Inaugural Apple HBCU Immersion Program – February 2016
Thirty-three students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) visited Apple headquarters, receiving a week-long immersion in the culture of one of the world’s leading innovators. Apple HBCU Immersion Week is part of of the first phase in the company’s unique partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), which includes a summer internship, one-on-one mentoring, and an academic scholarship up to $25,000 for each student’s final year of college.
“We are serious about ensuring students are adequately prepared for their internships,” says Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President & CEO of TMCF. “After Immersion Week, our students will be prepared for the rigor and be able to transition seamlessly into Apple’s culture.”
“The manager and mentor mixer was a surreal experience,” said Sultan Yagboyaju, a junior at Fisk University. “I felt very welcomed and talked to them about anything and everything.”
Students were also treated to tours of the local area, an information session with Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Williams, and meetings with current Apple employees who will serve as mentors.
The Scholars participated in workshops to prepare them for the strategic and innovative thinking required of all Apple employees. Two students attended a gathering of Apple’s board of directors, where they met Jesse Jackson and other organizers with his Silicon Valley Project.
“I was not expecting to meet such senior-level people here at Apple.” Paul Hammond, a senior at North Carolina A&T State University. “For them to show up and be so personable with us shows collaboration and relationships really are important here.”
At the closing session, Denise Young Smith, Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources and an alumna of TMCF member-school Grambling State University, urged the students to not be solely focused on what Apple can do for them and their future. She insisted the students approach their internships courageously and become stewards of their work. As one of the most senior African-American professionals in the hi-tech sector, Smith encouraged the students to become someone that a manager wants to invest in and to always enjoy the journey of learning.
The Scholars will return to Apple in May to begin their internships.