AT&T's Rising Future Makers program named a senior from South Carolina State University as one of its 25 finalists. Te'Daijia Davenport, who majors in speech pathology & audiology at the university, cites her grandmother, Vivian Hoover, as the reason behind applying for the Rising Future Makers program.

"I did my video probably 15 times before I got it right," Davenport recalled. "I was tripping over my words. I told my grandma on the final attempt, it would be my last, and if I didn't get it right, I just wouldn't do it. But my grandma said, 'Don't worry, you got it,' and I did it. I really didn't expect to get chosen at all." 

Noting that other winners hail from prestigious HBCUs such as Morehouse College, Howard University, and others, Davenport shared "it means a lot" to her, adding that the opportunity "definitely places SC on the map." Davenport had initially planned to be a teacher, but she considered becoming a speech pathologist at her mother's suggestion.

"Te'Dajia has shown a commitment to high academic performance and clinical services during her time in the Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology," Dr. Jessica Berry, the acting department chairperson, said. "She has excelled as a student clinician in our campus clinic and at local childcare facilities."

"We are proud of the work that she is doing and that AT&T found value in her skills as an emerging leader. We know that as a 'Rising Future-Maker,' she will be an advocate for making better speech and hearing accessible for all," Berry continued.

On Dec. 11, the honorees took an expense-paid trip to Greensboro, North Carolina. The twenty-five honorees networked alongside current HBCU student and NBA champion J.R. Smith, actress/entrepreneur La La Anthony, and actor Terrence J. Davenport brought her grandmother, who encouraged her to apply.

"I'm excited for my grandma to have this opportunity," Davenport said. "She's been talking my head off about it. I'm a family-oriented person, and my grandmother and I are very close."

The AT&T Dream in Black Rising Future Makers program recognizes students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) who have made positive contributions to their communities. AT&T's program supports initiatives that generate economic growth and innovation among HBCUs. AT&T's Rising Future Makers will receive a suite of technology tools and a $5,000 prize presented by AT&T 5G.