Getting an HBCU Computer Science Education 2,500 Miles from the Nearest HBCU Campus

UNCF students in San Francisco and the Bay Area are accustomed to being 2,500 miles from the nearest HBCU classroom. But for four days in October, UNCF welcomed over 100 HBCU students majoring in computer science or computer science-related fields to what amounted to a learning venue in the middle of UNCF San Francisco’s Northern California service area when it convened its fifth annual HBCU Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley. The student and faculty attendees represented 38 HBCUs.

Students participated in an intense, two-day Silicon Valley Tech Tour, during which they visited with representatives, engineers, and executives of 12 cutting edge companies, such as Google, eBay, Twitter, Uber, NetApp, Veritas, Walmart, Symantec and Workday.

Students had the opportunity to participate in challenges and contests throughout the week designed to stretch their tech skills to their limits. They finished the event with the Tech Empowerment Workshop, which covered subjects such as how to network with recruiters, insider tips on acing the technical interview, and roadmaps to entrepreneurship.

Several students accepted employment and internship offers at the Innovation Summit. “I’ve officially decided I’ll be going to Microsoft upon my graduation to be a software engineer,” North Carolina A&T State University student Brandon Long, told HBCU Buzz. “The past four days have been truly amazing. With all the top companies here in the Bay Area, I’ve been able to interview with many of them.”

But it wasn’t just students who benefitted from the Innovation Summit. HBCU computer science faculty members also met with companies to exchange ideas and gain exposure to cutting-edge trends in the tech world, which they can then incorporate into their curriculum.

UNCF is now known throughout Silicon Valley and the Bay Area as the premier organization for connecting African American students and our HBCU institutions with the world’s greatest tech ecosystem, and for creating opportunity for both students and tech companies.