Catherine Friar – Employee at Cigna in their Technology Early Career Development Program

What are you doing now? Why did you choose to go into this field? Tell us a little about it. (e.g. graduate school, working)

Currently I work at Cigna in their Technology Early Career Development Program (TECDP). The summer leading into my senior year I interned for Cigna TECDP and accepted a full-time offer with them before returning to Storrs in August. Currently I work in the Client Innovation Studio, which aims at developing new customized healthcare technologies for Cigna’s major clients across the globe. Since TECDP is a rotational program with each rotation being one year, this upcoming July I will be transitioning to a new role & team to learn about a new area of Cigna as a global health services company.

How has your UConn degree helped prepare you for what you’re doing now?

My liberal arts and sciences background allows me to approach problems from a different angle than a majority of my peers in technology. I enjoy providing insights from a social sciences perspective, like thinking about our research strategy, providing intel on consumer behavior, and developing applications and interactions that will create the best customer experience.

What do you hope to be doing 5 years from now?

In five years, I ideally will have experienced more international opportunities while I am still early in my career. One of the most fascinating areas of study to me is cross-cultural psychology, so gaining more experience by fully immersing myself in another culture is one of my absolute favorite ways to learn. In the next few years, I also plan on attending graduate school because I truly miss learning in the classroom and want to continue immersing myself in the academic environment.

What was your favorite psych course you took?

Health psychology was one of the courses I took at UConn that genuinely surprised me with how much I enjoyed the material. Initially when I began my psych studies, I didn’t think I would be as interested in the physiological processes and reactions within the human body. When taking health psychology, however, I finally grew a greater appreciation for this part of the curriculum. We explored topics such as population health, global health disparities, stress, workplace health, health in the LGBTQ+IA community, and even social issues within our modern day healthcare systems. Connecting both the physiological effects of health as well as social determinants became a true passion of mine in this class, which directly translates into the work I am a part of and projects I am drawn to post-graduation.