Morgan State University Pilots New Under Armour Career Development Initiative, Students Earn $50,000 in Total Scholarships
Team ‘Inspire’ Creates a Campaign to Amplify Mental Health Awareness to Win Inaugural UA Career Combine Competition
A team of four Morgan State University (MSU) students won $40,00 in scholarships from the Under Armour (UA) Career Combine, after applying what they learned from UA-led professional education sessions in a case study competition, pitting them against fellow MSU student teams to earn a scholarship award from the Baltimore-based global sports footwear and active apparel manufacturer.
Nearly 50 students collaborated in groups to develop a real-world solution in the inaugural UA Combine’s case study competition. The winning team, Team Inspire, comprised first-year student Lerone Joyner (Computer Science) and juniors Nia Cowling (Marketing), Dimitri Watat (Finance) and Lenae Wharton (Psychology), each of whom earned $10,000 after developing a campaign to amplify mental health awareness.
The knowledge used to create the team’s “Be Your Best You” concept was a direct result of the professional insight learned from sessions with top UA talent. “We took some inspiration from UA’s pride campaign… to introduce mental health education to UA's grassroots leagues,” said Watat. Team Inspire's campaign presentation included an athletic apparel line that featured customizable positive messaging and identified top influencing athletes to promote their mental health platform.
Each team of students learned from UA career veterans in fashion, design, retail and business.
“I found the business part of the sessions most interesting. My biggest takeaway from the combine is that everyone needs to be open to change. [The UA team members] went through different career changes...now I have a better understanding of the ever-changing nature of the professional world,” said Joyner, who also shared that he has already begun applying what he has learned in the classroom.
The Career Combine is the result of the growing partnership announced earlier this year between Under Armour and Morgan.
For its part in playing a greater role in fostering a more diverse talent pipeline, Under Armour piloted an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) initiative designed to cultivate opportunities for student success in the classroom and beyond. Through scholarships and beneficial workforce readiness programs—like the Career Combine implemented at Morgan, Under Armour aims to address longstanding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) deficiencies within the athletic footwear and apparel industry.
“We look forward to expanding our relationship with Under Armour and creating new opportunities that will elevate performance and achievement on the field, in the classroom and professionally in the workplace,” said David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University.
MSU is the first HBCU to team up with Under Armour to provide this level of opportunity for its scholars, making it the blueprint. And given the success of the inaugural activation at Morgan, Under Armour plans to advance the effort and forge comparable partnerships with other HBCUs and HSIs (Hispanic-serving institutions) to bolster the talent pipeline exponentially.
“This partnership will be the template we use to unlock opportunities for even more partnerships HBCUs across the United States, to support students and their ambitions on and off the field. It’s a reflection of one of our core values at Under Armour, ‘Stand for Equality,’ and it’s driven by not just the HBCU grads at Under Armour, but our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across our workforce,” said Tchernavia Rocker, chief people and culture officer at Under Armour.
Given the high number of participating students and the quality of case study submissions, UA organizers expanded the scholarships awarded in the competition from $40,000 (covering one winning group) to $50,00 (to include a second). Morgan Excellence and Innovation proved to be a real difference-maker as Team Two Forward earned a second-place nod for their impressive submission. Members, including Austin Thomas (junior majoring in Fashion Merchandising); Emmanuel Durojaiye (first year student majoring in Industrial Systems Engineering); Gabrielle Timpson (junior majoring in Muliplatform Production); Kobie Johnson (junior majoring in Finance) and Taylor Jackson (first year student majoring in Business Administration), each received $2,000 scholarships for their efforts.
Congratulations to all of the scholarship award winners from the first-ever UA Career Combine at Morgan! Learn more about the University’s multi-year agreement with Under Armour, announced in 2020.