Three N.C. 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 recipients of the inaugural program from participating historically black colleges and universities.

Apple HBCU Scholars Program is the first of its kind to utilize the nearly untapped pool of exceptional students and resources of HBCUs. Recipients must have at least a 3.3 GPA to participate in the program, which is open to undergraduate and graduate students in various fields. They will gain unprecedented access to different departments within the company, be paired with an Apple employee for three months, and receive $25,000 during the senior year of study. 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,” Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said. “Apple is actually demonstrating its commitment.”

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. Last fall, the recipients were welcomed in Washington, D.C., by Grambling State University graduate and Apple vice president of worldwide human resources, Denise Young Smith. Smith commended and applauded the students for proving themselves “exceptionally capable.”