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Tennessee State University, Apple team up to increase diversity in coding (240 hits)

In an effort to expose diverse students to opportunities in the technology field, Tennessee State University launched an initiative last week that brings students from across the country to learn from tech-giant Apple.

The inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy, hosted on Friday by TSU, is meant to expose students of color to coding and application development.

"The goal is to make sure HBCUs are not only up to date, but are creators and innovators of this new technology," said Robbie Melton, TSU’s interim Dean of Graduates and Professional Studies and the initiative’s main facilitator.

The program is meant to keep TSU and other HBCUs in the forefront of technology initiatives to ensure students of color have exposure to coding opportunities.

"If we are not able to keep up with technology, like with anything else, we become obsolete," Melton said.

The coding and app program last week brought together students from 14 historically black colleges and universities.

“Coding and app development is a growing part of the global workforce, and we want to help make sure people of color, especially our students, are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be competitive, and successful," said TSU President Glenda Glover.

The students learned through Apple's comprehensive coding curriculum, which uses Swift programming language. Apple also provided equipment, scholarships and professional development services for the initiative.

Apple environment, policy and social initiatives vice president Lisa Jackson said the company is thrilled to be working with TSU and HBCUs to expand opportunities to underrepresented groups.

"Students of all backgrounds should have the opportunity to learn to code ... " Jackson said. "We are proud to be part of a sustainable community network that is increasing access to teaching and learning."

The initiative's goal was for the participants to think of applications that can better the community.

Melton said, for example, some students focused on an application on how to find parking at TSU. But the goal is for the students to take the skills learned and give back to their communities.

"We have so much to contribute," Melton said. "If we are leaving HBCUs out, you are going to miss out on major talents, skills and knowledge.

"Apple is tapping in, knowing that without diversity you won't be able to solve the world's problems."

Jason Gonzales, Nashville Tennessean

Posted By: Elynor Moss
Tuesday, July 23rd 2019 at 10:19AM
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