CCI Students Engage With Tech Companies in Tampa

Associate Dean Ebe Randeree led a group of eight students to Tampa to meet with CCI alumni and companies in hopes of building connections and gaining more insight into what employers in their field are looking for. This trip was organized by FSU STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research & Service Alliance). The companies that welcomed the students for a tour were JP Morgan, CITI, Tampa Bay Wave, and Reliaquest.

Students were able to connect with professionals through company visits (some guided by FSU alumni) and at a dinner with alumni. Randeree mentioned that this trip is “all about developing student leaders and connecting them to opportunities with other student leaders, companies, and alumni.”

Women in IT/ICT Sharing Experiences (WISE) president and IT junior Jennifer Sterling described the trip to Tampa as “the highlight of my spring semester.” She explained that bonding with FSU alumni and current STARS members “further solidified the community STARS has created within our FSU network. Beyond the bonding, this trip offered me insight into how I can view myself in technical careers in one of Florida’s largest tech hubs. It was truly an inspiration to converse with recruiters and learn how I can become a valuable asset to these companies.”

Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) Vice President and ICT major Ryan Surujball described the Tampa trip as “an eye-opening experience to learn about technology companies as well as hear from FSU alumni about their experiences within their jobs and at FSU.” He also learned that “there are so many paths to get to where you want to be” and advised that students should not “feel like you are tied down to one.”

Information Technology (IT) sophomore Jai Reed learned from the trip that “pressure is a privilege.” He also expressed that “hearing from Sydney DeChellis at ReliaQuest was enlightening. Long instances of comfort within any work environment ensure complacency. I believe being self-satisfied in any aspect of life will ultimately stunt your growth.”

When planning this trip, Randeree had specific goals in mind. He wanted to connect the students with alumni to expand their connections for future employment and mentorship while also creating a bridge among the alumni themselves to build a support group. These student leaders were also able to build a bridge among themselves for future collaboration among their organizations.


Catalina Smith, who is an ICT senior, noted that “attending this trip was such an eye-opening experience. I now have a more confident and secure mindset transitioning into a corporate environment. I am forever grateful for such unique opportunities that CCI offers me and my classmates.”

Caribbean Student Association President and IT major Efner Pierre noted that being part of this trip was “a game-changing experience for me as an IT student. Witnessing first-hand how the concepts I’m learning in class are applied in a real-world setting was eye-opening.” This experience gave Pierre “a clear direction on what to learn and how to apply myself for success in the corporate world. The tour was an incredibly valuable experience that has helped me chart my path towards a fulfilling career in IT.”

Visiting these companies with recruiters and alumni not only allowed the students to learn, but have the opportunity to bring these connections back to their events, club meetings, and classrooms.

Third-year senior Stacci Smith’s takeaway from the trip to Tampa was that it gave her “so many opportunities to learn about different companies in Tampa.” This opportunity also motivated her “to enhance my soft and technical skills for my career in IT.”

IT student Owen Van Lenten described the trip to Tampa trip as an “amazing experience.” He added, “It was insightful to visit these companies and see how they work and what they have to offer. I am grateful to STARS and Ebe Randeree for organizing and executing this opportunity to learn and network with some of the most prominent industry leaders!”

This was graduating senior Aya Saludo’s first time exploring the Tampa area and her last trip with STARS. As an Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) major, she was “pleasantly surprised to find a great community of people and technology in the big city.” Saludo also mentioned, “I am very thankful to each company for showing us their company’s culture and values first-hand and answering our many questions. These trips allow us students to grow our network and make meaningful connections with alumni. I will miss these wonderful experiences!”

From left to right: Jennifer Sterling, Ryan Surujballi, Jai Reed, Catalina Smith, Efner Pierre, Stacci Smith, Owen Van Lenten, and Aya Saludo


JP Morgan

Met with: Vice President of Product Management Katelyn Rumenik (FSU CCI Alum), Mike Forest (FSU Alum), and several recent FSU alums who were new hires.


Met with: Vice President/ App Support Lead  Andrew Stone (FSU CCI Alum), InfoSec Sr. Analyst Zachary Patterson (FSU CCIAlum) and the CITI recruiting team that comes to FSU every Career Fair.

Tampa Bay Wave

Met with: CEO/ President Linda Olson (FSU Alum) and her leadership team.



Met with: Recruiting Coordinator Shannon Murphy, and Recruiter Sydney DeChellis.


At the dinner, students were joined by FSU alumni:


Alumni Company Role
Toyanne Bennett Envestney Senior Software Engineer
Rhiannon Jacobson General Motors Software Developer
Bridget Kabacinski PwC Senior Associate Product Manager
Zach Patterson Citi Bank InfoSec Sr. Analyst
 Luke Weaver A-LIGN Staff Consultant