Opportunity came calling at UMSL’s Veterans Center

UMSL student Danielle Ibarra and Mark Lear of Travelers

Danielle Ibarra, a senior business administration major at UMSL, receives a certificate naming her a member of the Travelers Military and Veterans Diversity Network from Mark Lear, regional vice president at Travelers. Ibarra just completed an internship at Travelers after being recruited by Lear, a retired Army major. (Photo by August Jennewein)

To hear Danielle Ibarra tell it, her life is pretty good right now.

A senior majoring in business administration with an emphasis in finance at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, she has a “real possibility” of landing a great job when she graduates in December. She has a long list of people to thank, and she puts UMSL’s Veterans Center at the top.

Ibarra just completed an internship at Travelers, a leading provider of property casualty insurance with offices in St. Louis. As a finance student, she was looking at both the financial planning and insurance fields for future employment.

Ibarra, 26, grew up in Jefferson County, Mo., and served as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy. She spends time at UMSL’s new Veterans Center.

“A Travelers executive and a retired U.S. Army major came to UMSL looking for an intern and he found me,” Ibarra said. “He said Travelers offered a paid internship for the summer, and I jumped at the opportunity.”

That opportunity included attending a symposium with 300 other Travelers interns in Hartford, Conn. Back home, she jumped right into learning all about a career in underwriting.

“This is not an internship filled with busy work,” she said. “By my second week there they were giving me accounts.”

Mark Lear, regional vice president at Travelers and the retired Army major who found Ibarra, believes in hiring veterans.

“Hiring a veteran always makes our business better at Travelers,” Lear said. “By working with UMSL’s Veterans Center and the great staff, this was the best way I have found to hire great veterans like Danielle. During our summer together, Danielle not only learned our business, but also made a very positive impact on our productivity. We look forward to the opportunity to employ other veterans from UMSL.”

As Ibarra finishes her degree this semester, she is working part time at Travelers learning about underwriting financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, mutual funds and other insurance companies. Underwriters set the terms and price of insurance policies. For Ibarra, it’s a fascinating business.

“I’m getting a lot more confident, but there’s still a lot to learn,” she said. “I’ve met some awesome people. I’ve definitely got it good.”


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