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Celebrating Five Years of the Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program: Past, Present, and Future

The following text is drawn from remarks Dean Eggers gave at the Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program Five-Year Celebration on November 4, 2022. 

This fall, we are celebrating the past, the present, and the future of the incredible Columbia HBCU Fellowship program.

The fellowship has quickly become a flagship program and an immense source of pride; not only for SPS but also for the University at large. We remain committed to supporting and growing the fellowship in the years ahead. 

One aspect of this program, as with all of the academic programming at SPS, is that it was built to influence the industries in which we teach and work. We are dedicated to helping our graduates succeed in their individual careers, and we are also dedicated to connecting HBCUs and leadership roles at major global organizations. 

We do this in a number of ways, from fostering our robust career development programs to connecting them to prestigious internships and employment opportunities. And we ensure that our graduates leave here having fully embraced the values of mentorship and community service. 

So—what have our alumni been up to since graduating? 

Timia Whitsey is a fellow from Hampton University, and graduated from the Strategic Communication program in 2020. While in the fellowship, she worked with her internship sponsor ViacomCBS, and impressed the company so much that it helped her secure a role on their production team. She has since moved into recruiting for none other than Walt Disney Studios. 

Shami-Iyabo Mitchell, a fellow from Spelman College, graduated with her M.S. in Bioethics in 2020. She cited the Bioethics program as helping distinguish her in the medical school application process. She received six medical school acceptances and is slated to earn her M.D. from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2026. 

Damian James Murray, a fellow from Jackson State University, earned his Technology Management degree in 2021. He was named a Schwarzman Scholar, one of the world’s most prestigious graduate fellowships, and went on to study global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing. 

There are just a few examples of examples of our student success stories. As we look to the future, I want to challenge everyone to commit to helping us do more. What should we be doing with the fellowship that we are not yet doing? How can we have greater influence across Columbia, or across the workplace? We welcome all of your bold, new ideas. Most importantly, we want you to keep in touch, and stay involved.