Tache Johnson, a junior at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, is just back from California where she spent a week learning all about Apple, one of the top technology companies in the world. Come May, Apple will pay her to intern for 12 weeks this summer. The Keystone Honors Academy Scholar is one of 34 students selected from more than 1400 applicants from across the nation for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the technology giant.
“Being able to meet the empowering innovative teams at Apple has been a life-changing experience,” shared Johnson, who was on the west coast for the first time ever. “Everyone has been so nice, people have given me some wonderful advice, and I’ve really learned a lot. I’m super excited I got this.”
The Math and Computer Science double major will work in Cupertino, CA beginning May 15. She will live in Apple’s corporate housing for interns, get paid well for her efforts, and may even receive up to $25,000 in scholarship money for her senior year at Cheyney. The West Philadelphia native will have an Apple mentor throughout her experience, receive an opportunity to develop key skills, enhance her resume and help launch her career through the hands-on experience.
This is the second year of the initiative that Apple launched in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to provide opportunities in the tech industry for students and enhance engagement with faculty on HBCU campuses. While at Apple headquarters for the immersion experience, Johnson learned "more about the company’s culture, ecosystem and community."
“Tache has demonstrated tremendous initiative during her time at Cheyney University. She constantly seeks opportunities that will further enhance her experiences and skills, and she dedicates herself to taking something away from each of these opportunities,” explained Dr. Tara Kent, Cheyney’s Associate Provost. “She is an exemplary student, who is committed to learning and growth. We are all very proud of her.”
Apple paid for all of Johnson’s expenses for Immersion Week and will pay for everything this summer, too, including the round-trip flight. Part of the reason the first-generation college student chose Cheyney for undergraduate study was because her 3.4 GPA got her a full-ride, removing the burden of how she would pay for her education.
“I’m going to be the first in my family to graduate with a college degree. Cheyney has helped ease what would have been a big financial burden because I wasn't sure how I would pay for school. Cheyney was most definitely the right choice for me and a good fit. The staff has been encouraging, they've provided guidance, and even nudged me to apply for opportunities when I might not have otherwise,” admitted Johnson. “The classes are in a smaller setting so you are known as a name and not a number. A CU education gives you the tools you need to succeed and go forth to serve.”
According to Nicole Rayfield, Director of Student Programs for Cheyney’s Honors Academy, Johnson was a shy freshman who stayed behind the scenes until sophomore year when she really blossomed.
“When she arrived on campus from the summer break, she immediately sought out help to create a strong resume, enhance her LinkedIn profile and attend as many professional development events as she could,” recalled “In working with her one-on-one, I saw her confidence increase and she began to seek out challenges and opportunities that she had previously dismissed.”
Her initiative and persistence paid off. First, she became an ambassador for the TMCF and was selected to attend a three day all-expenses-paid entrepreneurial training and development conference (Opportunity Funding Corporation) in Atlanta, GA that brought 80 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) together. Her team placed second in a Hack-a-thon by building a phone app in two days that helps teach children math without giving the complete answer and allows them to learn from their mistakes. A paid 10-week internship with the United States Department of Defense (DOD) in Aberdeen, MD followed where she worked alongside a Physicist within the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate of the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground. That TMCF-sponsored internship could reportedly lead to a job with the DOD for the energetic Johnson once she graduates in May 2018.
“Many times I found myself discouraged and tired in a male-dominated field,” admitted Johnson, who never thought she’d study in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines where African American women are a double minority. She fell in love with computer science at Cheyney, buckled down and decided to give it her all. "I think one should never underestimate your own strengths," she said. "Everyone has their own purpose and with hard work, determination and faith, you will be able to achieve anything."
She should know. She is living proof. Last November, Johnson attended the TMCF Leadership Conference in Washington, DC and spread her wings.
“I did a lot of networking. I went up to recruiters and introduced myself and gave them copies of my resume. While there, I met the first inaugural class of Apple interns and they were all raving about their experiences. I am in the second class of Apple interns and I can’t wait to go back to California and start working there.”
Last August, she was invited to present her research at a science symposium in Maryland. Earlier this month, Johnson held a seminar on campus to encourage other students to step out of their comfort zones and begin to take advantage of all that Cheyney has to offer via partnerships with outside organizations such as TMCF.
“I wanted to branch out and be an asset to others by sharing my journey and my story of how I got some of the opportunities that have been offered to me. TMCF helped me build my portfolio in terms of travel, competitions, presenting my work, the leadership institute and so much more.”
“I am extremely proud of all of Tache’s accomplishments and I have no doubt that her list of achievements will continue to grow as she continues to seek out new opportunities for lifelong enrichment,” remarked Rayfield. “Tache Johnson is the type of student that every educator wants to mentor, teach and support in their personal and professional development.”
A member of the National Society of Leadership & Success, the Association for Computing Machinery, and several honors societies, the aspiring computer programmer hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Engineering once she graduates from Cheyney.
You can access a photo library of Tache’s work and accomplishments via the Multimedia Gallery.
A liberal arts university, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania hosts signature programs such as the Keystone Honors Academy, the Aquaculture Research and Education Laboratory, and the accredited Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management program. Recognized as the nation’s 1st HBCU, Cheyney University has been educating students since 1837. The University offers baccalaureate and graduate degree programs at two locations, Cheyney and Philadelphia, PA – Center City. For more information, please visit the website at www.cheyney.edu.
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper
Monday, February 20th 2017 at 1:14PM
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