ASU School of Math and Stats works with State Farm on new graduate internship program


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State Farm's regional hub at Marina Heights offers collaborative workspaces with innovative technology. Photo courtesy Rhonda Olson

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The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and State Farm are launching a new program beginning this fall for graduate students enrolled in actuarial science, statistics or applied mathematics at Arizona State University.

The Modeling and Analytics Graduate Network, or MAGNet, program will provide participating students with full tuition support and competitive financial compensation while they pursue a master’s degree at ASU. In return, students will spend 20 hours a week each semester applying their statistical modeling and analytic skills to provide data science solutions for a wide variety of business partners within the State Farm organization.

MAGNet has served as a successful analytic talent pipeline for 15 years through its programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Georgia locations. Due to the program’s success and the growing need for quality data science talent at State Farm, the MAGNet program will be launching its third operation in conjunction with Arizona State University.

“At State Farm, we continue to grow and deepen our data science capabilities and connect them to strategic work throughout the organization. Over the course of 2022, multiple universities were evaluated as candidates for the new MAGNet location,” said Megan Lutz, senior manager of data science HIRED and Research Teams. “The quality of the ASU graduate actuarial science and statistics curricula and students, faculty and staff; the size and diversity of the student body; and the proximity of State Farm at Marina Heights to the ASU campus were primary factors for the selection of ASU as the new location.”

“Our school is excited to work with State Farm on launching the MAGNet program at Arizona State University,” said Donatella Danielli, professor and school director. “MAGNet will help us attract strong students to our graduate degree programs and at the same time provide talented students with the skills necessary to help State Farm meet their analytics needs.”

Students accepted into the ASU’s master’s degree program in actuarial science, statistics or applied mathematics will be able to apply for the MAGNet program.

“A typical MAGNet intern develops an applied understanding of industry best practices in advanced analytics. They will have experience working with big data for model builds, from exploratory data analysis through model validation, while also learning about feature engineering, selection and model selection for both GLMs and machine learning models. MAGNet interns will also develop their professional skills, delivering regular updates to their project partners and a formal presentation to a diverse audience at the end of the semester,” said Lutz.

MAGNet interns will apply their predictive modeling — including machine learning models — natural language processing, computer vision, and other advanced analytics techniques supporting business partners ranging from property and casualty actuarial and underwriting to marketing to claims.

The State Farm regional hub is located at Marina Heights, adjacent to the ASU Tempe campus and Tempe Town Lake. State Farm occupies three buildings on the five-building campus, which is the largest office development in Arizona history, and features over 2 million square feet of office space on 20 acres, including coffee shops, restaurants, business services and fitness facilities.

While participating in the MAGNet program, students are evaluated and given consideration for full-time, post-graduate employment at various State Farm locations, including Atlanta, Dallas, Bloomington, Illinois or Phoenix.

“Our graduates are in strong demand,” said Jelena Milovanovic, professor of practice and coordinator of the actuarial science program at ASU. “Our approach provides a solid foundation of statistics and predictive analytics, allowing companies to expand our graduates’ toolbox upon hire.”

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