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Apple awards scholarships to three FAMU engineering students

Story by
Trisha Radulovich
FAMU-FSU Engineering Apple Scholars for 2021
The Apples Scholars are from left, Aaron Smith, a 2nd-year mechanical engineering student, Sierra Smith, a 2nd-year civil engineering student and Alleana Jacobs at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Tech giant Apple is awarding millions in grants to HBCUs in a new partnership program with colleges and universities to develop the talent of outstanding students attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Three FAMU-FSU Engineering undergraduate students are among the latest recipients of the scholarship award program initiative launched in June 2020. 

The Apple Scholars Engineering and Innovation Scholarship Award is part of a new program established by Apple in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU students.

Sierra Smith, Alleana Jacobs and Aaron Smith are Florida A&M University students majoring in civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering at the joint college with Florida State University. 

“We are quite impressed with the nominated students and are honored to award the scholarship to such talented and deserving students,” Tamara Thompson, the Senior Director of Programs, Thurgood Marshall College Fund said. 

Resources to Thrive

The scholarship award answers a pressing need for some HBCU students, particularly in a high-stress, study-intensive major like engineering. The funding is designed to complement the financial aid students receive from other sources for tuition and other education expenses, such as books and housing. As a result, students are able to attend and complete college at an affordable cost.

“I am a second-year civil engineering major,” Sierra Smith said. “I hope to become a construction manager…and start a STEM program for the Black and brown students in my community. This scholarship award is a great help to my educational expenses and it will allow me to be able to focus on my studies and additional educational opportunities.” 
The undergraduates will each receive a $15,000 merit-based scholarship award and mentorship opportunities while enjoying an immersive Apple experience. The program is highly competitive and targets students studying computer science and engineering. Three scholarship awards are awarded at each of the 15 ABET-accredited and AMIE-affiliated engineering schools within the HBCU community.

Leveraging Dedicated Programs for Success

The three FAMU students are also part of the college’s National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Educating Engineering Students Innovatively (EESI) program that provides academic, professional and technical skills supports for HBCU undergraduates. 

“Each of these students are deserving of this great accomplishment,” Charmane Caldwell, Ph.D., the college’s student access and EESI program director said. “They have shown dedication to becoming conscious engineers that will impact their community. I have enjoyed working with them in the EESI program and seeing their growth.” 


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