Thursday, May 28, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON (MAY 27, 2015) --Howard University senior Sarah Jones was recently awarded a $50,000 scholarship for displaying commitment to her community by volunteering and making excellent contributions in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) fields. The scholarship is the result of a partnership between the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and music mogul Pharrell Williams’ organization, From One Hand to Another (FOHTA) Foundation.
 
Jones participated in the 2014 HBCU Innovation Summit Hackathon in Silicon Valley and was on a winning team that created a mobile application that exposes the content of an object once a camera phone hovers over it. The application engages children by using science and technology.
 
 “I would not have had the opportunity if it was not for Howard University’s Innovation Fellowship. Being a fellow has gifted me with opportunities and exposure that allowed me to participate in the Hackathon and meet UNCF representatives,” she stated.
 
As a result of her UNCF connections, she was elected to be highlighted at UNCF’s signature fundraiser, Evening of Stars, and subsequently chosen by Pharrell Williams as the award recipient.
 
 “When selecting the recipient for the UNCF/ FOHTA scholarship, Sarah stood out as a leader, an innovator and someone with a commitment to sharing her education with the community,” Williams said.
 
 An active student on campus, Jones is the 2014-2015 president of the Society of Women Engineers, an organization dedicated to assisting young girls to broaden their career aspirations and become interested in engineering and other STEM fields.  Her passion for educating young girls in the field is partly inspired by her own obstacles while pursuing her undergraduate degree.
 
 “I struggled my first two years in computer science, and at the beginning of my junior year I switched my major to education. I ended up changing back to computer science after being persuaded by the University’s Google-in-residence instructor, Professor Charles Pratt. He taught an intro class and told me to register and if I liked it, I had to switch my major back to computer science. I enjoyed it and it gave me the confidence I needed to continue in my computer science studies,” she explained.
 
This summer, Jones will join FOHTA as a summer assistant teacher.
 
 “As a result of my application and meeting with Pharrell, I was invited to Virginia Beach to teach STEM skills for six weeks at FOHTA’s Summer of Innovation Camp. I am excited to display my passion for teaching others what I have learned, and I hope to inspire younger students to pursue STEM studies,” she said.
 
“We are so excited that Sarah Jones will be joining our staff this summer in Virginia Beach.  It’s exciting to see her giving back and helping to teach and inspire our kids,” exclaimed Williams.
 
Originally a $20,000 scholarship, Williams surprised Jones by increasing the amount of the award so she can continue her research and development of mobile applications.
 
“It was a pleasure meeting Pharrell, his mom and his team. Now that I have all of this money, I’ve solidified my plans to go to grad school and study human computer interaction. I want to research how people interact with computer interfaces,” she declared.
 
Jones’ expected graduation date is December 2015.

Media Contact:
Brittany A.B. Surratt
Communications Marketing Specialist
202.238.2394
brittany.bell@howard.edu

ABOUT HOWARD
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at www.howard.edu.