Howard University Debuts Google Campus And A New Executive
Howard University, one of the country’s most elite HBCUs, has two major developments in 2017 when it comes to STEM and strategic planning. The significant news in tech for the 150-year-old Washington D.C. institution is the launch of Howard West, a campus situated at Google’s sprawling Mountain View, California headquarters.
Getting Beyond 1% Black
The new Howard West campus, which debuted this summer, allows selected rising juniors and seniors in the computer science program to spend three months at Google learning what it takes to earn a position with the tech giant. The students are given a stipend for housing and expenses and Howard West enrollees receive 12 credits towards graduation. The launch class is composed of a couple dozen students.
“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us,” said Howard University president Wayne A. I. Frederick in a press release.
Silicon Valley is intensely and notoriously not Black. At Google in particular, a 2016 study found that a mere 1% of its employees identified as Black. Howard West is an attempt to get qualified Black techies into the pipeline. Some have suggested that while admirable, initiatives like Howard West are not enough to move the diversity needle in a significant way.
Time will tell what impact the program will have in the long run, but for now the chosen students enjoy a space specifically designed for them to encounter Google employees in organic ways during work, study, and leisure.
A Sprinkle of STEM #BlackGirlMagic
Another major announcement this year for Howard is the hiring of Tashni-Ann Dubroy as the new executive vice president and chief operating officer. Dubroy is currently the president of Shaw University where she spearheaded initiatives that increased enrollment and closed a $4 million fundraising gap. She also oversaw the launch of Shaw University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center in North Carolina.
In addition to being an administrative leader, Dubroy is also a business owner. She co-founded the popular hair care line Tea and Honey Blends. That combined with her MBA and her PhD in physical organic chemistry, provides her with a unique set of skills to bring to Howard, a university that has had recent controversies in the realms of leadership and strategic planning.
“Howard is among the finest of higher education institutions and HBCUs and embraces innovation in teaching, learning and service, endowing students with the knowledge and skills they need to be competitive in the workforce,” said Dubroy in a statement.
Dubroy begins her role at Howard in October 2017.
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