Five N.C. A&T Students Awarded Spotify NextGen Scholarships to Grow Podcasts, Creator Culture

By Markita C. Rowe / 04/11/2024 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

- From left to right: Nicole Neal, Chrysta Nichols, Armani Ross, Emily Whipple and Christen Davis

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 11, 2024) – Five students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Journalism and Mass Communications Department have been selected to receive scholarships from Spotify, the global music and podcast streaming platform.

The 2024 Spotify NextGen Scholarship has been awarded to Armani Ross, a junior mass media production major from Atlanta; Christén Davis, a junior multimedia journalism major from Charleston, South Carolina; Chrysta Nichols, a junior multimedia journalism major from Raleigh, North Carolina; Emery Whipple, a first-year public relations major from Atlanta; and Nicole Neal, a sophomore mass media journalism student from Smithfield, North Carolina.

The scholarships, in the amount of $10,000 per student will assist the students in pursuing careers in audio media, including podcasting, storytelling, writing, sound engineering and music. The students will also become Spotify ambassadors.

“The scholarship opportunities pave the way for students to continue to network and learn – not only from professors but also from each other, especially at an HBCU like A&T,” said Ross. “This school is filled with so many creative individuals and the learning opportunities help students expand and execute their ideas.”

“These opportunities build a foundation for young Black students like me and create spaces for us to grow into our prospective career concentration,” said Whipple.

NextGen is Spotify’s ongoing program designed to infuse, activate and grow podcast and creator culture on college campuses. The programming helps discover new and different voices, stories and perspectives and provide students with the skills to pursue their dreams. Through its Creator Equity Fund (CEF), Spotify has expanded NextGen to support historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) including other institutions such as Spelman College, Howard University and Hampton University.

“These opportunities can help HBCU students by providing financial help to students in need, and helping students learn more in the industries of music and content creation,” said Neal.

Nichols agreed. “These opportunities are not just about financial assistance; they symbolize a pathway to empowerment and representation within industries where diversity and inclusion are paramount,” she said. “I aspire to use my voice and platform to bring awareness to important topics and inspire action in combating challenges faced by marginalized groups.”

Davis said she draws encouragement from groundbreaking creators of color. “Issa Rae inspires me because I see myself in her work,” she said. “She has created TV shows that make me feel seen and heard as an awkward and slightly nerdy Black woman, and that type of content is hard to find.”

According to Spotify officials, the digital music company is committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups, and that starts with empowering creators who will shape the industry’s future. Spotify’s mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.

To learn more about the students, visit https://newsroom.spotify.com/2024-03-27/paving-the-way-for-spotifys-nextgen-scholarship-recipients/. To learn more about Spotify, visit www.spotify.com.

Media Contact Information: mcrowe@ncat.edu

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