AT&T Awards Grambling $15,000 to Support HBCU Hackathon

Elected officials Senator Rick Gallot and State Representative Patrick Jefferson pose with Grambling State Interim President Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Ph.D. holding a $15,000 check from AT&T Aspire.
Photo courtesy of Grambling State University.
AT&T has provided a $15,000 ASPIRE contribution to support HBCU Hacks at Grambling State University. HBCU Hacks is a weekend hackathon that gives students at HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) the opportunity to flex their coding skills while working together to build mobile apps and web software, and attend a technology fair.

Many elected officials, including Senator Rick Gallot and State Representative Patrick Jefferson have been instrumental in assisting our university to expanded relationships with companies like AT&T,” stated Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Ph.D., RPh Interim President. “It’s essential that we continue to expose Grambling State University (GSU) students to careers in technology which will increase the number of students who major/minor in computer science, computer information systems, and engineering technology and expand their knowledge of the Internet in relation to entrepreneurial opportunities.”

“It is vital that we prepare tomorrow’s workforce today. Our country will need thousands of new employees to fill science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related jobs to meet the demands of the billions of dollars in new projects already in development,” said AT&T Louisiana President Sonia Perez. “It’s estimated that within the next year, Louisiana will have more than two million non-farm employees for the first time in its history. Supporting events like HBCU Hacks goes a long way toward preparing our future workforce at AT&T, across our state and the entire country.”

A hackathon is an event where individuals collaborate in a short and intense time period (typically 24 to 72 hours) to build a mobile or web application. A typical HBCUHackathon lasts for about 24 hours, and students from all majors are encouraged to attend and bring only an idea and a laptop. During the event, students form teams and work on an idea with a goal of building an app for web or mobile. Mentors are available during the event to help students build their app. This activity is guided by the Black Founders, a group of African American technology entrepreneurs located in Silicon Valley. Their mission is to increase the number of successful black entrepreneurs in technology. The HBCU Hackathon is conducted in conjunction with a Technology Career Fair to expose HBCU students to careers in technology. The Black Founders have conducted HBCU Hackathons at a number of HBCUs (Howard University, Spelman, Morgan State, and Morehouse). They noticed that the best student teams were often made up of diverse majors, for example, computer science, business, journalism, psychology. Programming experience is not required to attend an HBCU Hackathon, but familiarity with basic programming concepts is helpful or joining a team with a student programmer is encouraged.

AT&T Aspire funding recipients include non-profits, schools and school districts around the country that will expand programs to serve additional students, to add components to strengthen the program, or to replicate in new locations. Many of the awardees deliver integrated student supports, focus on college or career preparation, and/or provide mentoring or peer-to-peer supports to help students succeed in academics and beyond.

About Grambling State University Grambling State University

Located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university founded in 1901. The University has been accredited by 13 accrediting associations and hold accreditations in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The 590-acre campus offers 47 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Grambling State University is a member of the University of Louisiana Systems.

About Philanthropy at AT&T

AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.

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