Two NCCU Student-Athletes on HP HBCU Business Challenge Winning Team

Kyle Serba
DURHAM, N.C. – Of the four North Carolina Central University students that captured the top prize in the recent 2019 HP HBCU Business Challenge, two are student-athletes.

(Attached photo - 2019 HP HBCU Business Challenge Winners (L-R): Ambrose Bond, Jacobia Johnson, Daniel Barbare, Hadeer Salem.)

NCCU junior softball infielder and computer science major Jacobia Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomore golfer and chemistry major Daniel Barbare (Raleigh, N.C.) joined Ambrose Bond and Hadeer Salem to win the third annual event sponsored by HP, Inc.

As part of HP's partnership with the National HBCU Business Deans Roundtable, the business-case competition tasks students to create a solution for an actual business problem.

For more information, visit hp.com.

 
Seven NCCU Athletics Staff to Earn Master’s Degrees Saturday

Written by Jailen Leach, NCCU Sports Information Intern

DURHAM, N.C. – Saturday, Dec. 14, will be a big day for the graduating student-athletes at North Carolina Central University. However, before the student-athletes receive their bachelor’s degrees on Saturday afternoon, seven NCCU Athletics Department representatives (staff, coaches, interns) will be graduating with master’s degrees during the university’s 134th Commencement Exercises on Saturday morning.

The seven individuals include senior associate athletics director for strategic communications Kyle Serba, assistant volleyball coach Emma Celentano, assistant softball coach Cat Tarvin, men’s basketball operations assistant Michelle McLeod, and Athletics Department interns Shaquillia Murphy, Morris Jones and Andre Frank.

NCCU Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree has high praise for her excelling team members.

"I am so proud of our staff members who have shown not only their dedication to our student-athletes, program and university, but their commitment to their education and careers,” McCree said. “I admire them for balancing their personal and professional lives while pursuing a graduate degree.”

The seven new graduates join a list of current athletics staff members and coaches that have earned a master’s degree from NCCU. That list includes head men’s basketball coach LeVelle Moton, director of tennis and head men’s tennis coach D. Curtis Lawson, chief of staff Jonathon Leach, head athletic trainer Sean Thomas, life skills coordinator Kia Robinson, scholarship coordinator Donald Jack, business office assistant Michael Robinson, and director of men’s basketball operations Garrett Bridges.

McCree proudly pointed out the impact her staff has had in guiding graduating student-athletes, graduate assistants and interns to various occupations.

“I am proud of how our athletics program has served the university as an experiential learning classroom setting,” McCree said. “We have mentored and helped groom numerous professionals in various fields to include athletics administration, coaching, business, mass communication and sports medicine. The students who have the opportunity to work in our program are able to put practice to pedagogy which produces a more well-rounded individual for which industry leaders respect and desire.

“I am thankful for all of our team members who teach, mentor and coach our students,” McCree added. “It is important we continue to support the university’s goal of student success and this is just one way for which NCCU Athletics assists in this endeavor.”
 

NFL HOSTS FOURTH ANNUAL HBCU CAREERS IN FOOTBALL FORUM

​HBCU Students Nominated by Respective University and Athletic Conference Leadership to Attend Forum

Media Contact Kelsey Boyd

NEW YORK (December 12, 2019)
- A total 95 students from Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) will participate in the fourth annual NFL Careers in Football Forum, alongside the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, Ga.,  December 19-21. 

NFL Football Operations is committed to fostering and enhancing its relationships with HBCUs across the country. Hosted annually with ESPN, the Careers in Football Forum is a premiere event and serves to provide professional development and networking opportunities for HBCU students. Through this effort, students from participating institutions have the opportunity to engage with League and club executives and learn about career opportunities across the sports industry with a focus on football. The Forum also teaches participants about the skills needed to secure employment and allows the league to assist them in becoming strong candidates for open positions.

"Each year, the NFL Careers in Football Forum brings together talented, bright minds to learn and explore the potential for opportunities in professional football," said NATARA HOLLOWAY, Vice President of Football Strategy and Business Development. "This program is one of the most important ways we engage with the HBCU community and helps to grow a more diverse and inclusive workforce across the league."

Participants will hear from the NCAA with remarks from Executive Vice President of Inclusion and Human Resources, DR. KATRICE ALBERT, followed by a breakout session later in the day on opportunities available through the Association's office of Leadership Development. Students will also engage in a panel discussion moderated by ESPN/ACC Network reporter LERICIA HARRIS. Panelists include Asia Gholston, NFL Manager of Integrated Sales & Marketing; Courtland Bragg, NFL Films Associate Producer; Tywanna Smith, founder of Athlete Nexus and best-selling author of "Surviving the Lights,"; Shaina Weil founder of Minorities in Sports; and Jamil Gittens, NFL Director of Football Administration and Club Services. Each panelist will provide the students with personal accounts of their journey from college graduate to team executives. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to network with the program's guest speakers, NFL and club personnel, and learn about entry-level opportunities across the NFL. Representatives from the following NFL clubs are slated to attend: ATLANTA FALCONS, BALTIMORE RAVENS, CAROLINA PANTHERS, DETROIT LIONS, HOUSTON TEXANS, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, LOS ANGELES RAMS, MIAMI DOLPHINS, MINNESOTA VIKINGS, OAKLAND RAIDERS, AND TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS.

While at the Forum, participants will also compete in a group case study competition. Made up of eight groups, the competition will require students to present on one of the following topics selected by NFL clubs: Diversity Among Front Office Staff; HBCU Fan Engagement; Engaging Local University Students; Maintaining Employee Retention; Diversity and Inclusion Employee Engagement Plan; Cyber Security, Fan Safety and Stadium Security Plan; Social Media Engagement Plan; Engaging Women Supporters. Each group will present its case study to a panel of NFL and club executives. The first and second place winners will be recognized during a dinner reception held at the College Football Hall of Fame. Additionally, select participants will win the opportunity to complete an NFL EXPERIENCESHIP at the 2020 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fl., and Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Fl. The NFL Experienceship program aims to connect, develop, and provide diverse collegiate and professional participants with opportunities to learn about the business of sports through practical hands-on learning experiences at NFL Tentpole events, partnership activations, and research projects.

Ahead of the 2019 Celebration Bowl between North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State, both teams will attend the Forum's team breakfast. In each session, student-athletes will hear from NFL Manager of Player Engagement and NFL Legend USAMA YOUNG as well as founder of Athlete Nexus and best-selling author of "Surviving the Lights", Tywanna Smith on life as a professional football player.

"Once again, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is honored to partner with the NFL to provide opportunities for our students during the week of the Celebration Bowl for the fourth consecutive year," said DR. DENNIS E. THOMAS, Commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). "Having the opportunity to network and dialogue with NFL front office, human resource and team personnel in an intimate setting is an invaluable experience which should benefit our students in their future employment opportunities."

"The Southwestern Athletic Conference is once again excited to partner with the National Football League (NFL) and the Careers in Football Forum," said DR. CHARLES MCCLELLAND, Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner. "These types of opportunities for professional development have provided students within the Southwestern Athletic Conference high level experience that has catapulted many of them to productive careers at the collegiate and professional levels. We look forward to partnering with the NFL for another successful forum and we know that our students look forward to this event each and every year."

Since 2016, the NFL Careers in Football Forum has introduced more than 270 students and entry-level athletic department administrators to career opportunities in professional football through collaboration with all four HBCU athletic conferences in tandem with the Celebration Bowl.   Media Contact:    Kelsey Boyd, Kelsey.boyd@nfl.com

Three Eagles Represent NCCU Athletics at NFL Careers in Football Forum

Kyle Serba  Photo Credit NCCU

ATLANTA – Through continued collaboration with the National Football League, three North Carolina Central University students - track& field student-athlete Xavier Mfikwa, cheerleader Ti’Eja Woodson and sports information intern Jailen Leach - represented the NCCU Department of Athletics at the NFL’s fourth annual HBCU Careers in Football Forum alongside the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, on Dec. 19-21.

The Careers in Football Forum serves to provide professional development and networking opportunities for HBCU students. Through this effort, students from participating institutions have the opportunity to engage with League and club executives and learn about career opportunities available to them in all areas of professional football. The Forum also teaches participants about the skills needed to secure employment and allows the league to assist them in becoming strong candidates for open positions.

“I learned a lot,” said Mfikwa, a junior recreational therapy major who was nominated for the event by Dr. Catherine Dorwart, associate professor in NCCU’s Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Administration. “The forum provided us with different networking skills, and introduced us to internship and career opportunities.”

While at the Forum, participants competed in a group case study competition. Made up of eight groups, the competition required students to present on one of the following topics selected by NFL clubs: Diversity Among Front Office Staff; HBCUFan Engagement; Engaging Local University Students; Maintaining Employee Retention; Diversity and Inclusion Employee Engagement Plan; Cyber Security, Fan Safety and Stadium Security Plan; Social Media Engagement Plan; or Engaging Women Supporters. Each group presented its case study to a panel of NFL and club executives.

Mfikwa’s group presented ideas on how the Carolina Panthers could increase ticket sales and engagement with students from HBCUs, and they were deemed runners-up of the competition. Besides a second-place award, Mfikwa and his fellow group members received an invitation to participate at an NCAA event in May in Indianapolis.

"Each year, the NFL Careers in Football Forum brings together talented, bright minds to learn and explore the potential for opportunities in professional football," said Natara Holloway, Vice President of Football Strategy and Business Development with the NFL. "This program is one of the most important ways we engage with the HBCU community and helps to grow a more diverse and inclusive workforce across the league."

More information about the NFL Careers in Football Forum and the league’s relationship with HBCUs, can be found at: https://operations.nfl.com/football-ops/the-nfl-and-hbcus/strengthening-hbcus/

Kyle Serba

Senior Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications