Students Finalists Selected for Citi University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery Program

CITI® Ventures is collaborating with California Community Colleges and NexusEdge Education to connect students with real-world, real-time capstone projects through the Citi University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) program.  Under the CUPID Program, CitiBank/Citi Ventures is looking to develop a pipeline of California community college students from which to recruit for employment. The “Capstone to Career” project through CUPID allows students to test the waters in a real-world, experiential format and is more simplified than a formal internship process.

The program offers a series of digital badges with subjects ranging from bitcoin to blockchain, smart cities to securities, personal finance, capital markets, and others. The digital badges can be assigned as class assignment, course complement, extra project, or as a group club/organizational challenge. To qualify for the interview phase of CUPID, students had to pass 3 Citi exams, complete 3 essays, and forward their resume. Many students across California completed all 3 Citi exams for consideration into the Citi CUPID Capstone program as part of their courses. Students were selected based on writing samples simulating on-the-job responsibilities.

As part of the process, a California Community College Student Event was also held on interview tips & career opportunities. Hundreds of California Community College students signed-up to hear directly from Citi senior leadership on the opportunities and day-to-day responsibilities at the world’s largest global financial services institution. Students received interview tips on how to secure careers at the firm.

The selected students will be assigned a Citbank mentors to work with them on Capstone which projects reflect current business challenges at Citi. Final presentations to the Citi leadership for the Capstone projects will be on May 24th. The following student have completed the interview process and been selected as finalists for the Citi University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) program:


Elisa Marconell Tejedor is a current first-year at Irvine Valley College studying economics and statistics. The CUPID Program had always amazed her in the sense that students could partake in internal Citi projects not only to give input with the goal of improving current models, but to receive mentorship from talented professionals. This is why Elisa was ecstatic to hear that the CUPID Program would open its doors to Community College students like herself. After graduating, she hopes to continue doing strategy and analysis preferably at a global bank like Citi. Apart from being an avid Formula 1 fan, Elisa enjoys spending time travelling, learning languages and visiting her family in Spain!


Yohann Byun is a first-year economics major student at Irvine Valley College. He seeks to work in the finance/accounting sector & public policy and aims to pass the CPA test soon after the end of university. The Citi CUPID program’s goal to provide equal opportunities to all college-level students including community college students is very considerate, and believes his research background and natural interest in economics built critical thinking skills with an analytical mindset to employ at Citi. He believes economics plays a role in everyday life, and economics enables him to find the most efficient ways to solve problems and use cost-benefit analysis to determine the opportunity costs of each decision.


Andrew Estrella is currently studying Business Administration at East Los Angeles College transferring to a Business Economics and Statistics major. One of his biggest dreams is to become an Investment Banker. Private Equity, Hedge Funds, and Venture Capital are other career paths he’s interested in. He believes CUPID is an incredible opportunity because of the lack of opportunities for Community College students. “I think this is the “step on the door” movement that we need to pursue a successful career in the financial services industry. I just wanted to give a special shout-out to the amazing team that forms between Citi, NexusEdge, and the Community College District. It is a valuable movement that tells us the students, big firms care about us. “



Mya Thanegi Soe is currently attending Irvine Valley College, majoring in computer science. She lived in Myanmar for 18 years before moving to the U.S to pursue higher education and better career opportunities. She would like to become a software developer, and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in computer science. She’s very excited about the Citi CUPID Program because of the opportunity to work with a diverse team on a high-impact project for a large global brand. “This will definitely help me develop my professional and teamwork skills, gain experience, and help me reach my end goal.”


Destin Byrd currently attends Fresno City College studying Computer Science. His career interests include working on the applications of computer science in managing financial data and working with data structures and algorithms in big tech. What excites him most about the Citi CUPID program is the opportunity it provides for a wide variety of students to get solid experience in relevant industries. The CUPID program helps his career by providing hands-on experience in a work environment which will bear similarities to the types of jobs he will be participating in throughout the rest of my career.


Joshua Santos is currently a second year student at Foothill Community College studying Business Administration. He is interested in pursuing a career as a Venture Capitalist and working with innovative technology companies that promise to have a positive impact on society. He’s excited that the Citi CUPID program will give him exposure to solving complex business challenges by helping to create and implement innovative product solutions.



Richard Corral is currently a student at Irvine Valley College majoring in Business Administration. His career goals is to pursue a career in Investment Banking, Venture Capital or Private Equity. What excites him the most about the Citi CUPID program is the experience solving a real world problem for Citi that will benefit everyday people.




Elleway is currently studying Business Administration at Foothill College. She is interested in exploring the intersection between finance and start-up culture. As a kid growing up in California’s Silicon Valley and the bustling Taiwanese tech economy, she observed first-hand that dreams and ideas could be made into reality. The idea that she could take a thought, a vision, and translate it into a marketable product appealed to her. The CUPID program provides her the opportunity to contribute her own knowledge alongside other students on a high-impact project while connecting with talented professionals.