren-Teamer shared ways that interns can get involved in BCBSNE’s mission—one way was to join an employee resource group (ERGs).

“BCBSNE encourages DEI in the workplace by supporting six ERGs. If you are looking to start your own ERG, they have resources to do so as well,” said BCBSNE Marketing Intern Araceli Mercado Diaz. “Understanding DEI is the only way to improve, promote and ensure that it’s enforced in the workplace.”

Hearing from former BCBSNE interns

A few weeks later, BCBSNE hosted its fourth annual Intern Alumni Panel. The purpose of the panel was for former interns to share how their experiences as a BCBSNE intern shaped their career paths. Past interns provided present interns with guidance and advice on how to get the most from their experience. From networking tips to business etiquette, interns like Justin Rathbone found this meeting to be incredibly insightful and applicable to their day to day at BCBSNE.

“My biggest takeaway from the intern alumni panel would be that it’s completely normal to feel a little bit of imposter syndrome during your internship,” said BCBSNE IS Intern Justin Rathbone. “Hearing from former interns that they have and still struggle with imposter syndrome made me more confident in my ability to perform my job at a high level. This renewed confidence allowed me to take on difficult tasks that I may have previously questioned my ability to complete.”

Meeting the BCBSNE departments 

New this year, interns were partnered with a member of a different department and were asked to meet with their assigned employee to learn about their role within BCBSNE.  Each intern shared what they discovered with a three-minute presentation during the weekly intern meeting. This exercise provided interns with a better understanding of the departments and roles that make up BCBSNE.

Participating in a challenge

The program concluded with the 2021 Intern Project Day. This event was held in collaboration with Warren-Teamer, BCBSNE employees (including some former interns) and HR.

The goal of the project was to freshen up the DEI and community sections on BCBSNE’s website. Four groups were tasked with providing ideas on ways that BCBSNE could amplify and elevate its presence and commitment to DEI via

The winning team was announced on Friday, Aug. 6 at the intern celebration.

“The 2021 Intern Project Day challenge showed me how to work efficiently with a small team,” Mason Hays, IS intern and a member of the winning team, said. “It was a great experience and allowed me to learn how to divide work and brainstorm ideas as a group. This is an important skill for any professional to learn, and I will use this nearly every day during my cybersecurity career.”

Celebrating the accomplishments of the summer

At an end-of-summer celebration, the young professionals enjoyed an outdoor lunch and socialized with one another in person.

BCBSNE IS Intern Justin Rathbone said it was the perfect way to wrap up the program and celebrate the summer’s accomplishments.

“The intern day celebration let all the interns finally network in a non-Microsoft Teams environment at the office while socializing with each other and enjoying the pizza that was graciously provided to us.”

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