While a student at Jacksonville’s Mandarin High School, Kendall Riley thought about her future career and initially had an interest in writing code for biomedical research. That changed when she discovered her enthusiasm for information technology by taking part in Citi’s “Women in IT” internship program.
“I had an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) but wasn’t sure which career pathway I wanted to pursue,” said Riley, a Business Analyst for Citi, Personal Banking & Wealth Management Technology (PBWMT). “This initiative has helped me grow my career in so many ways.”
Riley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of North Florida in 2022, completed four Citi internships – two in high school and two at the college level – before transitioning into a full-time employee. Riley discovered working in technology at Citi has laid the foundation for an exciting career path.
“The program offers wonderful, valuable information about the working in the world of technology, which offers many different opportunities for career growth,” Riley said.
Citi’s “Women in IT” program was launched by employees from Citi’s Jacksonville division to inspire more high school and college women to consider careers in technology and in response to troubling statistics. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, since 1984, the percentage of female computer science graduates has dropped from 37% to 24%. While women make up more than half of the U.S. workforce, they hold just 25% of the jobs in technical or computing fields.
Michelle Carrico, Senior VP/Program Manager for Citi, PBWMT, has been involved with the “Women in IT” program since its inception. Program leaders were exploring innovative ways to identify, mentor, and hire talent while supporting the bank’s commitment to gender diversity. They wanted to invest in and develop a pipeline of female technology professionals.
“We have been working hard to address this talent gap and to encourage women to consider a wide range of roles in technology,” ” Carrico said. “Even though coding is important and foundational, there are many other roles in technology that don’t require you to work with code every day.”
In Citi’s “Women in IT” program, high school interns are introduced to technology skills, meet technology professionals and explore more about what it means to work in tech. The curriculum is designed to build confidence, inspire students to learn more and reduce the misconception that "IT is not for me."
Both high school and college-level interns are placed on a variety of technology teams, including project management, software development, data science, business analysis, design, architecture and more. Along with mentoring and networking opportunities, they develop a strong understanding of the industry and the skills that are in demand. The experience is designed to show students the career possibilities in technology and link their interest to various roles offered within the field.
“I am grateful for this program, which has helped me grow my career,” Riley said. “I got my first taste of professional networking and working with mentors.”
Now Riley is serving as a mentor to new Citi interns.
“Watching Kendall’s growth and professional development since she started the program has been phenomenal,” Carrico said. “Our interns have the opportunity to work on different teams and they are so well-rounded after they complete the program. When they transition into a full-time position, they bring all of that knowledge into their new role at Citi.”