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Meet The Scholars

Abigail Carlton Heading link

Abigail Carlton

Major:  Information & Decisions Science

Classification:  Senior

“Being a part of the Black Tech Scholars Program has helped me gain stamina when problem solving. In the past, I gave up on large problems quickly because of self-doubt.  I now realize that most problems that seem large and complex, are only a series of smaller problems. By asking my fellow scholars questions when I have issues, I removed roadblocks quickly as well as grew consistent connections. This program helped me to push past big problems, gain confidence in my work, as well as acquire and maintain long lasting connections.”

David Robinson Heading link

David Robinson

Major:  Information & Decision Science

Classification:  Graduating Senior / Class of 2020

“BTS was an excellent program for my personal growth and development as it exposed me to many aspects of the tech space, (coding, cyber, jobs, languages, etc.) and provided a great environment for me to learn new valuable skills. This was a fun extracurricular activity where I could meet and hang around other like-minded individuals on campus outside of class hours. The hackathons are also beneficial as they are a unique test to sum up the year, I’ve learned a lot in both my two years of experiences! I am proud to be a Black Tech Scholar.”

Elizabeth Lopez Heading link

Elizabeth Lopez

Major:  Marketing

Classification:  Sophomore

“During my participation in BTS, I have learned the process on how the development of an app becomes a reality. As a marketing major, I came to BTS not having any prior knowledge in coding or app development. This program helped me learn some basics of coding that I could possibly use in my future career. As a marketer, it is important to know detailed information on the product one is promoting in order to effectively gain interest from the public audience. Getting an on-hands experience in making a product has not only taught me how much hard work people in the tech industry put into their products, but as well as the importance of communication and teambuilding in order to successfully make it.”  

Hajara-Yasmin Isa Heading link

Major:  Computer Science

Classification:  Sophomore

“I joined Black Tech Scholars (BTS) in hopes of gaining some experience in app development, yet I received so much more. Not only was I exposed to real world challenges but was equipped with skills to tackle problems using technology which helped me land my first tech internship. The BTS environment is a friendly atmosphere in which you can share and collaborate with fellow peers. The program is a great place to start into the tech realm and I recommend it to all students looking for success in or outside the digital world.”


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Tariq Portis Heading link

Tariq Portis

Major:  Computer Engineering

Classification:  Junior

“During my participation within the Black Tech Scholars Program, I have had plenty of wonderful experiences. It has given me opportunities of networking, receiving tours of multiple workplaces, and experiencing those work environments. The program has provided a chance to learn terminology and techniques related to working in teams, including roles, responsibilities, and development processes. Learning app building strategies and implementations with Unity was a new and interesting experience that also honed my programming and research skills. Overall, Black Tech Scholars has been an enriching experience that I am happy to have had the chance to participate in.”

Nicholas Hart Heading link

Nicholas Hart

Major:  Math & Computer Science

Classification:  Sophomore

“Black Tech Scholars helped me realize my passion for solving critical problems and building connections with my peers and partnering companies. Being a part of this amazing program has helped me learn about different career opportunities in tech and how I could obtain them. Anyone who goes through this program will learn and connect with amazing peers and different companies to help you grow as a person.”

Jasmine Johnson Heading link

Jasmine Johnson

Major:  Communication

Classification:  Sophomore

“My experience within the Black Tech Scholars has been something life changing. This program provided the appropriate resources that allowed me to explore and acquire skills in tech from application development to professional development. The biggest thing I learned in my experience is that no matter the level of difficulty, you can learn any program with practice executing the steps. This is why it is extremely important to persevere through discouraging feelings and believe in yourself and your capabilities.”

Xavier Meyer Heading link

Xavier Meyer

Major:  Math & Computer Science

Classification:  Senior

“This program has been a game changer to my college education. College’s greatest purpose is to network in a melting pot of individuals that you would not have met otherwise. Black Tech Scholars takes it a step further. Mr. Fields, Program Coordinator of the Black Tech Scholars Program and Associate Director of AAAN, challenges us every meeting and event to communicate with some of the best developers and managers in their own technological fields. I learned a lot from a delivery director and software developer who can program almost anything. Each year, they mentor us then let us compete against each other in applying the skills they have taught us. Last year’s competition was an android budgeting app, and this year’s competition was a unity math game app. Although these are not the projects of an aspiring data scientist, however through the mentoring, job shadowing, and speakers, the Black Tech Scholars program taught me the mind and heart of a programmer. More than specializing early on, the program taught me how to solve problems, program with a team, and make something of my own with these skills. Black Tech Scholars made me more confident in my ability to learn.”

Siji Adisa Heading link

Siji Adisa

Major:  Math & Computer Science

Classification:  Sophomore

“Being a full time Math and Computer science student, I have never for once stopped looking for more ways to improve my skills pertaining to technology and learning the use of more technology tools to put my ideas into concrete form. Joining the Black Tech Scholars Program and learning how to use Unity and Gitkraken have definitely made me more exposed to creating apps. It has also sharpened my skills in coding. Working with Chicago’s fast rising tech company, Productive edge, has given me the opportunity to interact with professionals in the industry that will guide me through my journey in the tech industry. From the job shadowing events at Productive Edge to participating in resume building and mock interview workshops, I couldn’t be more motivated as a Black woman in STEM to have such an opportunity, whereby a company works with you closely to ensure that you have everything within your reach to succeed in the tech industry. My commitment, work ethic, self-motivation and desire to be the best at what I do have made my interest in computer science grow enormously.  More importantly, my participation within the program has made me more confident about my coding and merging skills. My future goal is to contribute to our society through technological advancement that I will create.    I foresee a new era of technology and a different way to put our dreams and imaginations into concrete form. So, what are we waiting for? I strongly believe that individuals who work within the tech industry are people who enjoy change, and people who enjoy change are the engines of human development.” 

Jabriel Crawford Heading link

Jabriel Crawford

Major:  Computer Science

Classification:  Junior

“Because of the Black Tech Scholars Program, I have been able to gain valuable experience that stretches beyond the classroom. I was able to work to develop an app with a team of my peers. This process taught me real world developing strategies, teamwork, and has brought me new friends and connections, all of which I will take with me into my professional career and personal life. The Black Tech Scholars Program has given me an experience that most other students do not receive, and I am definitely a much better programmer because of it.”

Mikilah Garner Heading link

Mikilah Garner

Major:  Computer Engineering

Classification:  Freshmen

“My participation in Black Tech Scholars Program has helped me to broaden my horizons and delve even more into my passion. The Black Tech Scholars Program has not only expanded my thinking but it has helped me with beginning coding, networking and even professionalism. Further, the organization has assisted greatly during my first year as a computer science major. I began to learn and share experiences with those in similar situations as my own; obtain knowledge of interview etiquette and how to properly create an application utilizing Unity Hub. At first, I was completely out of my comfort zone, and the program went above and beyond to challenge me, my thinking, my passion and most importantly, my future as a Computer Scientist/ Engineer. Before, I had an epiphany while contemplating indulging in the opportunity before me. I could either take a great opportunity and grow from the new challenges or I could continue to doubt and limit myself; give up. However, with leaders such as Mr. Fields, I knew giving up was not an option, nor do I regret my choice to prevail through the challenge. Black Tech Scholars has given me skills I’ll continue to build-on and take me with through my future years; skills of devotion, focus, and most importantly, team-work.”