Albany State University Students Participate in TIAA HBCU Early Career Sights Program

By: Rachel Lawrence 

Two Albany State University (ASU) students, Cierra Jackson and Tabari Davis, participated in the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America’s (TIAA) 2020 HBCU Early Career Insights Program. ASU was one of 10 HBCU’s that participated in the event.  

The program was held virtually October 6-8. The students interacted with TIAA executives and HBCU alumni to uncover career possibilities within their current major and learn how their course of study aligns with internship opportunities at TIAA, Nuveen and TIAA Bank.  

ASU junior Tabari Davis feels the program gave him the opportunity to feel seen and heard in Corporate America. Davis is a mass communications major with a concentration in public relations, and a minor in business administration. Being Black in America, we are often overlooked and dismissed,” Davis said. “Albany State gave me the boldness and gall to not only exist in the room but represent everything that a Golden Ram is made of.” 

The students also attended skill-building workshops and competed in an innovation challenge. In a fireside chat with TIAA CEO and President Roger Ferguson, he shared “You should look at your career as more of a rock-climbing wall as opposed to a ladder. You will have to make adjustments and be willing to adapt.” 

The program coordinators and TIAA employees greatly enjoyed working with the students and had nothing but positive things to say about the experience.  

“I was thoroughly impressed with the level of engagement by our student attendees of the HBCU Early Career Insights program. It was so refreshing to see their enthusiasm—despite the virtual environment and relatively-lengthy program, they really came prepared to receive information and share their own thoughts. It was a breath of fresh air to watch them in action,” said Shea Howell, Manager of Diversity Talent Acquisition Programs at TIAA. 

ASU junior marketing major Cierra Jackson was honored to be a part of a program that gave her an outlook into what to expect when she begins her career. “The program displayed integrity and courage about what it would be like to work for a company like TIAA. I’m blessed to be a part of a school that has given me this opportunity to show my skills and personality. 

As stated from Roger Ferguson, TIAA President and Chief Executive Officer, in the client letter to ASU and other HBCUs invited to the 2nd Annual HBCU Early Career Insights Program, “TIAA deeply values our longstanding partnership with HBCUs, and we have great admiration for the history, mission, and values of the nation’s HBCU community. We were so pleased to help support the learning experience ASU provides. 

Read the TIAA release here.