The HBCU Advocate helped nearly 1,000 HBCU students from more than 75 HBCUs register and attend The HBCU Futures Conference this year. The conference included over 50 speakers, and topics ranging from Maintaining mental wellness during college and beyond; This is how we do it: How HBCU entrepreneurs are changing the game; Run the World: HBCU women in STEM share their unique journeys to success; HBCU Museums & Libraries: Turning history into trea$ure; and Careers to Impact Environmental Justice. The theme for this year’s nine-day conference was Charting Our Own Path. The conference also included fireside chats with Dr. Mathew Knowles, entertainment mogul, co-founder of Destiny’s Child, and father of Beyonce and Solange Knowles, and another chat with Dr. Rochelle L. Ford, 8th president of Dillard University.
The winner of the business startup pitch contest, Pitch: HBCU, was Alston Clark, an alumnus of Howard University. He won $10,000 in equity-free funding and mentorship for his business, Zion Roar. Clark is currently selling a sea moss product on Amazon. Attendees could watch the final round of Pitch: HBCU which featured six businesses led by HBCU founders.
On Student Success Day, Terri T. Thomas, community manager at JPMorgan Chase & Co. hosted A Money Matters Workshop, where she educated the students about financial health workshops, which gave them knowledge about good saving habits, how to invest in their future, and developing a retirement plan. Students who registered for the event were eligible for the Daily Book Scholarship giveaway and had the opportunity to receive laptops and book scholarships during the conference for the entire month of September. A few winners were Brooklyn King, a junior at Howard University, Asiah Ali, a junior at North Carolina Central University, Jacody Bearden, a freshman at Alabama State University, Lillian McNeal, a freshman at Fayetteville State University, and many more. The session Career Conversations with JPMorgan Chase shared with students JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to HBCUs through their Advancing Black Pathways program, and tips for securing a spot in their fellowship program.
The students were thrilled to hear about the importance of higher education and were able to leave the event ready to prepare for the future. They were also excited to learn about the many opportunities from the speakers, take away valuable information they can apply to life beyond college, and engage with current students and alumni at the virtual conference. “I enjoyed the conference and all the knowledge that I’ve gained”, said Opeyeoluwa Olanipekun, a sophomore at Alabama A&M University, “It was a great experience to see so many students taking advantage of the opportunities the conference has to offer.”
JPMorgan Chase was the title sponsor of this year’s HBCU Futures Conference and The HBCU Advocate, The National Science Foundation, and Plexo Capital were supporting sponsors. For additional information about the HBCU Futures Conference and to keep up to date with HBCU information and upcoming events, visit www.thehbcuadvocate.com.