WVSU Students Elijah Roberts, Briana Edwards,
Joshua Means and Connor Kinder attend the
2016 TMCF Gala.
From November 18 through November 21, 2016, four West Virginia State University students attended the 29th Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute, as a part of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. There, we were provided with the opportunity to build leadership skills, network, and apply for internships/jobs.
Along with 400 other TMCF scholars, from 47 HBCUs, we came as students and left as professionals. To prepare us for the conference, TMCF required our attendance in four leadership related webinars, resume reviews, interview prep, workshops, and provided students with the resourced to take and utilize Gallup's Strengths Finder. Our advisor, Ms. Sharon Smith Banks, continually and consistently forfeited her time to ensure that each of us were well groomed, had proper attire, and were prepared for the conference, which we are exceedingly grateful for. Ms. Banks prepared us for business etiquette, elevator pitches, and what was to be expected from students at WVSU. She also made sure that we stood out among other HBCUs, and helped us to highlight the special characteristics of WVSU. Therefore, our attendance at the conference did not go unnoticed.
I, Briana Edwards, was able to participate with eitght other student leaders in several TMCF advertisements and leadership discussions. I interviewed with Hershey Company and spoke with recruiters from Texas A&M University's graduate program.
Joshua Means was asked to serve alongside four other HBCU students as a TMCF Media Scholar and speak with the press about what the TMCF Leadership Institute meant to him, and what he learned. He also joined those same four students in having a behind the scenes talk with Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries. Joshua was interviewed by The Caged Bird magazine and will also make a small appearance in a documentary about Koch Industries and TMCF. Joshua also was invited by Microsoft Corporation to interview for a potential job.
WVSU Student Government Association President Elijah Roberts met with United Airlines and participated in workshops with the United States Department of Agriculture. Connor Kinder interviewed with Altria and Wells Fargo.
Along with several other TMCF sponsors, we participated in 15 combined workshops. In close proximity to the U.S. national mall, we were able to visit several notable monuments (the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial). Many of us had never before seen the monuments in person, nor had visited Washington D.C.
TMCF made us realize how special our HBCU, West Virginia State University, truly is. One of a kind, WVSU is important and so are its students. As Joshua Means stated to the TMCF recruiters, "TMCF and leaders like Charles Koch prove to us that philanthropy and being the solution for tomorrow can start with each of us. To accept that we are fallible, to find our niche and how we can make the greatest impact on those who require our help, and to never stop the pursuit of learning are the pillars needed for tomorrow."
We want to thank the administrators at WVSU for providing us with the funding needed to truly experience Washington D.C. and TMCF. With this opportunity , we have become strong students, better leaders, and agents of change.
Ms. Briana Edwards