HBCU Futures Conference

The HBCU Futures conference has started a buzz on Linkedin and Twitter as competition winners, alumni, and students rave about the event. This conference, which bought together students, staff and alumni from various HBCU’s featured workshops, panel discussions and speakers. The workshops were geared towards helping students to learn about employment opportunities and set them up for success after graduating. Sean Beach, a freshman at Alabama A&M University tweeted about the event “Learning about different internships at different organizations”, noting how informative the event was. Chinenye Ifebirinachi, an ACM SIGHPC 2021 Fellow quoted a speaker from the JPMorgan Chase workshop “Getting all the information you need to succeed before completing your program will give you an advantage in the workforce”.

JPMorgan Chase Representative and Conference Speaker Byna Elliot stated “I love the name HBCU Futures. It says a lot about the conference and the outcomes that we will get” regarding the conference. Byna states that at JPMorgan they really want to focus on “closing the wealth gap in the Black community” by providing opportunities to graduates coming out of college. “No matter what you are studying in school, at JPMorgan we hire everyone” stated Trey Coleman, another JPMorgan Chase representative.

One of the most exciting moments from the conference was Dr. Candice S. Blacknall MD MBA, who won the HBU Futures Pitch competition, gaining $20K in equity-free funding for her business. This competition was geared towards HBCU student or alumni led start ups who had 5 minutes to explain their start up for a chance to win cash. Dr. Blacknall is the founder of GABA, which is a community for students to provide them with the tools that they need to succeed. Candice noted on Twitter that she was “honored to have been selected”.

Another competition that became twitter-worthy at the event was the laptop giveaway for current students. Students who attended the conference were eligible for winning a free laptop. Students really had fun with this as there were many legendary quotes posted on social media from speakers at this event. “What our schools need is scholarship and entrepreneurship,” stated Dr. Glenda Glover, one of the speakers for the conference as well as the president of Tennessee State University. Her quote was tweeted by Mahlangu Nzunda on twitter, a student at Jackson State University. “If you believe you can do it and you set a pathway to do it you can”, stated Congresswoman Alma Adams, and quoted on Linkedin by Engtavius Briskey-Chappell, a finance student at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Angela Jones, the founder and editor of The HBCU Advocate and The Hampton Roads Messenger stated on twitter “This is a once in a lifetime event. You won’t want to miss it.” The conference was life changing for many students, as they gained knowledge and insight that would benefit them later in their careers and after graduating. It is crucial for HBCU’s to stick together and gain collective wisdom and that is exactly what this event did thanks to sponsors like JPMorgan Chase & Co., Dominion Energy, Truist, Verizon and IBM. Not only did these companies lend their financial support, they are interested in hiring students who attended the conference for internships and full time positions.