TSU Alum to be Chicago’s next Code2040 resident

 

Cheryl V. JacksonBlue Sky Innovation

BlackInTech founder Thomas K.R. Stovall likely will feel right at home in a residency program designed to boost diversity in the tech industry.

Stovall, founder of a micro-survey company, will become Entrepreneur in Residence at 1871 through the Code2040/Google For Entrepreneurs program.

The post, which hopes to expand opportunities for underrepresented minorities, comes with $40,000 in seed money, workspace at the tech hub, and training, networking and mentoring through Google and Code2040.

Stovall, 36, succeeds Riana Lynn, founder of FoodTrace, whose yearlong stint began last April.

Stovall created the BlackInTech series of events for black and Hispanic founders last year. It quickly proved to be popular. It has expanded to address corporate careers and is moving to match companies with investors.

The events typically feature panels of accomplished industry players and take place at 1871. BlackInTech also hosts regular networking functions.

The additional resources, combined with higher visibility, will result in a bigger impact faster, he said.

“Now I do it with a budget, a team of seven other EIRs (entrepreneurs in residence) across the nation, the entire weight of Google and Code2040 behind me, and national media now paying close attention,” he said.

The residency program, piloted last year in Chicago, Austin, Texas, and Durham, N.C., is expanding to Detroit, Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn., and  Denver.

Code2040 is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that supports diversifying the tech workforce and entrepreneurs. It says black and Latino students earn about 20 percent of computer science degrees but make up just about 9 percent of the tech industry and less than 1 percent of tech company founders. Google For Entrepreneurs funds the residencies through a grant.

Stovall is founder of Candid Cup, a software firm that facilitates single-question, on-the-spot surveys to smartphones, essentially turning rooms of people into focus groups in short order.

The process provides a targeted group with a URL to access the survey — delivered on a coaster under a drink, on a digital screen or on a bathroom mirror decal. Visitors to the dedicated site see a question crafted by the organization seeking business intelligence.

Questions are limited to 140 characters.

An example from spirits company Diageo at a party during a National Society of Hispanic MBAs conference in Chicago: Does tonight’s experience impact your affinity for our brands?  In your opinion, tell us what “Diageo” is, and what makes us unique.

Stovall said answers helped Diageo — owner of Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan brands —  realize respondents didn’t know that many brands they liked were in its portfolio.

“When you’re limited to the amount of characters you have, it makes you write and rewrite your statement until you’re asking the most bare-bones question you can ask,” said Stovall, who connected with a Tennessee State University engineering classmate who runs software development firm Sciberus to build the technology.

Cheryl V. Jackson is a freelance writer.

Twitter @cherylvjackson

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune

BlackInTech founder Thomas K.R. Stovall likely will feel right at home in a residency program designed to boost diversity in the tech industry.

Stovall, founder of a micro-survey company, will become Entrepreneur in Residence at 1871 through the Code2040/Google For Entrepreneurs program.

The post, which hopes to expand opportunities for underrepresented minorities, comes with $40,000 in seed money, workspace at the tech hub, and training, networking and mentoring through Google and Code2040.

Stovall, 36, succeeds Riana Lynn, founder of FoodTrace, whose yearlong stint began last April.

Stovall created the BlackInTech series of events for black and Hispanic founders last year. It quickly proved to be popular. It has expanded to address corporate careers and is moving to match companies with investors.

Black in Tech panel part of ‘clean blueprint’ to help people of color
Black in Tech panel part of ‘clean blueprint’ to help people of color
The events typically feature panels of accomplished industry players and take place at 1871. BlackInTech also hosts regular networking functions.

The additional resources, combined with higher visibility, will result in a bigger impact faster, he said.

“Now I do it with a budget, a team of seven other EIRs (entrepreneurs in residence) across the nation, the entire weight of Google and Code2040 behind me, and national media now paying close attention,” he said.

The residency program, piloted last year in Chicago, Austin, Texas, and Durham, N.C., is expanding to Detroit, Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn., and Denver.

Code2040 is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that supports diversifying the tech workforce and entrepreneurs. It says black and Latino students earn about 20 percent of computer science degrees but make up just about 9 percent of the tech industry and less than 1 percent of tech company founders. Google For Entrepreneurs funds the residencies through a grant.

Stovall is founder of Candid Cup, a software firm that facilitates single-question, on-the-spot surveys to smartphones, essentially turning rooms of people into focus groups in short order.

 

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Hillary Clinton and TSU Prez Dr. Glover Pen letter on the Importance of HBCUs

A photo posted by Glenda Glover (@glenda_glover) on Dec 21, 2015 at 1:43am PST

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If we want to restore the basic bargain of America — that if you work hard, you can get ahead — the most important step we can take is to produce more college graduates. The typical college graduate earns more than half a million dollars extra over the course of his or her life compared to a high school graduate, and the unemployment rate for college graduates is less than half what it is for high school graduates. The United States has made enormous progress over the last half-century in opening the doors of higher education to millions of Americans. Yet, there remains a persistent racial gap in who completes college. For students who enter college, white students are one and half times more likely to graduate within six years than Black students. In fact, less than 4 in 10 Black students who start college finish within six years. Black students are also much more likely to have to take a remedial course, work part-time while in college, and attend a two-year instead of a four-year college.

As a presidential candidate and the president of an HBCU, we are committed to partnering together to increase the college completion rates of African-Americans in order to expand opportunities and extend the American Dream to hundreds of thousands of more students each year. A key ingredient in this work will be supporting our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

For millions of African-American college graduates in America, HBCUs have provided a pathway to the middle class. HBCUs graduate about half of Black teachers in America, large numbers of Black scientists and engineers, and one in three Black college graduates with degrees in biology and math. They do this while serving a population in which more than two-thirds of students receive Pell Grants, a demonstration of how they expand opportunity, even with limited resources, to new corners of society. But HBCUs cannot continue to offer this pathway to the middle class without real resources for their institutions and for their students.

First, we need to provide HBCUs with the funding they need to keep creating educational pathways for under-served students and improve their retention and graduation rates. We’re calling on everyone who cares about higher education to support a proposal that will make new direct investments in public colleges and universities, including public HBCUs, to make sure that those students at public HBCUs never have to take out a loan to pay tuition for a four-year degree and never have to pay a dime for tuition for a two-year degree. And because public HBCUs serve an above-average proportion of Pell Grant recipients, they will receive comparatively more federal funding under the compact, all while students can direct Pell Grant funding to living expenses. And for private HBCUs, the compact makes up to $25 billion available for HBCUs and MSIs. These funds will not only reduce attendance costs but improve support services that can be so critical to student success in college.

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Look Back: Ex-slave Benjamin Carr became teacher at Tenn State

 

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Fran Cutrell Rutkovsky was raised in Dixon Springs, but has ties with Hartsville and she and her husband subscribe to The Vidette. She recently contacted me to say that she had run across some historical reference to a fellow from here who made an important contribution to Tennessee State University in Nashville. She asked me if I had ever heard of him.

I hadn’t, but I quickly set to work to find out more about this amazing fellow.

I contacted the Tennessee State University library and asked the librarian if she had any information on Mr. Carr, who was also the school’s first agriculture teacher. She not only had his biography but she also had his “autobiography”!

Benjamin Carr had written down his own history!

I quote from the first page:

“I was born a slave on the farm of Jordan Carr, in Macon County, and with the exception of a few months in Kentucky, I have spent my whole life in Trousdale County, Tenn. As a boy I worked for different white farmers in this vicinity. From these I got my training and the inspiration for future work.”

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Lakatriona ‘Bernice’ Brunson First Female Football HC in Florida

Former TSU Basketball standout Lakatriona Bernice Brunson has been named the first Female Head Coach in Miami, Florida. (Yes, Uncle Luke is the Defensive Coordinator)

Miami Jackson Senior High School announced Monday that they have hired Lakatriona “Bernice” Brunson as its new head football coach, the first female to fill that role in state history.

“As a woman, I’m ready for everyone to judge me because it’s a man’s field,” Brunson said during her introductory media appearance at the school.

Brunson, who was already a physical education teacher at the school, replaces former Miami Hurricanes star Earl Little, who resigned after two seasons at Jackson.

In one of her first moves with the program, Brunson hired rap legend Luther Campbell as an assistant coach.

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Just In Time For Black History Month: Checkout Kesha Rushing Children’s Book Series

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Terrell and Keke’s Adventures Through Time is a fascinating series-in-the-making, featuring a dynamic African-American brother and sister duo, 11 year old Terrell and his sassy 8 year old sister, Keke. After they discover a hidden cabin and a trunk full of books during summer vacation, they embark on a whirlwind adventure through time.

Their first stop? The Underground Railroad.

On their journey, Terrell and Keke travel with Harriet Tubman as runaways and experience the danger, fear and courage that many slaves experienced on their journey to freedom. Young readers can come along, as they learn more about history and themselves, on their trip around the globe.

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