Eight N.C. A&T Students Headed for Silicon Valley "Tech Trek"

Greensboro, N.C. (Oct. 24, 2017) - Eight students will represent North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University at the Fifth Annual UNCF Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Summit (I.C.E.) Oct. 25-29, in Silicon Valley.

Brandon Long, Uthman Alibalogun, Thandiwe Brown, Duy Bui, Oluchi Chukwunyere, Demondre Livingston, LaJay Norvell and Kerry Wilson will travel throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area on an HBCU “Tech Trek” tour visiting Google-YouTube, Pure Storage, Adobe, eBay, NetApp, Salesforce, Veritas, Twitter, Uber, WalmartLabs and Yelp, engaging with engineers at various panels and workshops.

“This is year two for me. I am excited to be back because I’ll be operating more so as a mentor to younger students by helping them to navigate their journey to obtaining roles in the Bay,” said Long, a senior computer science student.

The four-day summit will serve as an empowerment tool for African American students to not only chart their career paths within STEM fields, but also as a forum to address the glaring gaps in tech diversity that exist in Silicon Valley while also developing new and productive professional relationships.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that employment in STEM fields will  increase by more than 9 million jobs between 2012 and 2022. African Americans represent only 6 percent of the STEM workforce and according to 2015 data from The New York Times, the percentage of minorities working at Silicon Valley giants is even less. Self-reported data from 11 major tech giants, according to reporting from CNET.com of the same year, reveals that less than 30 percent of their workforce is comprised of women. Of the participating HBCU Innovation Summit students, nearly 40 percent are women.

“We believe that HBCUs, the students they serve, and faculty they employ, have the ability to drive innovation and meet the high standards of the highly competitive job market. However, without increased public and private support, the divide will continue,” said UNCF’s national STEM director, Dr. Chad Womack.

Through fierce competition, summit scholars were selected based on GPAs, personal statements, internships, computer science skills and demonstrated leadership. According to UNCF, the average GPA for this year’s cohort is 3.5.

N.C. A&T will check in with Long, also serving as an official summit ambassador, throughout the event for updates. Follow along on Twitter.