SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee I.T. student Marina Rambo has come a long way from her days as a pastry chef.
The senior was forced to change careers after a car accident left her unable to stand for long periods. She hit on a career in Information Technology because it challenged her intellect while offering an outlet for her creative side.
“It’s kind of like baking,” said Rambo, who has long since healed from the crash. “Baking combines chemistry and art and in I.T. you can have the computer-science side and the more artistic creative side, graphic design.”
Rambo, 34, seems to have hit on a winning formula. This past summer, she excelled over 37 other interns to claim the top intern award – “Most Outstanding Technology Summer Analyst” – at JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Tampa offices.
“We are very proud of Marina and her success at JPMorgan Chase,” Interim Dean at the College of Business, Dr. James Curran, said. “She is a talented and dedicated student. We are also proud of our IT program and faculty for preparing Marina and her fellow students for this type of success.”
When the award was announced in late July in front of her peers and other technology workers, Rambo wasn’t sure what to think.
“I was totally surprised,” she said. “It took me a minute to process it. I remember walking up there with a big grin on my face.”
Landing the highly sought-after, highly paid 10-week internship was an accomplishment in itself. She applied with dozens of other applicants last fall under JPMC’s “Winning Women” undergraduate program, advertised through USF’s Career Services’ office in Tampa.
Sailing through the first round of interviews, she was flown with other candidates to Wilmington, Del., for an all-day question-and-answer session. “This is one of the top internships in the country,” Rambo said.
A few weeks later in December, as she walked along St. Armand’s Circle, she got a call from a JPMC representative who extended her an offer as a software developer in one of two JPMorgan Chase technology centers in Tampa.
“She told me my hourly rate and it was more than I have ever been paid. I had to contain my excitement,” she said.
The job also proved more interesting than expected. While prohibited from disclosing too much, she said it involved user-interface design for mobile applications. Rambo said she immediately felt in her element, drawing on the technical and artistic sides of her skillset to figure out ways to make technology more user-friendly.
“I’m always interested in the human aspect of technology, why something is designed the way it is,” she said. “Why does it work this way? Is it supposed to work this way? What can we do to make it better? It was nice to do something I’m passionate about.”
The process was largely collaborative and she grew close to her coworkers, including her supervisor. By the end of the 10-week internship, both were sorry to see her go.
“It was hard leaving. I really enjoyed my time there. My manager, all my coworkers, everybody was super supportive,” she said. “I’ve spoken with my manager three times since I left. But I really, really want to finish my degree.”
As she returns to school this semester, Rambo will have more than studies to look forward to. She’s signed up to serve as a student Ambassador and said she’s working to establish a student chapter of the American Association of University Women before she graduates.
Rambo’s sendoff from JPMC wasn’t without a keepsake or two. In addition to receiving the top intern award, she was offered a job upon graduation next spring.
“It’s nice to know I have this waiting for me,” she said.