Citi Ventures is launching its first Citi® University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) program within a community college system. Thanks to the vision and leadership of Judy Fox, Business and Entrepreneurship Regional Director in the Los Angeles Region, this partnership with Citi Ventures is now available following a year of planning. Fox partnered with Alexandra West, SVP of Strategy & Partnerships, Citi Ventures Studio and NexusEdge President and CEO Eddie Lin over the past 11 months to make the program a reality and scale its availability to California Community Colleges statewide. 

The Citi University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) Program launched in the fall and will run through the summer. Students will work with Citi mentors on real-world, real-time capstone projects that will be presented to senior leaders at Citi. Afterwards, Citi may identify students to receive remote internships this summer.

The program’s goal is to build pathways for California Community College students to careers within Citi’s umbrella. Students will earn five digital badges created by Citi and NexusEdge on market fundamentals, bond basics, mortgage-backed securities, and interview and resume skills to be eligible for the program. 

“Getting the attention of quality employers can be tough, and the community colleges are a rich talent pool often overlooked, Fox said. “This initiative supports increased access to our California Community College students and graduates and offers CitiBank the potential for a consistent pipeline of talent going forward.”

“The Citi® University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) program was launched in 2017 to engage and embed students in innovation efforts across Citi,” said West. “Since its founding, CUPID has remained committed to working with a diverse set of colleges and universities around the world. We are thrilled to be working with California Community Colleges and NexusEdge to bring the CUPID program to community college students, where there is a tremendous amount of untapped talent and creative thinking.” 

Lin, who also taught at Cypress College, said he’s proud to have NexusEdge as part of the CUPID program and be part of creating direct pathways to some of the most competitive jobs in the country. 

“As an alumnus of Goldman Sachs and UBS Investment Bank, I have often felt the students I taught at Cypress College are as capable as any of my colleagues in New York,” Lin said. 

“I’m thrilled a leading global financial services firm realizes the great pool of talent we have within the California Community College System and pioneering innovation in education.”

Gustavo Demoner, a professor in the business department at West Los Angeles College, developed a strategic method to take the fullest advantage of CUPID’s offerings for his students.

“The program is basically a long interview process of sorts without the stress that usually accompanies them,” Demoner said. “Companies have the opportunity to watch students performing, while at the same time getting them ready for taking on positions.” 

Demoner said the program would also benefit students even if they do not end up working for Citi and helps community colleges strengthen their commitments to serving students from a variety of backgrounds.

“It gives them a competitive edge when applying for other opportunities, as those badges are recognized by the industry. “This type of project is also important from a diversity-equity-inclusion perspective since it provides unique opportunities for students from underprivileged communities.”

For more information about the CUPID program, visit