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Columbia HBCU Fellows Speak About Their Experience and Offer Advice

Since 2017, Columbia University School of Professional Studies has been preparing talented, high-performing HBCU graduates to lead, innovate, drive community impact, and advance their professional industries through the Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program. Over 100 Fellows have graduated from the program since its inception and have gone on to excel in the finance, sports management, nonprofit management, finance, and medical fields, as others have continued their academic studies, including internationally

Throughout their time at the School, the Columbia HBCU Fellows are not only engaged students, but are leaders in the community. They bring their valued experience, knowledge, and perspectives to the University. This year’s cohort of eighteen fellows have made significant contributions to the School through their speaking engagements, mentorship of local high school students, and work in the school programs outside their courses.

Learn what this year’s Fellows have to say about the program, their advice to others thinking of applying, and the importance of community, as told to Summer Brown, Columbia HBCU Fellow in the M.S. in Sports Management program.

Casey quotes Ava DuVernay: 'When we’re talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us.'

The Columbia HBCU Fellowship has allowed me to grow personally and professionally among like minded exemplars of Black excellence."

My co-fellows have created an environment such that there is an excitement when I go out of the house knowing I could meet them on the road and that will make my day! Really, these are the moments that never die."

The best part of being a Columbia HBCU Fellow is the constant support I receive and being reminded that I am more than capable to do anything I set my mind to."

Never let your fear decide your future for growth starts at the end of your comfort zone. If it’s up to you, it’s up to you."

Being selected as a Columbia HBCU Fellow at SPS makes me proud to represent the value of an HBCU education and serve as a testament of scholarship.”

You belong here! You deserve to be here!"

Richard quotes James Baldwin: 'Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it right.'

Achieving success requires more than mere chance; it demands vision, persistent hard work, and the power of prayer.” 

Taryn-Marie quotes James Baldwin: 'Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.'

I needed only one person to believe in my dream. Now I have a multicultural family rooting for me all across Columbia. The HBCU Fellowship Program made this family possible.”

Being part of the Columbia HBCU Fellowship is like being part of a tight-knit family, where our shared experiences and common dreams empower us to rise together and break barriers!”

Jaliah quotes Will Durant: 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.'

I chose the Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program to embrace the ethos of ‘Lift as We Climb,’ signifying my commitment to personal growth through academics & leadership development.”

I am forever grateful to be selected as a Columbia HBCU Fellow and to pursue a Master of Science in Sports Management at Columbia University.”

Akosua quotes Pauli Murray: 'True community is based upon equality, mutuality, and reciprocity. It affirms the richness of individual diversity as well as the common human ties that bind us together.'