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Five men pose in front of a white wall.

Sean Huggans and Troy Gaines (center) of Shelter Insurance met with EECS and IT faculty (L-R) Syed Kamrul Islam, Michael Jurczyk, Brian Maurer and Sean Goggins to donate funds to support several student organizations.

Getting involved with student organizations not only helps companies recruit high-quality interns and full-time hires, but also helps faculty and students adjust to the needs of an ever-changing workforce.

That’s why Shelter Insurance recently made a donation to support three Computer Science/Information Technology student organizations at Mizzou — Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the Mizzou Computing Association and the Information Technology Student Organization.

The goal is to build on this partnership in the future for the benefit of both Shelter and Mizzou Engineering.

“It’s been an excellent way to find students that meet the needs that we have at Shelter,” said Sean Huggans, an information systems manager at Shelter. “Some of the technology that IT and the CS department are using here are very similar to what we use in industry.”

For Shelter, giving back to student organizations in their community allows the company to build on a tradition of strong community ties. And it opens the door to help Shelter recruit some of Mizzou Engineering’s best students for internships or full-time opportunities — students such as 2003 Computer Science graduate Troy Gaines.

“They actually turn out to be good employees,” said Gaines, also an IS manager at Shelter. “They’re local, and they’re good students. They have a lot of knowledge, and that’s been helpful for us.”

For faculty, the key to this kind of partnership is being able to stay up to date on the technology currently used by industry. This allows them to better prepare students for the workforce.

“When you’re in a university environment as a professor teaching courses, you’re sometimes a little isolated from industry,” Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Associate Professor and Upsilon Pi Epsilon faculty mentor Michael Jurczyk said. “So that’s why we need cooperation with industry to know what tools to shape our courses around.”

Brian Maurer, IT Program director of undergraduate studies and faculty mentor for ITSO, said Shelter’s proximity to Mizzou and their national presence makes this partnership a perfect fit.

“It’s the ‘every-company,” he said. “You’re going to find IT professionals from around the nation interviewing for positions with their company. In all the areas that they employ, those who work in Computer Science and IT, it’ll be a great way to engage with industry and education. Having our students engage with this company will be a tremendous benefit for us all, and will help our students to develop those skills necessary for technology-based business of the future.”

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