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Three North Carolina A&T State University students are recipients of the newly created Apple HBCU Scholars Program—a partnership between Apple Inc. and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Angelica Willis, Paul Hammond and Zanetta Tyler were among 31 other scholarship recipients of the inaugural program from participating historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The Apple HBCU Scholars Program is the first of its kind to utilize the nearly untapped pool of exceptional students and resources of HBCUs. Scholarship recipients must have at least a 3.3 GPA to participate in the program, which is open to undergraduate as well as graduate students in various fields. They will gain unprecedented access to different departments within the company.

Each student will be awarded $25,000 during their senior year of study. Additionally, recipients will be paired with an Apple employee for three months. They will also participate in a 10-day, see-it-all visit to the company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., prior to the internship.

“Many companies talk about wanting a more diverse workforce. Apple is actually demonstrating its commitment,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Following the completion of the internship, students are simply required to spread the word about the program at their respective schools. The generated excitement has the potential to develop a continual stream of partnerships and additional opportunities between HBCUs and Apple, as well as the development of similar programs with other major companies.

On Nov. 13, the recipients were welcomed in Washington, D.C. by Grambling State graduate and Apple vice president of worldwide human resources, Denise Young Smith. Smith commended and applauded the students for proving themselves “exceptionally capable.” As a graduate of an HBCU, Smith’s attendance provided an example of the abilities and proficiency of graduates from HBCUs.