Black Woman Wins $1M Global Teacher Prize

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Keisha Thorpe, a black woman who won a $1M global teacher prize

By BET Staff

A teacher from Maryland has won the prestigious Global Teacher Prize.

According to NBC News, on Nov. 10, it was announced that Keshia Thorpe, 42, who teaches at International High School at Langley Park in Bladensburg, Maryland, would be awarded the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, which is presented every year to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

“Education is a human right, and all children should be entitled to have access to it,” Thorpe said in a pre-recorded video message during an online broadcast from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.

She continued, “Every child needs a champion, an adult who will never ever give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the very best they can be. This is exactly why teachers will always matter.”

Thorpe, who is originally from Jamaica, was selected from more than 8,000 applicants and her advocacy for students is impressive. NBC News reports she restructured her 12th grade English curriculum to make it culturally relevant to her students. Thorpe helps students with college applications and financial aid. Along with her twin sister, Dr. Treisha Thorpe, she co-founded the nonprofit U.S. Elite International Track, which assists student-athletes around the world to pursue scholarships to colleges and universities. Thorpe and her sister have helped over 500 students receive full track and field scholarships.

Thorpe told NBC News, “When I think about the students and how much their parents are sacrificing for them just to have an equitable education, it reminds me so much of my own journey. And so that’s why I go so hard for my students — because my story is their story.”

Click here to read the full article on BET.

Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega Is Using Art to Uplift Brown and Black Women

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Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega

By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Pop Sugar

In 2017, Afro-Latinx visual artist Reyna Noriega began her career as a full-time creator. Little did she know that in just a few short years, she would have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, would be working with huge brands like Apple and Old Navy, and would design a cover for The New Yorker. Born and raised in Miami to a first-generation Cuban father and a Bahamian mother, Noriega, who is best-known for her bold, vibrant, graphic work, was destined to be an artist.

“My father is also an artist, and I became interested early on in just the magic of it all, being able to bring ideas to life on paper and communicate in a universal language,” Noriega told POPSUGAR in a recent interview. “I was always the ‘sensitive kid’ feeling a lot and thinking a lot, so art and writing were great outlets for me to get all of that under control and to be able to process my emotions.”

Now, Noriega’s art is being seen on a much wider scale and impacting thousands of people who follow her on social media or see her art on city walls and T-shirts. To get there, she had to put in a lot of work, including studying and learning on her own, despite the fact that she took art classes throughout high school and minored in art in college. Using the help of books and YouTube, Noriega honed her skills and eventually left her job as a teacher, with the full support of her parents.

“I was very fortunate that my family believed in me and my ability to make my passion a career and even help me make it happen! To this day, my mom is the person that helps me run my online shop, and they encourage me to strive higher,” Noriega told us.

By 2019, Noriega started doing brand work, after getting comfortable with her style and what she wanted to represent as an artist. It gradually became easier for her to align herself with brands that had the same mission. She is currently working on Amex’s “Always Welcome” design collective launch, which will provide businesses with signage for their storefronts and indicate their stance on inclusivity.

“Honestly, every time I get an email, I am honored and humbled that my name enters rooms I never thought would. From companies whose products I used to save up for at one point, like Apple, to legendary publications like The New Yorker, or having thousands and thousands of people wear a shirt I designed with Old Navy. It really is a dream come true,” she said.

Ultimately, it was Noriega embracing her culture and her commitment to advocating for Black and brown people through her art that got her there. She says her Afro-Caribbean culture is what brings “vibrancy and flavor” to her art. But we think it’s so much more than that. With just a single glance, it’s obvious that Noriega’s background informs her work. Her use of color, the way she showcases the female form, the various complexions and skin tones she celebrates in her work, and the stunning, tropics-inspired botanical scenes she often creates speak to exactly who she is and where she comes from.

“Art has always been a place I look to boost my mood, museums, galleries, [and] learning about art history. But unfortunately in those spaces, rarely did I ever feel I belong, because my story wasn’t told on those walls, and in the rare occasion it was, it only highlighted the struggles and traumas,” she said. “I wanted to create work that would lift moods and raise the self-efficacy of Black and brown women with positive representation and vibrant depictions of joy.”

Noriega describes the art she creates with a tremendous amount of care and respect. Her mission is to create art that represents and uplifts communities that are often left out of the conversation. “I focus on women because as a woman, I know all of the challenges and barriers we face,” she said. “Inequalities in pay, harmful messaging on body image, the ongoing fight for body autonomy . . . it can be really exhausting. Add on to that the challenges being a BIPOC, and it just magnifies. My art is meant to celebrate women, inspire joy, and a reclamation of peace and rest.”

Noriega recognizes how important it is to not only amplify voices like hers but also to use her gifts and resources to speak up for people who don’t have the same advantages that she does. Even as a Black Latina, she’s cognizant of the privileges she has and the responsibility associated with them. “For me personally, I often look at my identities as a privilege, which pushes me to amplify Black voices even more. I am all too aware of the advantages I have received being a Latina in Miami, and even being ethnically Caribbean, although my race is Black,” she said. “Being able to say where your lineage comes from is a privilege many Black Americans don’t have. I have been unfairly judged and treated and had some very hurtful comments said to me, but I must also be aware of how my skin tone provides privileges, how my heritage provides privileges, and how knowing more than one language is a privilege.” And in recognizing that, she’s able to leverage her position to empower others in really visible ways.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

HBCUs To Receive Major Boost In Tech Funding Due To President Biden’s Spending Bill

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HBCUs To Receive Major Boost In Tech Funding Due To President Biden’s Spending Bill

B, Talk of News

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) leaders are waiting with bated breath on the passage of President Joe Biden‘s Build Back Better agenda as it includes record funding for the Black colleges.

Biden’s bill would provide $6 billion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Civil Rights and education advocates say the funding is paramount in order for HBCU to compete with top-tier research universities specializing in science and technology, such as M.I.T.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund president Harry Williams told NBC News that not one HBCU school has reached the level of a first-tier institution, schools that excel in research activities through doctoral programs. Tier 1 programs include Stanford, Harvard, Duke, and the University of Pennsylvania.

However, a dozen HBCUs are considered second-tier institutions and Williams said the funding could be a game-changer for HBCUs and MSIs looking to improve their STEM programs.

“The significance here is that there’s an opportunity for an HBCU to move into” the top echelon, and it requires this type of federal investment for that to happen,” he said. “We want to build on this to continue to demonstrate clearly this type of investment is only going to yield a positive outcome for the African American community.”

North Carolina A&T (N.C. A&T), the largest HBCU in America, has significant STEM and research projects, but faces a $100 million maintenance backlog. Passing the package would provide the funds needed to put N.C. A&T on a stronger financial foundation.

There has been a new focus on STEM and technology at HBCUs in recent years. Google, Microsoft and Apple have all announced HBCU technology programs.

HBCUs represent 3% of colleges and universities in the U.S., however, they enroll 10% of all Black students in the country. Additionally, 24% of Black graduates with a bachelor’s degree from an HBCU, majored in a STEM field.

Click here to read the full article on Talk of News.

Chance the Rapper says the idea to ‘man up’ is harmful to Black men’s mental health

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Chance the Rapper is not holding back when it comes speaking about the benefits of prioritizing mental health.

By David Artavia, Yahoo! Life

Chance the Rapper is not holding back when it comes speaking about the benefits of prioritizing mental health.

In a new interview with Taraji P. Henson and her best friend Tracie Jade on Facebook Watch’s Peace of Mind with Taraji, the rapper opened up about dealing with the “dark days” of his mental health and how it inspired him to fight for better mental health services in Black communities.

“I think Black men are naturally guarded,” he said when asked about the pressure many Black men face to “man up” and not show their emotions. “You kind of have to be [because] your weakness is preyed upon. So, I think it’s a defense mechanism. You go to a funeral, like, you kind of don’t want to cry. You know what I mean? You don’t want to subject yourself to the feeling of like, that weakness, of like, you know, it just takes a lot to be cathartic, to cry, to empty yourself.”

“I saw my friend killed in front of me when I was 19,” he continued. “I’ve seen people I didn’t know get killed too, and you become kind of like numb to it. Somebody else died last week. But it stays with you, you know what I mean? And you don’t realize until later [that] it could have lasting effects.”

It was these types of discoveries that led him to donate $1 million in 2019 to mental health services in his hometown of Chicago through SocialWorks, his nonprofit organization.

“A couple of years ago, I, for the first time experienced a friend, somebody that I knew from growing up, that was having a mental health crisis,” he said. “His family and his friends had exhausted their efforts over years and years of trying to help. I didn’t really know that much about this stuff. There’s probably a ton of situations where people, you know, we just wrote them off as like, ‘crazy,’ or like, ‘they was tweaking.’ But they were actually going through a chronic mental health disorder.”

After realizing “the kind of care” his friend needed “wasn’t available in the city” for those who can’t afford it, he decided to team up with local advocates to help build the change.

“We basically found every possible mental health initiative within the city of Chicago, and then within Cook County, and then eventually through the entire state of Illinois,” he explained. “[We] created this app that allows people to get in contact, whether it’s an in-person meeting or tele-health, with a mental health service provider, and get the help that they need, instantly from their phone. And it’s free.”

While Chance acknowledges it’s great that celebrities are starting to drive the message that “health is beyond just our physical state,” he argues that equal access to mental health services isn’t going to happen until those in power, particularly “our lawmakers and the billion-dollar companies,” rise to meet the community’s need.

“We’re talented people, but we’re not the people that make the big decisions,” he said. “We’re not the people that write the biggest checks. Those kind of things have to happen.”

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Lafayette Black woman’s journey to medical school is inspired by women and funded by Tampax

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Lafayette Black woman's journey to medical school is inspired by women and funded by Tampax

By , The Advocate

Sydney Ambrose has long found inspiration through the women in her life and hopes to one day inspire the next generation of girls.

Ambrose, a Lafayette native and pre-med student at Xavier University, credits her grandmother and her dermatologist for her success thus far. She was recently named a winner of the Tampax Flow It Forward Scholarship, which aims to close the representation gap of Black women in health care.

“Tampax is funding me to be able to pursue resources that will help me become a doctor and serve the minority community because there’s a lot of mistrust within that community,” Ambrose said. “So I think it’s important to have physicians of color and women physicians of color who can build that trust and communication that is very much needed.”

Ambrose, 20, is one of 12 scholarship recipients who will receive up to $10,000 in annual tuition assistance. The scholarship program aims to support the next generation of Black women who are pursuing degrees in health care. Black women account for less than 3% of doctors in the United States, even though Black women account for about 13% of the country’s population.

“I definitely want to help provide more access, which is a big part of this scholarship in that it’ll help me get there,” Ambrose said. “But a lot of those populations, they don’t have a Black dermatologist within reach.”

Ambrose said she was inspired to become a doctor after a visit with Dr. Jennifer Myers, a Lafayette dermatologist, when she was a teen.

“Of course she’s a female physician, so that’s obviously really inspiring for me,” Ambrose said. “But also, she didn’t just try and rush me out the door. She really took time and conversed with me and made me feel really comfortable.”

Click here to read the full article on The Advocate.

Netflix Establishes $5.4 Million Chadwick A. Boseman Scholarship at Howard University

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Netflix Establishes $5.4 Million Chadwick A. Boseman Scholarship at Howard University

By Globe News Wire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Howard University and Netflix today have announced a $5.4 million endowed scholarship to honor alumnus Chadwick A. Boseman, the esteemed actor, director, writer and producer. The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will provide incoming students in the College of Fine Arts with a four-year scholarship to cover the full cost of University tuition.

“It is with immense pleasure and deep gratitude that we announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, whose life and contributions to the arts continue to inspire,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling, and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students. I am thankful for the continuous support and partnership of Chadwick’s wife, Mrs. Simone Ledward-Boseman, and to Netflix for this important gift.”

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship was established with the support of Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward-Boseman, and sponsorship from Netflix, the inaugural donor. The first four scholarships will be awarded to one recipient in each class, beginning this Fall 2021, and will continue to be distributed to an incoming freshman each year on an annual basis. The scholarship will focus on students who exemplify exceptional skills in the arts, reminiscent of Boseman, and who demonstrate financial need.

“Many exemplary artists are not afforded the opportunity to pursue higher learning. We hope to support as many students as possible by removing the financial barrier to education. This endowment represents Chad’s devotion to the craft, his compassion for others and his desire to support future storytellers,” said Ledward-Boseman. “My deepest thanks to Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber and our family at Netflix for their generous investment into the education of all present and future Boseman Scholars, and to President Wayne Frederick, Dean Phylicia Rashad and Mr. David Bennett for their partnership and continued commitment to Chad’s legacy at Howard. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the love and dedication shown by so many continuing to honor my husband’s work. I know he’d be proud.”

“It is with enormous pride that we announce our endowment of the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship. While he was taken from us too soon, his spirit is with us always in his work and the good that he has inspired. He always spoke of his time at Howard and the positive way it shaped his life and career. Now, we will have the opportunity to give many future superheroes a chance to experience the same” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer. “We are grateful to Simone and Chadwick’s whole family and our partners at Howard University for making this possible.”

In continuing the actor’s legacy, preference for the scholarship will be given to students in the dramatic arts who exemplify Boseman’s values. Students who receive the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will have demonstrated:

  • A drive for excellence. Students who are continuously working toward improvement and putting in time above and beyond the basic requirements. This includes engagement in academic departments, campus, or community organizations.
  • Leadership. Students who have the personal fortitude to do what is right, even when this means they are in the minority. They exhibit honesty and are trustworthy, caring, and ethical. They keep their word and honor their commitments while accepting consequences and admitting their mistakes.
  • Respect. Students who treat others fairly. They listen to and accept input from others. They maintain self-control and exhibit consideration for the things and people that they encounter.
  • Empathy. Students who show kindness and understanding toward all those they encounter and actively listen in an effort to understand the unique experiences of others. They advocate for their community by identifying needs and working to meet them.
  • Passion. Students who show an ardent desire to absorb all aspects of the art of storytelling. They understand the deeply rooted, critical importance of storytellers as cultural historians and aspire to inform, uplift, and strengthen their community through their work.

Click here to read the full article on Globe News Wire.

Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams Partner to Help HBCU Students and Alums Launch Businesses

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Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams want to give HBCU students or alums some coins for their businesses.

By Jasmine Alyce, Atlanta Black Star

Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams are combining their star power to help elevate the businesses of HBCU students and alumni.

The “Creed” actor partnered with Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports to bring the inaugural HBCU basketball showcase to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Dec. 18. In addition to spotlighting the universities and the talented athletes that attend them, the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic is sponsoring a startup pitch competition that will give current students and alumni the opportunity to win up to $1 million toward growing their businesses.

“Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports have been amazing partners in helping bring this experience to life,” Jordan previously said in a statement announcing the showcase. “I grew up watching basketball games on TNT, so I am confident they will deliver this set of games to a true audience of basketball fans and their families in an exciting way.”

The pitch competition was created in partnership with Serena Williams‘ SerenaVentures and MaC Venture Capital. Participants who want their piece of the pie will be required to submit business proposals and investor decks online now through Nov. 18 to qualify.

“HBCUs are an integral part of our educational ecosystem and have long been centers of entrepreneurial excellence. We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael B. Jordan and MaC Ventures on highlighting the brilliant student and alumni founders,” Serena Ventures General Partner Alison Stillman said in a press release.

Click here to read the full article on Atlanta Black Star

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson talks possibility of political future: ‘I care deeply about our country’

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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson talks possibility of political future: 'I care deeply about our country'

By Jessica Napoli, Fox News

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest stars in the world and even though he’s only teased running for president in the past, in a new interview he admitted he’s taken plans one step beyond that.

While speaking to Vanity Fair, the 49-year-old actor/producer/businessman said he’s spoken to people in the political arena and done “a small amount of research and analysis to see where this [support] comes from and to see what it could look like in the future.”

Johnson revealed, “Indicators are all very positive — in, for example, 2024, and in, for example, 2028.”

The former pro wrestling star confirmed he hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of having a political future but “at the end of the day, I don’t know the first thing about politics. I don’t know the first thing about policy.”

“I care deeply about our country. I care about every f–king American who bleeds red, and that’s all of them. And — there’s no delusion here — I may have some decent leadership qualities, but that doesn’t necessarily make me a great presidential candidate. That’s where I am today,” Johnson confirmed.

The “Jungle Cruise” actor last spoke about his political aspirations back in April on the “TODAY” show. “I do have that goal to unite our country,” he told host Willie Geist. “I also feel that, if this is what the people want, then I will do that.”

Johnson went on to note that the ability to unify Americans is a necessity for the longevity of the nation.

“I am passionate about making sure that our country is united because a united country, as we know, is the strongest, and I want to see that for our country,” he concluded.

Johnson also responded on social media to a poll that claimed he would have massive support from Americans if he actually established and ran a presidential campaign.

“I don’t think our Founding Fathers EVER envisioned a six-four, bald, tattooed, half-Black, half-Samoan, tequila drinking, pick up truck driving, fanny pack wearing guy joining their club – but if it ever happens it’d be my honor to serve you, the people,” Johnson tweeted at the time.

The actor isn’t known for speaking about politics often but broke his own protocol last year to endorse Joe Biden for president in his first public backing of a candidate.

After Biden’s win, he shared another video to Instagram congratulating the president on his victory, admitting that he felt “emotional” when the news broke.

Click here to read the full article on Fox News.

HBCU Week Foundation Hosts 5th Annual Event Giving High School Students Opportunities for On-the-Spot College Acceptance and Scholarships

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HBCU WEEK logo in bright colors

HBCU Week to take place in person and virtually Sept. 26 to Oct. 3; Students have opportunity to experience life at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) through week of homecoming-style events, including a Wanda Sykes comedy show and Battle of the Bands

This back-to-school season, the HBCU Week Foundation is giving high school students from across the country the chance to experience life at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) during a week-long series of events, mirroring the legendary HBCU Homecoming experience. HBCU Week will take place in Wilmington, Del., and virtually, Sept. 26 to Oct. 3, giving students of color and their families the opportunity to participate in events such as Battle of the Bands, an R&B concert featuring Wale and Queen Naija, and a comedy show hosted by celebrated comedian and HBCU alumna Wanda Sykes.

The highlight of HBCU Week is its signature College Fair, at which students have the chance to meet with HBCU recruiters from across the country and earn on-the-spot acceptances and scholarships. This provides students an amazing opportunity to secure an early connection to college, community and culture at an HBCU. Registration for all events, including the Virtual College Fair (taking place Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET) is available at HBCUWeek.org.

Since its inception in 2017, the College Fair has resulted in more than 3,000 on-the-spot college acceptances and more than $18.5 million in scholarships awarded by HBCUs and corporate partners. This year’s College Fair includes a variety of corporate partners, including Barclays and The City of Wilmington, some of which will be offering scholarships and internship opportunities, totaling over $6.7 million.

“Our goal with HBCU Week is to provide Black and Brown students the chance to experience what life is like at an HBCU, a clear path to enrollment, scholarships and the connections to confidently own their power throughout their careers,” said Ashley Christopher, founder and CEO of HBCU Week Foundation. “As a double HBCU alumna, I know firsthand that culture and community played an integral part in growing my confidence and helped me find and amplify my voice as a Black woman.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s HBCU Week was entirely virtual and saw record attendance and participation. In 2020, HBCU Week’s College Fair delivered 803 on-the-spot acceptances and $7.3 million in scholarships, including 226 partial and 44 full-ride offers.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for an HBCU. What I received from attending Winston-Salem State — a Brotherhood and Sisterhood best described as a Family Affair — exceeded my wildest dreams,” said ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, HBCU Week National Ambassador and alumnus of Winston-Salem State University. “I was surrounded by folks who looked like me, shared my cultural background and cared enough about me to take a personal interest in my ascension. From professors to administrators to classmates themselves, failure was not an option.”

There are 104 HBCUs nationwide. They represent 3% of U.S. colleges and universities but are responsible for 25% of all African American science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and 14% of African American engineering degrees. Most HBCU students are Black or Brown, but students of all races are admitted. White, Hispanic, Native American, Asian and Pacific Islander students make up 22% of total enrollments.

“All my late-coach Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines ever asked of me was to do what I could to uplift HBCUs across the nation. It is the easiest request I’ve ever received,” Smith added. “I’m honored to be the Brand Ambassador for HBCU Week, and I look forward to remaining so for a very long time.”

To view the full schedule of events and to register visit https://www.hbcuweek.org/events/.

HBCU Week’s major corporate partners include Barclays and The City of Wilmington. Other partners of the event include: American Institute of Chemical Engineers, AstraZeneca, American Chemistry Council, Bank of America, Capital One, Chemours, Delaware State University, Donate Delaware, DuPont, JP Morgan Chase & Co., LexisNexis, MLB, New Castle County Delaware, NFL and Salesforce.

HBCU Week Foundation, Inc. partnerships have had a lasting impact on students. Notably, the Foundation has partnered with the American Chemical Council (ACC), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and The Chemours Company to offer the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI). FOSSI is a national chemical industry-wide program which provides scholarships to students pursuing degrees in STEM fields at HBCUs, helping to eliminate financial barriers for historically under-represented groups. Sponsored by chemical manufacturers and related industry stakeholders, FOSSI provides scholarship recipients $10,000 per year for four years and connects these students to leadership development, mentoring and internship opportunities at participating companies. To date, FOSSI has raised nearly $12 million in funding in support of 245 scholars. Learn more at futureofstemscholars.org.

Applications for all HBCU Week Foundation, Inc. scholarships open Oct. 1, 2021. Visit HBCUWeek.org for more details.

About the HBCU Week Foundation
The mission of the HBCU Week Foundation (www.hbcuweek.org) is to encourage high-school aged youth to enroll into HBCUs, provide scholarship dollars for matriculation and sustain a pipeline for employment from undergraduate school to corporate America. The most impactful event during HBCU Week is the HBCU College Fair. HBCU Week Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Maia Chaka Is The 1st Black Woman To Officiate An NFL Game

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Line judge Maia Chaka signals during the game between the Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 12 in Charlotte, N.C. Chaka made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game.

By Dana Farrington NPR

Maia Chaka has made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game.

She said ahead of Sunday’s game between the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers that it would be a proud moment.

“This historic moment to me is an honor and it’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America, proving that I can defy the odds and overcome,” Chaka said in a video released by the NFL.

She said she hopes she can inspire and empower others “to step outside the box and to do something different.” Chaka is the second woman hired as a full-time NFL official. The first was Sarah Thomas, who refereed the Super Bowl this year.

The NFL hired its first Black official, Burl Toler, in 1965.

When the announcement came in March that she would be added to the NFL officiating roster, Chaka said she was personally honored.

“But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment,” she said. “It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

Chaka has made a career officiating college football and is a health and physical education teacher in Virginia Beach public schools. She joined the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014.

The Undefeated reports that Chaka has the words “hustle, grind, conquer, dominate” on a wall in her office, and that her first dream as a kid was actually to be the first woman in the NBA.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Two Latinas are working together to create a pipeline of diversity in STEM

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Young black male college student with black female teacher looking over computer graphic

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, collectively known as STEM make up the fastest-growing and highest paid fields in the U.S. with diverse job opportunities in careers ranging from aerospace engineers, programmer to operations director, yet Latinas only account for 3% of the industry.

Unfortunately, many Latinas are discouraged from pursuing STEM careers and loose interest in these disciplines as early as middle school. This is why early intervention curriculums like the ones provided by XYLO Academy are key to increasing the representation of Latinas in the STEM workforce.

Getting to college is another challenge as underrepresented students face steep costs and challenges to higher education. According to a recent study published in the journal Education Researcher Latino college students drop out of STEM programs at higher rates (37%) that their white peers (27%).

Continual increases in tuition and fees have pushed the cost of college education beyond the means of most minority and underrepresented students. This is why IO Scholarships offers free access to scholarships and financial education so high school, undergraduate and graduate students can find life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Despite all the challenges, these two Latinas are working together to fix the leaking pipeline, providing scholarships, and creating STEM curriculums for women of color.

Gabriela Forter
Co-founder XYLO Academy

Gabriela Forter headshot

Born and raised in the California San Joaquin Valley, Gabriela’s first introduction to entrepreneurship was during a course with Professor Rostamian at UCLA in 2015. This class significantly shaped not only her academic interests but also her career path. Gabriela and Professor Rostamian have now launched XYLO Academy to scale this same impact. After spending two and a half years at Deloitte Consulting, Gabriela joined Facebook, focusing on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. She is confident that the most meaningful changes in society will come from advancements in disruptive innovations and seeks to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM. She is committed to increasing diversity in STEM and believes that change starts with education.

“Our goal at XYLO Academy is to educate students on disruptive innovation and inspire them to pursue degrees and careers in STEM and with our partnership with IO Scholarships we are creating a pipeline for these students to have access to the best scholarships in STEM and realize their dreams.”

María Trochimezuk
Founder IO Scholarships

María Trochimezuk headshot

Her determination and hard work paid off as she won grants and scholarships to pay for her entire education. In realizing how time consuming and complicated the process of finding scholarships for STEM diverse students was, María Fernanda created IO Scholarships to make things much easier. She learned first-hand to find, apply for and win scholarships and became an advocate promoting scholarships nationwide.

“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IO Scholarships. “IO Scholarships will not only help underrepresented students find scholarships, but level the playing field so all students have the opportunity to achieve their education goals.”

ABOUT XYLO ACADEMY

We are a group of passionate and skilled storytellers. We believe that students everywhere should have the power and ability to access a world-class education. We believe that technology and innovation, especially disruptive innovation, provides unlimited potential for the future. XYLO Academy introduces this space to students in a bold, story-telling format breaking down any barriers that impede equal opportunity to explore, learn and thrive in the 5 disruptive innovation platforms: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies, Robotics, Energy Storage and Bio Tech. We have diverse experiences and backgrounds across technology, product innovations and education. We are united in our passion to provide equal access to the study of technology and innovation. Our diversity is our strength, and our mission is our singular focus. XYLO – Unlimited space for learning and opportunity.

ABOUT IO SCHOLARSHIPS

Most of the scholarships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education. Each month IO Scholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities.

In addition to providing scholarships, IO Scholarships website offers a free scholarship organizer, news articles designed to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarships, and money saving tips. The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IO Scholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com or for weekly STEM scholarships email maria.fernanda@ioscholarships.com.

STEM Internship Opportunities for Diverse Students

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diverse male student with mentor looking at computer screen together

IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships and internship opportunities. IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Statistically speaking, minorities tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. That’s why corporations often create internship opportunities for minorities entering the industry.

“As the job market is becoming more competitive in addition to GPA and personal achievements, employers want to see applicants who have completed one or more internships,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the many internships for minorities in STEM fields

Facebook Software Engineer Internship

The Software Engineer Internship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field. Interns will help build the next generation of systems behind Facebook’s products, create web applications that reach millions of people, build high volume servers, and be a part of a team that’s working to help people connect with each other around the globe.

Microsoft Internship Program

For Women and Minorities this program is specifically designed for undergraduate minority college freshmen and sophomores interested in a paid summer internship in software engineering. Students must major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related disciplines.

Minority Access Internship

The Minority Access Internship Program has internships on offered in the spring, summer and fall to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates, and professionals. Interns receive pre-employment training and counseling on career choices as well as professional development, with the possibility of full-time employment after graduation.

Google Internships

Google offers rich learning experiences for college students that include pay. As a technical intern, you are excited about tackling the hard problems in technology. With internships across the globe, ranging from Software Engineering to User Experience, Google offers many opportunities to grow with them.

The majority of the scholarships and internships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com.

Beyoncé Just Became The First Black Woman To Wear The Iconic Tiffany Diamond

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Beyonce wearing the Tiffany Diamond

By , NPR

Singer Beyoncé and her rapper husband Jay-Z are once again turning heads. And this time, they’re making history too.

The powerhouse couple is the new face of a Tiffany & Co. ad campaign “celebrating modern love,” the luxury jeweler announced Monday.

Photos from the ABOUT LOVE campaign — including several shared on Beyoncé’s Instagram account — are drawing admiration across social media, both for the stunning images and for the historic firsts they represent.

Beyoncé can be seen wearing a large yellow diamond necklace in the photos. That’s the iconic 128-carat Tiffany Diamond, which the company acquired in 1878 and rarely puts on display. (Audrey Hepburn famously wore it in publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Lady Gaga wore it to the 2019 Academy Awards.)

Beyoncé is only the fourth woman, and the first Black woman, to wear the diamond in more than a century.

That’s not the only milestone. Some of the photos show the couple posed in front of a large turquoise painting — Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Equals Pi. The 1982 work came from a private collection and has never been seen before in public, according to Tiffany.

This is also a personal first for the Carters. It’s the first campaign they’ve appeared in together, and Tiffany describes it as “an exploration of connection and vulnerability.” Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who got married in 2008, have a well-documented history of ups and downs, which NPR Music’s Rodney Carmichael walks us through here.

“Ushering in a new brand identity, this campaign embodies the beauty of love through time and all its diverse facets, forging a new vision of love today,” the company said.

Tiffany & Co. is also pledging $2 million toward scholarship and internship programs for historically Black colleges and universities, with more details on the initiative to come.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022