FOSSI | FOSSI's Visit to North Carolina A&T State University Sparks Life-Changing Connections

FOSSI's Visit to North Carolina A&T State University Sparks Life-Changing Connections

FOSSI scholars and sponsors enjoy a great day together on campus.
FOSSI scholars and sponsors enjoy a great day together on campus.
February 13, 2024

On January 24, FOSSI visited the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C.—home to 75 FOSSI scholars! Excitement and energy filled the Deese Ballroom as scholars, over 40 members of 18 FOSSI sponsor companies, and a distinguished group of A&T faculty and administrators came together to meet and network. Scholars also had the opportunity to get a professional headshot captured by outstanding Greensboro photographer Alphonso Abbott.  

Following a buffet lunch, Jason McAlpine, Senior Vice President, Performance Materials North America, BASF, led a packed program with remarks from Dr. Leotis Parrish, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Success, College of Engineering; Ashley Christopher, Esq., Founder & CEO, HBCU Week Foundation; and Adrienne Blanks, Manager, FOSSI Scholar Engagement & Education Programs, AIChE.

FOSSI suporters share transformative advice

Parrish’s speech highlighted the proud history of the university and the importance of academic excellence, while Christopher spoke about her transformative experience as a double HBCU grad. Following Christopher, Blanks reminded scholars, “You are here because you have a gift, and with that gift comes a responsibility to nurture it in order to reap the full benefit of what you have been given.”

McAlpine, a proud HBCU grad, advised students to “chase experiences not a job. Find out where you’re going to get the best development and grow yourself.” He continued, “How can you be better the next day than you were the day before? Be smart and do your research so you can differentiate yourself in an interview. Be authentically who you are. Be credible – if you say you’re going to do something, do it. Be humble — you have a responsibility to help someone else, just like someone helped you. And take advantage of every opportunity.”

Sponsor and scholar fun

Sponsors, several of whom were A&T alums, also joined the action during a round robin where each sponsor offered scholars a two-minute description of their companies, highlighting a range of career opportunities and encouraging scholars to be curious and ask questions.

When it was time for scholars to take the floor, they asked questions about the following topics:

  • Industry opportunities for computer science majors (every company needs them!).
  • AI and the need to develop ways to regulate it for responsible use.
  • The biggest environmental challenges, such as reducing the carbon footprint.
  • Developing alternate energy sources.
  • What companies are doing to end plastic waste. 
  • Opportunities beyond internships, including professional development programs.

The event wrapped up with new connections made, much discussion of future plans, and ideas for further collaboration for all. 

Special thanks to our scholars and sponsors

Our sincere thanks to our 75 outstanding FOSSI scholars and to our generous FOSSI sponsors from ACC, ACD, Arkema, BASF, Bayer, Braskem, Chemours, Chevron, Covestro, Eastman, Evonik, Fluor, Hexion, YB, Solvay, Stepan, Synthomer, and Univar for joining us, and to North Carolina A&T State University for the warm welcome and for preparing our scholars for such a bright future.  

See more photos from FOSSI’s visit to NCAT below!

We invite companies not currently supporting FOSSI to build their pipeline of outstanding and diverse talent by supporting a FOSSI scholar. Learn more.