Cheyney Students Reflect on Their Experiences at the 10th Annual HBCU Career Development Marketplace
November 27, 2017
From November 1 – 3, 2017, eight Cheyney University of Pennsylvania students participated in the 10th Annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Career Development Marketplace, in College Park, MD. The 3-day conference, which saw over 400 students from over 20 HBCUs, provided attendees with the opportunity to meet and network with potential employers, engage in related workshops and be inspired by conference speakers.
The Cheyney students that assembled the eight-person team included, Britani Harrison (junior), Kelvonn Hucks (senior), Arynn Pratt (sophomore), Nazirah Purnell (freshmen), Nehemiah Revell (junior), Courtney Stewart (senior), Blaine Lewis-Thompson (freshmen), and Roi Walker (senior). Associate Director of Student Health & Wellness programs, Tia Brown was also present to serve as the advisor and chaperone for the conference. Travel and other accommodations for the conference were supported by President Walton and The Cheyney Foundation.
The HBCU Career Development Marketplace not only lent the opportunity for students to immerse themselves in career related activities, but each year attendees also participate in an oral competition. One that allows students to flex their public speaking, team-work and academic muscles on thought provoking topics related to politics and government relations. This year’s topic, The Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and How It Impacts Us prompted the Cheyney team to present a serious analysis comparing the topic to the amount of funding the government provides to the department of defense vs. funding education.
“Although our students did not place in the competition, I can proudly and emphatically say that their presentation was top notch and the most unique as they utilized comparative analysis as it related specifically to impact,” shared Brown. “More intriguing was their analysis of the discrepancies in funding that Cheyney, and other HBCUs, receive in comparison to predominately white institutions."
Though a few weeks have passed since attending the conference, students remain enthusiastic about their individual experiences at the annual event. Check out the excerpts below from several Cheyney students, now sharing in-depth about what they gained from attending this one of a kind, professional development expo.
“I am beyond grateful that my fellow classmates and I were able to attend the 2017 HBCU Career Marketplace Conference this year. Not only was I happy that I had the opportunity to network with many different companies, and to have support on how to create a good resume, but I was able to meet so many fellow college students from different HBCUs. Thank you, Mr. Tariq Shane CEO, for creating such a wonderful opportunity that allows HBCU students to learn how to succeed in the cooperate world. Thank you to all who supported my fellow Cheyney family and I with this amazing opportunity and highlight the 1st HBCU!”
Brittani is a Psychology major Chester, PA. Post-graduation, she plans on attending graduate school to study Childhood and Adolescence Counseling.
“While at the conference, I gained many connections and networking experiences that will help aid my career path in Marketing. One of my favorite moments, was meeting a gentleman by the name of Willis S. Harris III, a Diversity and Inclusion, HR professional at the Albemarle County Public Schools in Albemarle, VA. We spoke at length about many different topics, but what stood out the most, was that he complimented me and assured me that, despite us not sharing similar careers, he was willing to keep in contact, to assist me with discovering job opportunities that aligned with some of my interests. I truly appreciate Mr. Harris' willingness to help.
The information I gathered from this opportunity, has inspired me to continue my own career research, which will ultimately better assist me in narrowing down my focus regarding my career path. Overall, I found this conference very beneficial and I would love to attend again in the future.”
Kelvonn is a junior, dual Mass Communications (with a concentration in Television Production) and Hotel Tourism Restaurant Management (HRTM) major from Washington D.C. After college he aspires to become a Brand Ambassador for a large company, with a focus in Marketing and Promotions.
“Attending the 2017 HBCU Career Management Conference was a pleasure. Through this conference, I️ developed leadership skills and gained an opportunity for professional development. The most enjoyable parts of the conference were hearing the testimonials of different presenters and being able to interact with other HBCU students.”
Arynn is a sophomore, Psychology major and Biology Minor from Pittsburgh, PA. Post-graduation, she plans to go to medical school to pursue a career in Psychiatry.
“I was extremely grateful to attend the 10th annual HBCU Career Development Marketplace (CDM) conference as a freshman. Though the event is typically for juniors and seniors, it helped me learn a lot about the real world and what I need to do to prepare for the workforce. Workshops such as resume building were very helpful. I went to the conference as someone who didn't know what to put on my resume or how to format it, and with the help of professionals and facilitators who hire others and read resumes every day, I walked out with a solid one.
My favorite part of the conference was being able to meet and network with people from other HBCUs who aspire to one day have the same career as me, as well as those who are already in the profession. Hearing from those who were already successful in the law field and being able to ask questions about their journey to where they are makes me confident in my own.
The most important thing I took from the HBCU CDM conference was learning the value and importance of HBCUs and that we are just as valuable, if not more, than PWIs. It was reassuring to learn that there are people who have made it big that have come from HBCUs and I can do the same.”
Nazirah is a freshman majoring in Political Science.
“At this conference I was able to learn and focus on developing networking skills and had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people from different career pathways, all while having fun. Overall, I had great time and would love to participate again next year and recommend that other students attend so that they can enjoy this experience as well.”
Nehemiah is a junior, majoring in Psychology from Philadelphia PA. Post-graduation he plans to attend graduate school at Lincoln University to major in Counseling and minor in Business Administration and aspires to open up his own practice incorporating Music Therapy and counseling since he is a self-proclaimed musician at heart.
“During the conference, we participated in various workshops covering topics such as resume building and how to be the best "YOU" that you can be. One of our guest speakers, Ms. Lucinda Cross left me with some very inspiring words that I️ would like to share; “Your success is contingent on your thinking.” From this quote I️ took that no matter who you are and what you have going on in your life, if you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. I believe that God never gives you more than you can handle.
As graduation is coming for most of us, from this experience I learned to: continue to keep the faith, love yourself and all your flaws, push through and “secure the bag”. Overall, my favorite activity was the daily roll call because it was what helped us open up and interact with each other the most.”
Roi is a current senior, Social Relations major with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Pittsburgh, PA.
Students photographed: (from L to R) Top row: Britani Harrison, Arynn Pratt, Courtney Stewart, Nazirah Purnell. Bottom row: Nehemiah Revell, Roi Walker, Blaine Lewis-Thompson and Kelvonn Hucks